Ronin (1998)


A group of mercenaries are hired to steal a mysterious case from a heavily armed organisation.

Although it has a similar set up to Reservoir Dogs, Ronin is a rather more “adult” affair, echoing cold war thrillers spiced up with a liberal smattering of action. Veteran director John Frankenheimer obviously devoted a lot of time to the shoot outs and car chases which have a visceral realism lacking in most Hollywood thrillers; in fact the whole film is beautifully engineered and features a superb cast making it all but technically flawless. It also has a very “European” flavour, not only because of the continental locations, but also the lack of shaky cam or over-saturated colour filters and a cast featuring real actors instead of underwear models make it feel a million miles from your average US shoot-em-up. My only criticism would be its sterility; it’s rather lacking in heart because we learn so little about the characters and their motivations it’s a little hard to care what happens to them, especially since we don’t even find out what it is they’re all fighting over.

Still, it’s a perfectly crafted piece of entertainment and worth it for the thrilling chase sequences alone.


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