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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.8%
Worth A Look: 31.62%
Pretty Bad: 9.4%
Total Crap: 6.84%

10 reviews, 57 user ratings

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by Slyder

"A Solid though at times confusing thriller"
4 stars

The late John Frankenheimer has had his share of ups and downs, from masterworks like The Manchurian Candidate, to utter shite like The Island of Dr. Moreau. But I guess Frankenheimer still had plenty to prove, as he delivered us this clever little action movie. Had Ronin been directed by another director, it would’ve been just another bullshit action cliché, but since Frankenheimer is directing, he showed once again that he still had a couple of aces under his sleeve.

An Irish rogue called Deirdre (Natascha McElhone) hires a group of mercenaries to grab a mysterious case which is in the hands of some people. The team is composed of former CIA agent Sam (Robert De Niro), former French DGSC agent Vincent (Jean Reno), former KGB agent Gregor (Stellan Skarsgard), and assorted small fries like driver Larry (Skipp Sudduth) and weapons specialist Spence (Sean Bean). After capping the case guys, the double cross begins, especially when Deirdre’s handler Seamus (Jonathan Pryce) gets involved, as well as a couple of Russian fucks whom are also interested in the case.

Frankenheimer has always been the specialist in political films, and since the film’s setting is the post-Cold War world, it would be quite an interesting subject. The story has a certain promise and shows at times signs of intelligence but it’s hackneyed by a couple of clichés and a couple of things that either doesn’t make sense or they’re not supposed to, in other words, the motherfucking case! In the end I guess it fills the later, though I won’t be surprised if some of the audience gets thrown off with this particular device. Most of it is formula, as you can clearly see after 30 minutes that there is a mole within the team, and then the rest of the team simply falls apart once the big guys come in. But Frankenheimer being the seasoned pro that he is, or was, handles it with an honest face. Every obligatory twist is even-handed and not overdone, and the action scenes are well-staged, sometimes impressive, combined with sound FX. The big plus of the whole movie is of course the car chase scene, and even though it’s not as riveting as the car chase scenes of The French Connection and Bullitt (it tends to ride very close to the line between awesome and ridiculous), it’s sufficiently memorable enough.

Robert De Niro is somewhat miscast in the role of Sam though as De Niro always is, he manages to make the best of it. Probably the best casting goes to Jean Reno as Vincent. Let’s face it, Jean Reno is like the French God of action films, the guy’s personality and screen presence fit perfectly into roles like these (just watch The Professional). Natascha McElhone tackles the role of Deirdre quite impressively, and she’s undoubtedly hot, I just wish they would give her better roles such as this one so she could show her true talents. Stellan Skarsgard is all right while Jonathan Price chews the scenery whenever he shows up, and Sean Bean is given nothing to do, no wonder he doesn’t last.

In the end, it’s a satisfying action flick, not bad but still falls a bit off the mark. As far as comebacks go Frankenheimer’s was a reasonable one, unfortunately he didn’t live long enough to prove himself a bit more as he would like so this film would be remembered as the last good film that Frankenheimer did. 3.5-5

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originally posted: 10/03/04 07:04:10
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell decent no more no less 3 stars
5/16/10 the dork knight Stodgy and lethargic. I guess that makes it a "thinking man's" thriller, eh. 3 stars
8/28/09 Jeff Wilder Intelligent action film. A cut above standard issue crapola. 4 stars
4/17/07 action movie fan very good action thriller-genuine car chases insted of cgi 5 stars
9/30/06 ProSneakyD Boring and nothing but car crap chases 2 stars
8/16/06 Eric Rountree Features one of the all time best (REAL) car chases 4 stars
5/26/06 William Goss Not nearly as clever as it wants (or needs) to be, but those car chases! 4 stars
1/07/06 steve newman I still dont understand what happened under the bridge - otherwise good 4 stars
9/19/05 Robs It may have this flaws, but it's still a good action/thriller film. 4 stars
8/11/05 ES I hated car chases until i saw this film, stellar cast 5 stars
4/20/05 Indrid Cold Solid action, but nothing to write home about. 3 stars
10/23/04 UMER good action-good acting-good plot-good direction-good movie 4 stars
9/18/04 Anarchist_101 It's underrated... IT AINT ALL THAT BAD~! 4 stars
6/14/04 Rachit Vats Absolutely smashing movie 5 stars
6/04/04 R.W. Welch Overdoes the car chase stuff. Otherwise, reasonably effective. 3 stars
5/17/04 The More You Know Streamlined warrior tale "without the cuts and knicks of a blade." 5 stars
4/06/04 Agent Sands Mr. Hat's right. Action's good but a halfwit could write the whole script in about 2 hours. 3 stars
2/19/04 Vince Excellent action flick. Highly recommended. 5 stars
2/15/04 homer i thought it was rather entertaining myself 4 stars
1/07/04 Ron Excellent, realistic (from true experience) 5 stars
12/05/03 john a thinling man's action movie - powerful and with a good story and a great cast 5 stars
7/06/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back MoFos!!!) Rug-fiber-thin plotline, characters R flat, car chases & shootouts are pretty cool. 3 stars
4/10/03 ToDD This movie is a action packed monkey suit 4 stars
3/22/03 Jack Sommersby Uninvolving, dull thriller. Cast is sleepwalking, and the chase scenes are lame. 1 stars
1/05/03 R.W. Welch Par for the course actioner; would have been better on a smaller budget. 3 stars
10/15/02 Charles Tatum I needed an interpreter just to plow through all the accents 3 stars
8/16/02 Scott DeNiro played his part well. Loved the chases. Highly Underrated 5 stars
3/02/02 Jake Took way too long to develop and I switched channels. 1 stars
6/04/01 Bront My advice to Guide2Film, go watch a fucking disney movie, one of the greatest thrillers eve 5 stars
3/31/01 Monster W. Kung One of De Niro's worst. If you wanna see him in a good movie, look elsewhere. 2 stars
10/30/00 maksim awsome fucking movie, really worth seeing 5 stars
10/29/00 steven hargreaves best car chases. If it had a shoot out like heat it would be a must see 4 stars
10/11/00 P. Rodriguez Dammit now I want and AUDI. If anyone's selling............ 4 stars
6/29/00 Terrie Smith DeNiro and Reno are good; McElhone is cold as ice. Good car chases. 4 stars
6/24/00 Naushad Khanji Better than Matrix.Chases are lame.Action is watered down 2 stars
4/07/00 Gremlin You guys suck, this movie kicked ass. Best car chases I've seen for a long time! 5 stars
10/11/99 Weird Andy Mamet sucks Satan's pecker again. Not a bad movie, though. Well crafted autopilot fun. 4 stars
9/13/99 Fast Mover This is an excellent action/plot twist video rental. The night guns purchase, ensuing gun b 5 stars
9/06/99 BBReBozo Car chases. Guns go boom. Deniro. Reno. Hot Irish chick. What the hell else you want? 5 stars
7/15/99 bridgette exciting at times 4 stars
5/08/99 Rudiger Fortesque III Good car chases, excellent shootings, okay plot 4 stars
4/05/99 Cool Thing Great cast wasted. What happened to that Irish guy? Disappeared. 3 stars
2/20/99 MR HOLLYWOOD!! Car-chases take over plot,originality and story,De Niro looks in need of sleep. 3 stars
2/20/99 Piz a Mission Impossible-esque film with plenty more action. What was in that box? 4 stars
12/05/98 tj great car niro is the man...but just doesn't quite have it 3 stars
12/03/98 Kirgo Incredibly disappointing. Tons of ideas fromother films don't make a compelling script! 2 stars
12/02/98 superkip its not great, but the car chases alone make it worth seeing 4 stars
11/24/98 Fred If you're gonna pop civilians, give the bad guys a really ingenious death, I always say. 3 stars
11/17/98 Jeff C. Hate to say anything bad about a movie with such a good cast but it really was very poor 2 stars
11/04/98 The Dude one of the best trillers I've seen in a long time 5 stars
10/25/98 BBReBozo Car chases, shmar shmases. The ending was the best part. 5 stars
10/23/98 Christ Monkey Fucking amazing car chases, and little else. 3 stars
10/23/98 Daddy Rich I thought it was pretty good. I loved the car chases. 4 stars
10/19/98 Dark Horizons "Ronin" just has cliched, cliched, cliched written all over it. 3 stars
10/17/98 Mr Showbiz Tries so hard to be a controlled exercise in paranoia that it completely fails to entertain 3 stars
8/30/98 {{{OZ}}} An action film with a lot of plot twists. The thinking man's Lethal Weapon. 4 stars
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  25-Sep-1998 (R)
  DVD: 09-May-2006

  20-Nov-1998 (15)
  DVD: 01-Feb-2000

  04-Feb-1999 (M)

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