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Ronin
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Customer Reviews:

  • Tha 70s sensibility
    This movie harks back to the great action pictures of the 70s. It has that look. Ronin is tense, tautly directed, yet still filled with harrowing chases and shoot-outs. Authentic location shooting. Roaring action pieces. Riveting spy scenes. DeNiro shines again, and Reno is excellent as his French right hand man. ...more info
  • Thrills on wheels
    This crime caper involving mercenary robbery has become one of my favourite movies of all time. First and foremost because it was set in Paris, a city I love dearly. And secondly because it has some of the most exciting car chases I've seen on film.

    Though he is the headline star, Robert DeNiro proves what a great acting talent he is and gives a completely selfless performance, stepping back, and giving his co-stars Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgard, Skipp Sudduth, Sean Bean and Jonathan Pryce room to shine. Written, interestingly, actress Rachel Weisz and J.D. Zeik, director John Frankenheimer brings intelligence and tense, high-octane action on to the streets of Paris.

    Among other things, the DVD extras include an alternative ending and a featurette called "Filming In The Fast Lane" which tells us how the awe inducing car chases were filmed.

    If you like gritty urban crime thrillers you'll like this. If you like car chases, you'll love it.
    ...more info
  • Ronin
    Great film with drama and action what more can you ask from a film!!!!!...more info
  • Great movie, poor Blu-Ray
    I actually saw Ronin in the theater when I was in high school. I had no idea what to expect, but I ended up loving it. It had such a great sense of style, it didn't spoon feed the plot to you, and featured fantastic action scenes. To this day it has my favorite car chase scenes.

    So when I heard it was coming out on Blu-Ray, I was excited. I love the high definition picture and high quality sound that Blu-Ray offers, as well as the ability to fit those and a slew of extras on a single disc.

    Unfortunately, MGM/Fox decided to treat this great movie poorly for its Blu-Ray debut. The picture quality is improved, but not up to par with the more impressive Blu-Ray catalog releases we've seen so far. It is a single-layered release (using only 25GB of the 50GB available on a dual-layered disc), and uses a compression codec (MPEG-2) that has largely been abandoned in favor of better ones.

    Worse, all the great extras from both DVDs are absent from the Blu-Ray. Even the original DVD from 1999(!) had a commentary and alternate ending. The 2006 DVD had those, a documentary, and a bunch of featurettes.

    All in all, this Blu-Ray takes one baby-step forward, and several big steps backward. This disc is behind the DVD that is 10 years its senior. Sadly I'll be waiting to purchase this until MGM treats this movie with the respect it deserves (the respect they gave it 3 years ago)....more info
  • A great movie that can withstand repeated viewing.
    "Ronin" is wildly entertaining and highly crafted. Some think De Niro was in a 'trough' when he made this film; instead, I feel he is -- quite simply -- exceptional and REAL, as always DeNiro is doing nothing he hasn't done a 1,000 times before in this role but it's precisely *because* he does such characters all the time that he's so good at it. Jean Reno is equally capable of matching De Niro on screen and they form a nice relationship that doesn't grate. The other actors are all acceptable although not outstanding.

    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.
    ...more info
  • Ronin
    Worth watching for the car chases alone, good film, cracking pace, great acting, you can see where they got the ideas for the "Bourne" series watching this, another Jean Reno must see!...more info
  • Not A Good Deal
    The picture quality is fine on this blu-ray disc but be warned, there are no extras. MGM released a standard DVD 2 disc set of Ronin with very good extras, but then go and release a film only version on blu-ray, at twice the cost. A blu-ray disc could easily fit all the bonus material. Hold off on buying this and wait for a special edition....more info
  • Ronin
    Ronin is a lesson in how to combine minimalism with an effort to be all things at once. Ronin works well as a heist picture, and as such can be put on a double-bill with Ocean's Eleven. Ronin is a relentless action extravaganza that pairs off well with Speed. Ronin is part espionage thriller, and could be watched along with one of the Mission Impossible movies. Or, forget about Ocean's Eleven, Speed, and Mission Impossible, and just watch Ronin, especially if you haven't seen it.

    In Paris, an Irish woman called Deirdre hires several cloak-and-dagger types, of varying backgrounds, to steal a mysterious briefcase from some fella who wants to sell it to some Russian bidders. A natural leader of the team emerges--Sam, played by Robert De Niro. Even the early scenes, where Sam meets his edgy associates and quietly takes their measure, allow us to see how formidable an opponent he would make for anyone trying to hang onto invaluable luggage, or anyone who might be thinking of double-crossing him. We see he is no stranger to black-bag operations, he is not afraid to ask key questions that may save his life, he knows how to smile and keep his own secrets so they can't be used against him, he assesses peoples' weak points from a few hints, and he is a master of anticipating what lies ahead and laying contingency plans. This comes to serve him in great stead when the mission goes horribly wrong and he can't manage to liberate the invaluable suitcase and people double-cross him. Various picturesque areas of France come off the worse for the resulting car chases, gun battles, hostage-grabbings, sniper attacks, slashings and beatings. Sam and Vincent--Vincent (Jean Reno) seeming to be the only teammate he can trust--fight their way through all obstacles but never manage to get within about ten feet of the precious case before fate, or a betrayer, takes it beyond their grasp. Then all of Sam's smarts can't help him as he takes a bullet through a bullet-proof vest.

    This film is a sleek, streamlined affair that does not have the time or interest in letting us know too much about the characters. From a person's accent, some lines of chitchat or verbal sparring, one has to fill in the gaps, between cars streaking by or shootouts erupting in the streets. Always, always, it is about pursuing the prize past the bloody victims of whomever has decided to grab the briefcase and run. The plot thrives because things go wrong--unlike watching Ocean's Eleven where we are to be dazzled by everything going right. And things go wrong to excess in Ronin because no one does what they are supposed to do, everyone has their own agenda, everyone wants to win big by keeping the payoff money and the briefcase. Sam plays this game very well but soon there is so much chaos that it is unclear whether he will live long enough to see what is in the case.

    The actors--De Niro, Jean Reno, Sean Bean, Stellan Skarsgard, and Natascha McElhone, among other familiar faces--all bow to the briefcase's domination of their enclosed and violent world, and with their edgy, tight-lipped, shifty-eyed, sometimes paranoid, interaction, make us interested in who they are and what will happen to them, despite complete dossiers on them being denied us. Even the film Speed gave us more human-interest stuff than what we get in Ronin, so if you really want to be hanging on by the tips of your fingers while a film races along, forget Speed. And if you're more curious about what ex-spies and disgraced spooks do to earn money and get the thrill of danger than you are about pretty-boy goody-goody type spies with everlasting consciences, then pick Ronin over MI3.

    What was in the briefcase everyone wants: maybe a copy of Ronin. Enjoy.
    ...more info
  • What does the Blu-Ray cost so much?
    Love the movie. Can someone please tell me why this is so expensive on Blu-ray? Does it come in a gold plated box or something? Thanks!...more info
  • Full of special features
    There are many reasons to buy this DVD

    a)It has the best car chase scene ever

    b)It is filmed on the beautiful streets of France

    c)It stars Robert De Niro

    d)Has a gripping adrenalin pumping storyline

    e)Great supporting cast including Jean Reno, Sean Bean and Natasha McElhone
    &
    f)Is full of heaps of great special features....more info
  • Ehh.
    "Ronin" sets out by telling the viewer about some Samurai warriors who were shamed when their lord was killed, via treachery, by another lord. This made them "Ronin" - or rogues. The movie itself bore scant resemblance to the legend it quoted -- which was only one of its shortcomings. Robert DeNiro phones in another performance, though Jean Reno did a creditable job as his ally Vincent.

    The film follows the formation of a mysterious, multi-national gang of criminals hired by a mysterious Irish woman to retrieve a mysterious silver case. The gang doesn't know what's in the case, who they are working for or about each other. There's lots of gunplay, plenty of car chases, faintly interesting locales on the French Riviera and Paris, and lots of collateral damage to civilians. What seems to propel the movie is the lack of clarity about the motives of the gang members and the purpose of their activities. Seemingly, this was intended by the writers, who wanted to show criminals (or are they?) furiously fighting and dying for a cause they did not understand, as long as a lucrative reward awaited them. For the viewer, however, the unfolding drama was the only reason to keep watching this dud of a film.

    For all its vaunted Samurai connections, Ronin was disappointing. The car chases were dull and seemed interminable. The accidents caused thereby were ludicrously overdramatic, with lots of flying sparks and gasoline explosions. The gunfights were ridiculously one-sided. By the end of the film, the silver case had changed hands so many times that the movie started to look like a comedy routine.

    "Ronin" is a standard shoot-em-up thriller that fails to deliver on its pretentious samurai metaphor. Hence, the 3 stars and a shrug-shouldered "eh."...more info
  • Ronin - Japanese edition
    I love this movie - especially watching the S8 used in the chase scenes but there are subtitles in Japanese that I can not turn off (might be able too if the set up was not all in Japanese. Get the US version that is out now. ...more info
  • Just the Other Side of "Real"
    The entirety of Ronin involves a narrative that exists on just the other side of "real" -- competing political factions vying for a metal briefcase whose contents are a perpetual mystery. The "good guys", if they can be called that, are a small coterie of mercenaries who were presumably relieved of their legitimate jobs with the winding down of the Cold War. They're hired by an Irish faction operating in Paris represented by Dierdre (Natascha McElhone) via the unseen "man in a wheelchair", an agent for these "ronin for hire". (Ronin were the ancient Japanese samurai who were cast out of their fiefdom for failure to adequately protect their liege, essentially becoming free-agent wandering warriors.) They are of different nationalities, backgrounds, and possess different talents. Sam the American (Robert De Niro), develops a kinship with the Frenchman Vincent (Jean Reno) and becomes de facto leader of the band. After a planned exchange for the briefcase goes awry, they devise and execute a violent ambush in the streets of Nice to get the briefcase and take out its current possessors. When Plan B fails, the fun begins.

    Through double-cross and intrigue, the briefcase remains elusive. Plans are revised, payments are "re-negotiated", and hunters become hunted to the point of making for a five-sided chase. Even the Russians become involved, including an unassuming touring figure skater played by Katarina Witt. It all sounds very contrived and even trite to a degree, but attached to this story are some of the fiercest street gunfights and most exciting car chases any action film fan could hope for! Many innocents (and vehicles!) become victims, but these adversaries in espionage openly shop, dine, and roam the streets as if they're tourists and the French authorities are on some far-off planet. Through death and deceit, De Niro and Reno eventually form a buddy-buddy duo to exact revenge and extract payment. "Old friends from high school" appear out of nowhere to aid in the alternating pursuits and escapes. Ironically, actor Michael Lonsdale, who was so great as the assassin-pursuing French Inspector Lebel in Fred Zinneman's The Day of the Jackal, does a marvelous turn as one of these convenient "friends", providing refuge to the pair for some do-it-yourself surgery. While the hunt and chase is on, viewers are also treated to some marvelous French town and cityscapes, including the ancient Roman amphitheater at Arles and the traffic tunnels of Paris.

    Ronin is a film for those who can suspend their sense of logic to allow themselves to be taken for the ride. Thankfully, nothing devolves into outright camp a la James Bond. The danger of this approach is that for the film to be effective, the viewer must be held in thrall by these contrived characters and their actions to the point of being oblivious to their real-world consequences. De Niro, director John Frankenheimer and company manage to pull it off. Because of its sheer unabashed cinematicism and no-holds-barred direction, Ronin succeeds in pushing this reviewer's grade one star above average when the film's holes could just as easily have let it fall one star below....more info
  • Textbook thriller!
    So you think you've seen car chase movies? Ronin is one heck of a ride! There are mutiple aspects to the movie which make such an awesome one that can be seen again and again (but yes, please dont sit with your reality-thinking cap on, just enjoy the flick)
    1. The cast & characters : Ronin is one of those movies which has about 8-10 key people in the movie, and is probably the only movie I have come across where every single character is etched out to near perfection and played by its actor to the hilt. Be it De Niro as the supercool ex CIA agent, Jean Reno as the frenchman, the KGB dudes... each and every one of them, even if only in a cameo - every character has enriched the movie. And in doing so, the movie softly caresses themes like male bonding without probably really intending to, but does so in a brilliant manner.
    2. The plot : Typical of any thriller, the suspense is kept till the end. The extra features DVD shows two alternative endings, showing clearly how complex a task it must have been for the director to actually end such a high paced and good movie. From the very first scene till the end, it is a plot that will keep you glued and waiting for the next scene!
    3. Locations & Car chase sequences : Its a bit like "Tour de France" in a car, at 120mph. The locales from Paris to Nice to another small town with its own amphitheater, the angles in which the locations are shot and introduced, the narrow streets, the market on the roads, the coffee shop with the sit-out in the sun, the guided tours of tourists... its wonderfully pretty on the one hand & is the scene of some incredible high speed car chases that has one truly at the very edge of ones seat. I keep wishing I'd seen this movie on the cinema full screen, and hope its released someday again!
    Once again - probably amongst De Niro's top 10 movies, Definitely worth a watch.
    PS : The musical score is a haunting melody which is another reason to return to this movie time and again!...more info
  • Viceral impact!
    When your heart races, when you sweat, when a movie envelopes you in a sea of intensity where you feel you are in the thing...the director has done his/her job.

    I first noted Frankenheimer's work in the movie "Grand Prix," just released on DVD. I had never seen the movie prior, but it has aged well and I heartly recommend it. I mention this because A) it is how I found this one, (a Blockbuster reccommendation based on Grand Prix), and B) because Frankenheimer notes his experience in Grand Prix being so integral to this one (lots for the car guys...).

    This move starts slowly, but increasingly builds it's intensity all the way through to the end. The extras provide an alternate ending, which is worth the view in my opinion, and settled some of my angst remaining upon completion. Frankenheimer takes advantage of principles of information sufficency - he tells you enough to understand without (ever) revealing some of the fundamental mystery. And he succeeds - the contents of the case will remain a mystery, as will the relationship between Deidre and Sam. From that perspective, it's more like a book; you have to use your imagination to construct a satisfactory synthesis, and in the end, that is more than enough. -Alan...more info
  • Best version of this movie on HD disc to date...
    The blu-ray of Ronin has been amply reviewed online (blu-ray .com and AVS blu-ray tier forum, etc). Although there is practically no 3D eye-candy to speak of, there is definitely more detail throughout the movie, and the HD audio is better than the DVD.

    However, this reviewed blu-ray does not have the two alternate endings from the extended DVD set, nor the other extras. :(

    So if you really like Ronin and own a blu-ray player, i'd recommend waiting for this disc to go on sale for under $20, or get it used....more info
  • Everything you could ask for in an intelligent action thriller
    I have no idea why I had never heard of this movie before because Ronin is a whale of a good film. I can take or leave most action films, but give me a taut, intelligent, suspenseful thriller filled with great action, wicked twists, and some of the best car-chasing footage you'll ever see, and I'm happy. Throw Jean Reno and the one and only Robert De Niro into the mix, as well, and I'm happier than any clam has a right to be. Director John Frankenheimer obviously knows that action alone doesn't make for a good action film, and he also knows that the only way to make a high speed chase scene look authentic is to film a real high speed chase scene.

    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? De Niro has to run over and shoot up half of France before everything gets resolved in this film.

    The only problem I had with this movie came in the form of the thick accents of some of the characters, especially the Irish ones - you may want to use closed captioning at times to really understand everything that is said. The actors themselves, though, were quite good, especially De Niro and Reno, who make a great team. As for the mix of bad guys, how about three - count 'em, three - former adversaries of James Bond (Michael Lonsdale, Sean Bean, and Jonathan Pryce)? Not only that, the script is worthy of all these fine actors.

    As I've mentioned already, though, the chase scenes are really the most memorable aspect of this film. Frankenheimer doesn't have any use for these fancy-schmancy new digital means for manufacturing this kind of action, instead treating the viewer to several good, old-fashioned thrill rides through the streets of Paris and its local environs. Besides filming an incredible number of scenes live, he also chose to forego the accompaniment of a musical score in these situations, letting the revving engines, squealing brakes, and numerous crashes and explosions present the action as authentically as possible. They had to have had an incredible number of stunt drivers and stunt men involved, as folks were constantly crashing or jumping out of the path of oncoming cars - not to mention the extended high speed chase down one-way streets into busy oncoming traffic. I'm telling you - these chase scenes are flat-out impressive.

    Obviously, I think Ronin has it all. Without De Niro, it still would have been a fantastic film; with him, it's a must-see in my book....more info