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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Ronin

Starring: Robert De Niro, Jean Reno
Director: John Frankenheimer
Rated: R
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: September 1998
Genres: Action, Suspense, Thriller

Review by John Beachem
3 stars out of 4

After watching this film, I sat back and realized I'd been on the edge of my seat the entire time, and my hands were gripping the armrests. Looking back on this, I can't for the life of me figure out what it is about this particular movie that so engrossed me.

Ronin are samurai who have no master. Modern Ronin appear to be men trained in arts such as espionage, assassination, and combat who have no country to serve. Therefore, they choose to line their own pockets. Five such men are hired by an irish woman who goes only by the name of Dierdre. They are hired to steal a silver briefcase from a band of men, and deliver it to her. The plan hardly goes off without a hitch since none of the men trust each other. One of them grabs the case for himself with the intent of selling it to the highest bidder. The remaining men, led by Sam go after him in an attempt to get the case, and thus their money.

Let me say right now, that I'm not entirely sure how to go about reviewing this film. It sounds like so many other typical action movies, complete with some great looking car chases and a whole lot of explosions. However, there is something strangely different about this one. More enthralling. I'm sure part of the movie's charm is the presence of De Niro and Reno, two wonderful actors. There is nothing even remotely resembling character development, but this strangely adds to the story. It makes these men more mysterious and dangerous.

A lot of things are never adequately explained, such as why the group is attacked in one of the first scenes involving them, and to warn everyone right now, we never discover the contents of the much sought after case. Also worth noting, Stellan Skarsgard is quite good as the cold blooded Gregor, but there is an early scene in which he demonstrates his amazing reflexes for no apparent reason since we never see them used in the rest of the film.

So, a few pointless scenes are present, but the majority of the film is quite well done, and the car chases are enthralling. For some great action, good acting, and a rather bizzare plot, Ronin earns four stars.

Copyright 2000 John Beachem

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