Action / Thriller
Dir: John Frankenheimer
Star: Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Jonathon Pryce, Katarina Witt, Natascha McElhone
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 1998
Format: DVD R2

Sam (Robert De Niro) is a former CIA operative who meets up with a small group of nefarious individuals in a small cafe-bar in Paris. The team has been assembled by Deidre (Natascha McElhone) an Irish woman and member of a certain Irish terrorist group, that want the team to acquire something from a gang that are selling the item to the highest bidder. Upon meeting at the cafe-bar, the team , which in addition to Sam, consists of Vincent ( Jean Reno) a local and acquisitions expert, Larry (Skipp Sudduth) a professional getaway driver, Gregor (Stellan Starsgard) a former KGB agent and general whizz with technology, and Spence (Sean Bean) a former British special forces trooper. They are transported to an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of the city which the group have made their provisional base of operations. After a nights sleep the team are loosely told of the mission, which as Deidre isn't giving away any details and is pretty sketchy on the basic information, Sam and Vincent (who have struck up a friendship) , become a little nervous. The first job for the team is to take delivery of some weapons and ammunition from some local dealers, which goes wrong when the arms dealers attempt a double cross at the meeting.

Ronin is quite possibly one of the best films to come out Hollywood in a long time, it isn't like the recent spate of drivel to come from the world of big heads and cosmetic surgery and for a change it doesn't succumb to the modern trend of "flag waving".

The film has a very clever story and a superb script courtesy of J.D. Zeik, and combined with the stunning visual direction of John Frankenheimer, (who desperately needed redemption after "The Island of Dr. Moreau") Ronin contains an intelligent balance that manages to keep you guessing all of the way through. Containing some truly fantastic photography, and the most superb car chase sequence around the streets of Paris which is virtually unsurpassed. Frankenheimer keeps a tight leash on the action which is equally well orchestrated and enables the film to flow as effortlessly as a mountain stream.

Robert De Niro ( The Godfather Trilogy) adds a supreme weight to the film, and cannot be faulted catapulting the character of Sam, both cooly and methodically through his mission and beyond. Jean Reno also puts in an oustanding performance, and the buddy chemistry between him and De Niro is electric, a superb pairing of excellent character actors. Natascha McElhone ( The Truman Show) manages to add a little glamour as the terrorist Deirde, although hardly a sizzling performance she handles the role quite well. Unlike Jonathon Pryce, (Brazil) who seems to lose all acting talent in this role, and his Irish accent is so awful you just wish that someone would kill him, so you don't have to endure it any longer.(no such luck!) On the plus side Stellan Starsgard (Deep Blue Sea ) does provide a good performance as Gregor, the ex-KGB agent sublimely following his own secret agenda.

Ronin is a very memorable picture. The plot, twists and turns more often than the French road system and is a compelling watch.

What is surely a classic of modern cinema, Ronin is a fantastic way to spend 2 hours, it is both thrilling and exciting, accompanied by a superb music score and with the exception of one or two performances it is a superb film that is well worth watching.


Spence: You ever kill anybody?
Sam: I hurt someone's feelings once

Rating: 4 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Widescreen Good quality clean transfer
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Excellent
Features Unimpressive menu
Audio commentary by director John Frankenheimer
Original theatrical trailer
Excellent "alternative ending" - which is better than the current ending
"Filming in the Fast Lane" - good "making of" featurette
Verdict cool disc, some good extras.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home