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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lies, Cons And The Case
Ronin is, in my opinion, is John Frankenheimer's best film - even picked up a few awards along the way. Robert De Nero's take on Sam is excellent, and even Sean Bean does well in this, as the crazy gun toting Spence. The star of the movie has to be Natascha McElhone as Deirdre; desperate to get that case no matter what. Was really pleased to see Jean Reno in this, his...
Published on 13 Mar. 2008 by DL Productions UK

versus
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great film but poor blu-ray
Ronin is one of my all time favourite films. I decided to replace my dvd copy with the blu-ray. Big mistake. I can't see any improvement in picture quality over the dvd. And the special features are inferior, lacking the 'making of' documentary.

If you don't have it, buy it by all means, it is a great film. But if you are thinking of upgrading from dvd I...
Published on 20 Oct. 2010 by Majick


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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lies, Cons And The Case, 13 Mar. 2008
By 
DL Productions UK (Merseyside, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ronin [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Ronin is, in my opinion, is John Frankenheimer's best film - even picked up a few awards along the way. Robert De Nero's take on Sam is excellent, and even Sean Bean does well in this, as the crazy gun toting Spence. The star of the movie has to be Natascha McElhone as Deirdre; desperate to get that case no matter what. Was really pleased to see Jean Reno in this, his French flair being a centrepiece.

If you don't know what Ronin is about then prepare for a whirlwind plot, dodgy plans and wasted opportunities (by the gang, not direction), oh and probably the best car chases I've seen in the 90s. The best one being in Paris, closely followed by the one in Nice.

The film has a lot of twists and turns, and is a pleasure to watch, with De Nero, Reno and Bean this is an all star cast, with a great landscape and storyline.

The blu-ray is a total let down, only the film and the trailer is included. This is a joke as the Definitive Edition has an alternative ending, so why can't this BD? After all, it's only a 2hr film, and it's in MPEG-2 running at a steady 20Mbps - AVC would have been so much better. The uncompressed PCM is a blessing though, and it's commendable of Fox to use it. I would have liked MORE extras though, they should have included them no matter what definition they were in. The alternative ending is as good as the original, some have even argued better, so why oh why did they omit it?

Not a very good BD, if you have a passion for this film, then get it, it's all you could ask for movie wise. Otherwise if you want extras, and are not fussed about HD then do get the Definitive Edition, which is nearly a tenner cheaper and richer in content. The difference between the two transfer wise is noticeable, but only to the avid eye, and the sound is obviously better on blu-ray.

4/5 for the film, 2/5 for the blu-ray extras, 4/5 for HD transfer.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great film but poor blu-ray, 20 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Ronin [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Ronin is one of my all time favourite films. I decided to replace my dvd copy with the blu-ray. Big mistake. I can't see any improvement in picture quality over the dvd. And the special features are inferior, lacking the 'making of' documentary.

If you don't have it, buy it by all means, it is a great film. But if you are thinking of upgrading from dvd I would save your cash.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Post Cold War Samurai Soldiers, 6 Jan. 2003
By 
taking a rest - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ronin [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
"Ronin", is for everyone who enjoys Robert DeNiro, a great spy tale, a host of great supporting actors, and some of the more amazing car chases filmed on Europe's very narrow, pre-automotive designed streets. The word Ronin describes a Samurai who has lost his master, and in this film, the word serves as a metaphor for cold warriors that no longer have the same Cold War to fight. The threats are not gone only changed, so the great games that have played host to a variety of films and movies are still available to talented writers and directors who can adapt.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The more you put into this film, the more you get out of it, 22 Dec. 2010
By 
A. P. Monblat (Sutton, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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My initial reaction was that there were simply too many twists in the plot for this film's own good. It was hard keep up, and in the end you just gave up trying. However, a second viewing with the director's commentary switched on revealed an actually very intelligent and well-acted film. While this extra input should not really have been necessary, it was worth it for this film. If you pay very close attention and/or are have seen lots of examples of the spy/crime genre and are therefore used to the perhaps inevitably twisted storylines, you may even get it in one! However, even if you do, Frankenheimer's wonderfully intelligent explanation of his work is very highly recommended, and a major treat in itself. (Where would we have been in the days before the DVD special features section?!) So, while a little unbelievable at times, the film itself is generally quite a treat too, with some genuinely great performances (especially De Niro's), highly filmic Parisian and Riviera locations and neat camerawork - not least in relation to the truly outstanding car-chase sequences. The latter really are absolutely breathtaking, and the result of huge effort and dedication by all those involved in their production.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, taught post cold-war thriller. A superb treat!, 4 Mar. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Ronin [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
An action espionage thriller directed by none other than the masterful John Frankenheimer, an all-star stellar cast what more can you ask for? All i can say is that the acting is great (especially from a beautiful Natascha McElhone), the tension and suspense magnificently controlled, the action sequences (particularly the car chases) breath-taking and the music, cinematography and script exceptional. If you want a good film to see on a friday/saturday night, this is the one. A well-crafted severely underated film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb car chases, Intelligent story; Well worth a look, 17 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Ronin [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
This is an exciting look at European espionage, with many an excuse for great car chases. The precision of Frankenheimer's set is intoxicating, and I love the Robert De Niro, Jean Reno combination.
The DVD itself is adequate enough - MGM DVDs tend to easily overshadow that of Warner Bros. and the deleted scenes, director's commentary and behind the scenes look at the making of the movie prove a useful insight.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great film, pointless extras, 18 Nov. 2004
By A Customer
There's no denying it, this is a fantastic film. It's the closest that Holywood's got to making a Luc Besson style film. The acting's great, the pace never gives up, and the car chase scenes are fantastic.
However, to discontinue the original 1-disc version of the DVD in favour of this 2-disc "Special" edition has been a terrible idea.
The special features simply aren't worthy of having their own disc, this has simply been a way for the studios to re-release a 6 year old film at a premium price.
If you can still find the original 1-disc version, save yourself some money, and go for that instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taut, tense, good - however there's that question!., 31 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Ronin [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Like car chases?, Want those "twists and turns" in a movie?. Then stop here, this excellent thriller from John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, The French Connection 2), has a fantastic cast : Robert DeNiro, Jean Reno, Sean Bean, Jonathan Pryce, Michael Lonsdale and Natasha McElhone etc in this mystery story surrounding the retrieval of a silver case.

The only downside to 'Ronin' is not the action (brilliant, edgy), but that the "mystery" about the contents of that silver case (the said item being closed throughout the whole movie), is never revealed.

I'll give it an above average rating, however the whole 2 hours are letdown by keeping viewers guessing - long after it has ended!.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast Lane Filming, 18 July 2013
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ronin [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Hitchcock's movies are famously all about a MacGuffin. For the director of `Ronin, John Frankenheimer, the MacGuffin is a bright shiny case, often handcuffed to its holder. We don't know what's in it, but it's clear that it must be worth something, and an Irish terrorist cell is clearly intent on wresting it from the hands of its present owners before the Russians do. The Irish bring together a team of five misfits to do the dirty work in the south of France.

That's the premise of `Ronin'. It's a cleverly put-together chase movie but with added twists to the tale. And ultimately we find out that it's not actually the case that our hero is after. But I will say no more for fear of spoiling the plot. Frankenheimer is an American director with a European feel for film. He states in his commentary how he intentionally made the film non-Hollywood in style. That's as maybe, and in terms of style perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt, but the holes in the plot, to which I refer to below, make this assertion not `wholly' convincing (excuse the pun).

Having said that, the script relies on some lucky co-incidences, which you probably only spot on a second or third viewing, but which Frankenheimer hides by quickly moving the film on without time to think. These co-incidences include Jean Reno's character passing the amphitheatre in Arles at just the right time. Other dodgy aspects include Michael Lonsdale obtaining addresses in Paris that the security services cannot find, and if de Niro can use his CIA contact to locate Skarsgard in Arles, how come he cannot in Paris? And don't get me started on the tenuous link to ice skates!

The film is (excuse another pun) primarily a vehicle for de Niro. But if there is one aspect of the film `Ronin' that stands out - and there are a few - then most people I feel sure would mention the amazing car chases. And they are undoubtedly impressive. These are covered in the extra on my DVD, a twenty-minute film called `Filming in the Fast Lane'. The DVD also includes an alternative ending featuring Natascha McElhone.

In his intelligent commentary, Frankenheimer reveals how the editing of the film was done in such a way as to make the viewer feel uneasy. Colouring was purposefully subdued, and shots were composed with both depth and breadth. He points out other subtle details and reveals that he had an SAS man on set to ensure an element of reality.

This realism works in some of the stilted and clunky dialogue between the team when they first meet - de Niro pronounces the SAS base in Hereford as `Heer-ford' (but Stellan Skarsgard gets it right) - yet in other areas one wonders who would brandish guns so casually in cars in public? And who would buy arms and ammunition on a quay in central Paris? And who would do the ambush in the centre of a market town when it would have been far better to have done it on the country roads?

As regards the car chases, Frankenheimer maintains that actual car speeds were filmed: there is no undercranking of the camera. He explains how it was made to appear as if the stars were actually doing the driving. He says nobody was hurt, but one wonders how many cars were written off. He believes the violence is not gratuitous; it's just quick.

So, an excellent movie seen once; but problems with the story arise - as with most films of this nature - when seen a second, third, or fourth time. Nevertheless, this is an impressive movie, with an impressive cast, well-shot and edited.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get any better than this., 26 Jun. 2012
By 
Steven - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ronin [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Masterful direction by a strong hand combined with intelligent scripting, a first class cast and surely the best film crew in the business have given us this tour de force espionage thriller with stylistically and technically brilliant action set pieces.

The story revolves around Sam (De Niro) who goes undercover with a specialist heist team in order to get to the organiser Seamus, a renegade Irish bad guy. The team are freelancers, the Ronin of the title, at least, most of them are, Spence (Sean Bean acting his socks off) is an incompetent, lying wannabe and is quickly unmasked by Sam. The contempt Sam has for Spence is obvious in the handful of clipped exchanges they share before Spence is embarrassingly unmasked. Deidre (Natasha McElhone) is equally out of her depth as the heist co-ordinator, allowing Sam to take centre stage during the heist preparation and the outstanding chase and action sequences that follow. When the team are double-crossed, it becomes something of a buddy movie, with Sam and Vincent (the dependable Jean Reno) using each others contacts to follow the case to Seamus. There's a minor plot device about Russian buyers but this only serves to bring all the players together for the climax. There's style aplenty in every frame and more substance in a hushed conversation than most films muster in a full running time. As for what is in the case....it doesn't matter. It never mattered.
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