Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Short Attention Span Review - Ronin (1998)

Often overlooked, Ronin is a polished thriller that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat from start to finish.  It's an excellent picture starring Robert DeNiro in his prime and featuring Jean Reno, Sean Bean, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård, and Jonathan Pryce.  Everyone involved does their best to keep up with DeNiro, and there isn't a bad performance in the picture.  Even director John Frankenheimer (who had pretty much been written off at this point) does an exquisite job, balancing the tension and intrigue with sensational chases and shootouts.  Every time you think that Ronin has peaked, it manages to raise the stakes with a bigger and bolder showdown.  It was a hit with critics and it made money, but it seldom comes up when people talk about really good movies.  I think that this slick heist flick is exceptional, and I absolutely love the performances.  There's a scene early on where DeNiro "ambushes" Sean Bean with coffee that is 100% awesome, and Frankenheimer really nailed it with all the gunfire and vehicular mayhem.  The action bits are well-staged, exciting, and integral to the plot--such as it is.  While there is a bit more dialogue and a quality MacGuffin (a mysterious case that everyone is after), Ronin isn't all that different from something like Mad Max: Fury Road in that the story essentially exists so that a number of riveting action scenes can be strung together.  That's okay, it's all a matter of execution, and Frankenheimer did a fine job at the helm.  Ronin is a top-shelf thriller with Robert DeNiro front and center.  That could never be a bad thing, and in this case, it's a great thing.

Final Grade: A

Ronin is a fine picture with an equal blend of action and suspense.  This is DeNiro
at his best and it's possible that the same could be said of director John Frankenheimer.

1 comment:

  1. The great "Coffee Ambush" of 1998: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpbv4oCv100