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Ronin (1998)
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Review Date: September 28, 1998
Director: John Frankenheimer
Writer: J.D. Zeik and Richard Weisz (AKA David Mamet)
Producers: Frank Mancuso Jr.
Actors:
Robert DeNiro as Sam
Jean Reno as Vincent
Stellan Skarsgård as Gregor
Natascha McElhone as Dierdre
Jonathan Pryce as Seamus
Plot:
A band of rogue mercenaries are hired by an unknown employer to recover a mysterious briefcase in France. Unknown to one another, the group attempt to reach their goal, while constantly keeping an eye on each other. Lots of car chases through narrow streets, shoot-outs and double-crossings pepper this lengthy thriller.
Critique:
Interesting, thrilling, well directed, yet overlong picture features a couple of excellent car chases, fun shoot-outs, and solid acting. Think HEAT (8/10) meets THE FRENCH CONNECTION in Paris! This film didn't pack the deepest story line of all time (chase the briefcase everybody!), but it did manage to keep me entertained through most of its lengthy sitting, and even sparked some new life into the standard car chase scenes. I can't truly say that I understood the finale, but for some reason, it didn't really bother me either. I was quite entertained by the film, and didn't really mind the semi-puzzling ending.

DeNiro was cool as a cat, as per his usual method style, and was graced with some of the hipper lines in this movie (Did you ever kill a guy? Deniro's response: "No, but I hurt somebody's feelings once.") The rest of the cast was also pretty solid, with Skarsgård standing out from the pack. The score of the film also set the right atmosphere, as did the wonderful cinematography, featuring the wonderful splendor of France. The only negative points that I recognized in this film could be that its final resolution was a little ambiguous, and that its run-time was about twenty minutes too long.

Overall, this film will surely appeal to you if you enjoyed the previously mentioned HEAT or FRENCH CONNECTION, and will definitely not disappoint any DeNiro or car chase fans. This year has not been a great year for thrillers, but RONIN makes sure that it is present when all names are called. Strap yourself in, learn some French, and get ready for a bumpy ride!!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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