Ronin

Ronin Image
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 145 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: When an international team of former Cold War intelligence adversaries meet in a warehouse, their adventure of friendship, intrigue and betrayal has just begun. Like the masterless Samurai of ages past, these modern day Ronin are embarking on their final covert mission -- to recover aWhen an international team of former Cold War intelligence adversaries meet in a warehouse, their adventure of friendship, intrigue and betrayal has just begun. Like the masterless Samurai of ages past, these modern day Ronin are embarking on their final covert mission -- to recover a mysterious briefcase for an unknown employer and to stay alive. (MGM) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 90
    As is common in a Frankenheimer picture, the plot lines get a bit tangled in Ronin, but the atmosphere is tense, the style impeccable.
  2. It's a welcome throwback to the days when the world didn't have to end or tanker trucks explode to get an action audience's attention.
  3. Ronin represents an exhilarating return to form for Frankenheimer.
  4. 70
    After a while, you stop counting the chases -- they just get longer and louder, and it's like watching the revival of a forgotten art form; the fact that it's done with a minimum of special effects makes it all the more stirring.
  5. It's not just the crack stunt driving that makes Ronin such a welcome throwback; it's also the existential hardness of this thriller's motley band of mercenaries.
  6. Ronin is well-made, but it's an act of connoisseurship for people who have given up on movies as an art form.
  7. 40
    Not even supercool Robert De Niro can enliven this boring tale about a team of mercenary operatives.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. Jan 23, 2015
    10
    Finally, a movie that allowed you, if not forced you, to use your imagination. I found the plot to be compelling (who is really who andFinally, a movie that allowed you, if not forced you, to use your imagination. I found the plot to be compelling (who is really who and whom can you trust), De Niro is spot-on, and the car chase scenes are the best ever found in this genre of film. This is neither an action thriller nor a "shoot-em-up, chase 'em" film. It is a film that runs its own course and holds its own place. What's in the case? Who cares? It's a film that gets more appreciated the second, third and fourth time you see it. Expand
  2. [Anonymous]
    Apr 16, 2006
    8
    This action thriller has two really great car chases, and the gun battle hit the mark. However, the performances are also good, and overall, This action thriller has two really great car chases, and the gun battle hit the mark. However, the performances are also good, and overall, the movie chooses intelligence over idiocy, resulting in a taut, tight and nimble thriller. Expand
  3. Dec 20, 2013
    7
    Pretty good all around. Had a good amount of intrigue, thrills, and action, to keep your attention throughout this one. It was a littlePretty good all around. Had a good amount of intrigue, thrills, and action, to keep your attention throughout this one. It was a little confusing at times, but wrapped up pretty nicely. Expand
  4. Aug 21, 2014
    7
    Although Ronin breaks no new ground in the action genre, it is still a wholesome and thrilling movie. The car chase scenes are some of theAlthough Ronin breaks no new ground in the action genre, it is still a wholesome and thrilling movie. The car chase scenes are some of the best in any movie, and DeNiro and Reno play a great pair. Expand
  5. Sep 28, 2014
    6
    Overall, it was okay. The story line was decent and the car chases were well done. It kept my interest and is worth a watch only if you rentOverall, it was okay. The story line was decent and the car chases were well done. It kept my interest and is worth a watch only if you rent it. Its not worth watching multiple times. The ending has a decent plot twist which was nice. Expand
  6. Apr 3, 2016
    6
    Run-of-the-Mill 'Ronin'

    Although laced with adrenaline and flavored with noirish seasoning, John Frankenheimer's "Ronin" is a
    Run-of-the-Mill 'Ronin'

    Although laced with adrenaline and flavored with noirish seasoning, John Frankenheimer's "Ronin" is a disappointingly conventional thriller from the director of the masterful "The Manchurian Candidate" – a film whose pretensions of exoticness are ultimately thwarted by a nagging mistrust of its audience's sophistication.

    Taking its name from the Japanese term for wandering samurai warriors who have been disgraced by their failure to protect their masters, the film concerns a similarly rootless band of modern international soldiers of fortune who rendezvous in a dank Paris bistro at the behest of a mysterious Irish woman named Dierdre (Natascha McElhone).

    Hired to retrieve by force a silver valise of undetermined contents from a shadowy coterie of unpleasant-looking men, the group includes two Americans, quizzical logistician Sam (Robert De Niro) and driver Larry (Skipp Sudduth); laconic French triggerman Vincent (Jean Reno); former KGB agent and electronics expert Gregor (Stellan Skarsgard); and jumpy British military vet Spence (Sean Bean). It is a solid cast, and the actors all acquit themselves well.

    Before we are even introduced to this rogues' gallery, though, the film opens with a tacked-on title explaining the derivation of the term "ronin." It's an overly explicit addendum that is all the more perplexing since the word is again defined (with greater depth and nuance) in a speech halfway through the film. Jean-Pierre (Michael Lonsdale), a grizzled and philosophical collector of miniature soldiers, explains the Japanese legend as he gives sanctuary to Sam and Vincent after Sam has been wounded by bad guys. It's as if Frankenheimer – or one of the pesky producers – had last-minute misgivings about whether moviegoers could sit patiently through an hour of the story before learning the significance of the foreign-sounding label.

    Such cheesiness feels strangely patronizing, especially in a movie that is rife with delicious ambiguity, a movie whose very subject matter in fact seems to be the realm of equivocation and betrayal. Several members of the jaded paramilitary quintet, each of whose allegiance and motivation is suspect, allude to the fact that they were rounded up by an unnamed (and unseen) man in a wheelchair, and it is never clear, even at the film's bitter end, exactly what the highly-sought-after piece of luggage contains.

    These are not my quibbles with "Ronin," however. Indeed, what superficial murkiness it possesses is its very forte. Still, the screenplay by J.D. Zeik and Richard Weisz only dips its toe in the vast ocean of tough-guy metaphysics, as when it ruminates on such pretentious hooey as the "code of the battlefield" and a series of wannabe-Zenlike "rules" instilled in Sam by his one-time affiliation with the CIA.

    "Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt," he tells Vincent.

    (Ah so, grasshopper.)

    Despite some ingenious touches, as when Sam and Dierdre pose as tourists to snap photos of their elusive quarry, much of the time "Ronin" feels like a high-brow Steven Seagal film, with massive gun battles that casually disregard civilian casualties and too many overlong car chases through the twisty streets of Paris and Nice. Frankenheimer even smashes one car into a fishmonger's stand – as if we haven't ever seen that hoary cliche» before. And a scene of autos speeding through an underground tunnel is unnervingly reminiscent of a reenactment of Princess Di's demise.

    Trite though it may be, the action is tautly edited and the film's picturesque French locales, including an ancient stone arena in Arles, go a long way toward diverting attention from its narrative implausibilities and credulous plot coincidences.

    Late in the game, when Dierdre's boss Seamus (Jonathan Pryce) enters the picture and double-cross turns into triple-, quadruple- and quintuple-cross, I began to lose track of who wanted the bloody suitcase and why.

    And, like Frankenheimer's mercenary gaggle of blase post-Cold Warriors, I no longer particularly cared.
    Expand
  7. May 30, 2016
    3
    John Frankenheimer's ''Ronin'' is too serious to be a fun popcorn movie and simply too bad, to be a good serious action/thriller. Overall it'sJohn Frankenheimer's ''Ronin'' is too serious to be a fun popcorn movie and simply too bad, to be a good serious action/thriller. Overall it's a disappointing film. It has some good action sequences and good performances from De Niro and Reno (as you would expect) to save this movie. The the plot seems inevitably simple but turns out to be confusing at the beginning and barely gets clear along the way.
    Also, the whole plot is just a massive McGuffin that goes nowhere, as always with McGuffin plots.
    Expand

See all 10 User Reviews

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