Robert De Niro stars as an American intelligence operative adrift in irrelevance since the end of the Cold War--much like a masterless samurai, a.k.a. "ronin." With his services for sale, he joins a renegade, international team of fellow covert warriors with nothing but time on their hands. Their mission, as defined by the woman who hires them (Natascha McElhone), is to get hold of a particular suitcase that is equally coveted by the Russian mafia and Irish terrorists. As the scheme gets underway, De Niro's lone wolf strikes up a rare friendship with his French counterpart (Jean Reno), gets into a more-or-less romantic frame of mind with McElhone, and asserts his experience on the planning and execution of the job--going so far as to publicly humiliate one team member (Sean Bean) who is clearly out of his league. The story is largely unremarkable--there's an obligatory twist midway through that changes the nature of the team's business--but legendary filmmaker John Frankenheimer (Seconds, The Manchurian Candidate) leaps at the material, bringing to it an honest tension and seasoned, breathtaking skill with precision-action direction. The centerpiece of the movie is an honest-to-God car chase that is the real thing: not the how-can-we-top-the-last-stunt cartoon nonsense of Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon), but a pulse-quickening, kinetic dance of superb montage and timing. In a sense, Ronin is almost Frankenheimer's self-quoting version of a John Frankenheimer film. There isn't anything here he hasn't done before, but it's sure great to see it all again. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
On The DVD
The two-disc set has substantial additional features, most of which emphasize the film's extraordinary car chase sequences. In his commentary, director John Frankenheimer delights in the stunts ("Now that's the best four-wheel drift I think I've ever seen!") but also explores the difficulty of effective time transitions in a thriller. He also discusses his love of Paris, and how the city presents challenges to location filmmaking that aren't encountered in U.S. productions. The segments "The Driving of Ronin" and "Ronin: Filming in the Fast Lane" also focus on cars, Paris, and cars in Paris; the interview with stunt-car coordinator Jean-Claude Lagniez is especially enlightening.
Robert De Niro, Natascha McElhone, and Jean Reno discuss their characters in Venice Film Festival interviews; De Niro is characteristically taciturn, McElhone articulate and lovely, and Reno charmingly expansive about his character Vincent. ("Is he tough? Yeh, he knows his guns.") McElhone also gets her own separate interview, in which she discusses her concern at being thrown into the opening scenes as a novice among old pros--a situation shared by her character in the film.
Segments with the director of photography, editor, and composer are also included, but Elia Cmiral's use of the haunting duduk theme deserves more exploration than it gets here. There is also a thrown-together photo gallery and a brief, bleak alternate ending. --Michael Smith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
While the imagery isn't as eye popping as some of the latest releases, this is as faithful of a transfer as you will ever get. It's a noticeable upgrade from the murky looking DVD. Colors are solid and stable, there is plenty of fine detail in close ups, the car chases are fantastic, and some of the wide angle shots of France look spectacular. However, the dimly lit interior scenes and those shot at night tend to look rather dull and flat.
There is a light film grain here and there, though the print looks very clean. The DTS Lossless Master Audio is very nice, though the film doesn't make very aggressive use of the surrounds. That's not a flaw of the disc but of the lower budget nature of the film itself.
Though I wish there were some extras from the special edition DVD, I am still happy with this purchase.
A great deal of the action takes place at high speed on either very narrow urban roads, or wildly twisting mountain stretches that lack the same manner of safety barriers we are accustomed to in The USA, that make the chase scenes all the more amazing. The director and other key players who made the film have racing backgrounds which allowed them to bring a type of realism that goes beyond the typical Hollywood chase.
Jean Reno, Natascha Mcelhone, Stellan Skarsgard, Sean Bean, and Jonathan Pryce all make for a wonderful ensemble cast. The chase is for a case, and the cast that is assembled are allegedly a team in the hunt for a box that no one knows the contents of. The traditional players like the Russians are involved, the CIA, and then the new Russians along with the Irish, and members of agencies that either are active or are not, you never know until the film ends. And even when it does, the DVD offers an alternate ending that changes in a very dramatic manner how the film you just watched concluded.
“Ronin”, is a very good film, a definite cut above the average, and well worth the one minute and two hours of your time it will occupy.
On first viewing some years ago, I was disappointed by this film.
After repeated viewings, and now on Blu-ray, I have learned to love this movie. Great action sequences, beautiful locations, well acted and intelligently told this story ranks up there with the best of MANN!
The plot is decent, but not dripping with originality. Look it's a terrorist organization. And look it's the IRA again and the Northern Ireland situation depicted with all the lack-of-knowledge Hollywood is so good at. The double crossing is amusing and makes sense - these characters aren't exactly on the side of angels are they? The action sequences are great fun too and, it must be admitted, feature the best car chases of any movie I've seen from the 90s. Which is saying something. On a down side to the plot it gets a tad ridiculous when, over the course of the movie, approximately half of France's population gets wiped out in the various car chases and gun battles... it's a tad over the top (though adrenalin pumping)
John Frankenheimer directing was very competent. The chase scenes are done particularly well with the cameras mounted to the front of the car to give you the feeling of speed. It's what helps lift this movie up that bit more from the other dross. Other than that I'd recommend this movie, especially for fans of the heist genres or those who like car chases. You won't be bored ever and will spend an enjoyable couple of hours viewing it.
The title is derived from the term for masterless Samurai of feudal Japan -- warriors who failed their master and were left to wander in the shame of their failure. In modern parlance (and in this movie), the term applies to special agents of various governments who find themselves quite on their own thanks to the end of the Cold War. These men still put their skills to good use by selling their services to those willing to pay them for handling sensitive, usually dirty, jobs. In this case, Sam (De Niro), Vincent (Reno), and three others are brought together in France by an Irish lass named Deirdre and charged with acquiring a metal case well-protected by its current carrier. It sounds easy ' ambush the target and his security force, snatch the case, exchange it for cash, and move on. Naturally, the mission turns out to be extremely complicated, as a couple of powerful parties want whatever is in that case, and a certain individual proves less than trustworthy. What's the world coming to when you can't even trust a selfish, independent-minded, well-trained gun-for-hire?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A spy action movie,with double - cross after double - cross . Intriguing.Published 2 months ago by Derek Simpson
“I really don’t know how Amazon could say this is helpful,when you have Twelve,count them Twelve
different posters (pictures) of the same movie (Ronin) and all has a different... Read more
Tight and gritty story line and it moves at a fast pace. Good acting and best car chase since "Bullit". Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2014 by peterj
Interesting story and some of the best car chases ever. Great shots of France and especially of Paris. Excellent filmPublished on Jan. 22 2014 by Larry Sales
Top notch acting especially from DeNiro (no surprise) and Jean Reno. Plenty of well done action and great locations. Can't miss spending the time to watch this one.Published on April 28 2013 by BobbyT
Ronin is my favorite action/drama film and I view it about 3-4 times a year on average.
The sets and natural European landscapes, along with the excellent choice of... Read more
Look for similar items by category
- Movies & TV > Action & Adventure > Action Directors > John Frankenheimer
- Movies & TV > Action & Adventure > Crime
- Movies & TV > En français > Action, Aventure, Policier et Thriller > Action
- Movies & TV > En français > Action, Aventure, Policier et Thriller > Policier et Thriller
- Movies & TV > Mystery & Suspense
- Video > Action & Adventure > Action Directors > John Frankenheimer
- Video > Action & Adventure > Blackmail, Murder & Mayhem
- Video > Action & Adventure > Crime
- Video > Action & Adventure > Espionage
- Video > Action & Adventure > Thrillers
- Video > En français > Divers
- Video > Mystery & Suspense > Thrillers