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Ronin [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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Robert De Niro stars as an American intelligence operative adrift in irrelevance since the end of the Cold War--much like a masterless samurai, aka "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 centrepiece 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 the DVD edition.
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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.
De Niro,Reno,Stellan Skarsgaard and others form a team hired by Natasha McElhone to recover a small case and bring it to her for a lot of cash. She is the go-between for a ruthless Irish Terrorist played by Jonathon Pryce in this story of spies, double-crossing, traitors and selling-out to everyone and anyone, where NO-ONE can seemingly be trusted especially those on your own side?!
This film, directed by the great John Frankenheimmer (French Connection 2)features some of the best car chases EVER LIKELY TO BE SEEN ON FILM and were undoubtedly a pre-cursor for The Bourne Trilogy some years after.
Why does De Niro take such vengeance on the Seamus character?
Are we to believe De Niro is in love with the woman? Ummm... one minute he is as sharp as a buton the next he is all lovey dovey? Naaaaaa.
Why so many appalling Irish accents?
Why is the man who wants the case made himself such a public figure? Stoopid.
Not revealing whats in the case is a catastrophic flaw. Its a very poor Mcguffin indeed.
Why is the woman involved at all. She was nervous throughout and clearly inept. The car chase was ridiculous as she clearly would not of had the nerve or skill shown.
If she had why did we see a male character was sole skill was driving.
What happened to Sean beans character? He was a loose end.
The 'Ronin' references are just pretentious. There was no character depth, so having this mystical link was just trying to be deep where there was no depth.
Why did De Niro use a stills, manual wind camera in the hotel doorway and not a video camera or an automatic camera? We are supposed to think he is smart.
The baddies drive past a couple looking at a map parked outside their base? Umm Nope.
The 'tech' guy didn't think they would have his phonbe triangulated? Ummmmm I don't think so.
It would of been better if he had killed the girl in the playground.
The famous coffee cup scene does nto work? It does not through Bean at all and De Niros winning the fight seemed little to do with the coffee.
By and by I left the film after my 3rd viewing over 10 years disappointed. It just does not stand up and seems to me to be a commission based on the directors previous CV. In this film he has clearly lost his touch.
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.
The 4k remaster albeit at 1080p on blu ray is clean, with film grain retained. The night time scenes have been properly regraded with contrast ramped up a little to really show off the dark streets and stark headlights in the Paris based scenes. Daytime locations like Nice and Arle look really fresh and close shots on actors are pristine. The soundtrack also showcases great depth amongst the talkie and action scenes alike. Loved it.
The disc opens with the haunting Ronin theme played over a montage of clips and the whole package has been presented with an evident love for the film itself and the craft of the professionals who shot it, acted in it and directed it.
The booklet is a superb keepsake rounding off a brilliantly produced edition of a 90's classic.
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Best highlights are the great car chases like really the fast and furious series could learn something here
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