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Ronin (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
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The Cold War may be over, but a new world order keeps a group of covert mercenaries employed by the highest bidder. These operatives, known as "Ronin," are assembled in France by a mysterious client for a seemingly routine mission: steal a top-secret briefcase. But the simple task soon proves explosive asother underworld organizations vie for the same prize...and to get the job done, the members of Ronin must do something they've never done before...trust each other.
The two-disc set has substantial additional features, most of which emphasize the film's extraordinary car chase sequences. In his commentary, director John Frankenheimer delights in the stunts ("Now that's the best four-wheel drift I think I've ever seen!") and explores the difficulty of effective time transitions in a thriller. He also discusses his love of Paris, and how the city presents challenges to location filmmaking that aren't encountered in U.S. productions. The segments "The Driving of Ronin" and "Ronin: Filming in the Fast Lane" focus on cars, Paris, and cars in Paris; the interview with stunt-car coordinator Jean-Claude Lagniez is especially enlightening.
Robert De Niro, Natascha McElhone, and Jean Reno discuss their characters in Venice Film Festival interviews; De Niro is characteristically taciturn, McElhone articulate and lovely, and Reno charmingly expansive about his character Vincent ("Is he tough? Yeh, he knows his guns."). McElhone also gets her own separate interview segment, in which she discusses her concern over being thrown into the opening scenes as a novice among old pros--a situation shared by her character in the film.
Segments with the director of photography, editor, and composer are also included, but Elia Cmiral's use of the haunting duduk theme deserves more exploration than it gets here. There is also a thrown-together photo gallery and a brief, bleak alternate ending. --Michael Smith
- Disc One:
- Audio commentary with Director John Frankenheimer
- Alternate ending
- Disc Two
- Original Venice Film Festival interviews with Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, and Natasha McElhone
- Documentary: "Ronin: Filming in the Fast Lane"
- Featurette: "In the Cutting Room with Tony Gibbs"
- Featurette: Composing The Ronin Score
- Featurette: Natascha McElhone: An Actor's Process
- Featurette: The Driving of Ronin
- Featurette: Through the Lens
- Animated Photo Gallery
Top Customer Reviews
The film begins quietly with the introduction of the characters to be involved. We meet each individual in this quiet 10-minute scene that shows Frankenheimer's skill as a director more than Michael Bay can in two-hours of mind-numbing action. Robert De Niro as one of the two American mercenaries (or contractors) instantly becomes the focal point for everyone. His casual, but attentive reconnoitering of the Paris bar where the first meet occurs helps build tension without being overt. It's with the introduction of Jean Reno as the Frenchman in the group that we get the buddy-film dynamic as De Niro and Reno quickly create a believable camaraderie born of the times for such men during and after the Cold War. The rest of the cast is rounded out by an excellent and high-energy turn from Sean Bean as an English contractor who might not be all that he brags to be. The other American in the group was played by Skipp Sudduth who in his own understated way more than kept up with the high-caliber of actors around him.Read more ›
First of all, it uses old-school, low bitrate MPEG-2 encoding (so much for the the "superior" picture quality of Blu-Ray).
Fine, I could have lived with that... except for the fact that, as others have mentioned, the Blu-ray release contains absolutely no special features at all! None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Not even the stuff on the DVD release! WTF!?!?
I suppose MGM will eventually come out with a "Special Edition" Blu-Ray with the missing features, expecting us to also purchase that. No Way!!!
I'm returning this for a refund. I've spent quite a bit of money buying stuff off of Amazon over the years, and this is the first time I'm returning anything. It should tell you how ticked off I am about this.
Also, Amazon really needs to segregate the reviews for the Blu-ray release from the DVD reviews. It's sometimes very difficult to wade through 100s of reviews to find out if the Blu-ray release is worth buying over the DVD release.
So when I heard it was coming out on Blu-Ray, I was excited. I love the high definition picture and high quality sound that Blu-Ray offers, as well as the ability to fit those and a slew of extras on a single disc.
Unfortunately, MGM/Fox decided to treat this great movie poorly for its Blu-Ray debut. The picture quality is improved, but not up to par with the more impressive Blu-Ray catalog releases we've seen so far. It is a single-layered release (using only 25GB of the 50GB available on a dual-layered disc), and uses a compression codec (MPEG-2) that has largely been abandoned in favor of better ones.
Worse, all the great extras from both DVDs are absent from the Blu-Ray. Even the original DVD from 1999(!) had a commentary and alternate ending. The 2006 DVD had those, a documentary, and a bunch of featurettes.
All in all, this Blu-Ray takes one baby-step forward, and several big steps backward. This disc is behind the DVD that is 10 years its senior. Sadly I'll be waiting to purchase this until MGM treats this movie with the respect it deserves (the respect they gave it 3 years ago).
There's more to this movie than the action sequences, and it recalls the days when action movies were not just pure action all the time. When I first saw the samurai minature sequence, I thought it was uncessary and boring, but after time, I have come to think it an interesting and important part of the story. Some people might find Ronin a bit boring at times, but it has a strong plotline that is unpredicatble, and just enough action without going overboard.
This DVD doesn't have many extra features at all, although I absolutely loved the director's commentary. Otherwise, it's sorely lacking in features, despite the alternate ending. I wish that MGM would have released this as a special edition - it would have been my favorite DVD of all time - still, I highly recommend it because Ronin is such an awesome movie.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an action-packed film that has some big-name actors such as Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Sean Bean. The story was interesting, and the plot moved along at a nice pace. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Frank M
Terrible movie--no story line, gratuitous violence, and unrealistic chase scenes that comprised 1/4 of the movie. You are better off taking a nap.Published 2 days ago by Leroy Gebhart