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Ronin 1998

R CC
Available on Prime

An international team of former intelligence agents is hired to carry out a dangerous mission in this character-driven post-Cold War action adventure directed by veteran filmmaker John Frankenheimer. When the caper goes awry, each member reveals his true self. Featured among the operatives are Robert De Niro, Stellan Skarsgard, Jean Reno, Jonathan Pryce, Sean Bean and Natascha McElhone. Of the story whose title derives from the Japanese word meaning masterless samurai: The characters, both male and female, are terribly good at what they do, they just have no place to do it anymore. They're hired to pull off a job, get double-crossed twice and have to get out of it. During a difficult job, the men and their morality, or lack of it, is revealed.

Starring:
Robert De Niro, Jean Reno
Runtime:
2 hours, 1 minute

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Product Details

Genres Thriller, Adventure, Action
Director John Frankenheimer
Starring Robert De Niro, Jean Reno
Supporting actors Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård, Sean Bean, Skipp Sudduth, Michael Lonsdale, Jan Tríska, Jonathan Pryce, Ron Perkins, Féodor Atkine, Katarina Witt, Bernard Bloch, Dominic Gugliametti, Alan Beckworth, Daniel Breton, Amidou, Tolsty, Gérard Moulévrier, Lionel Vitrant
Studio MGM
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Sandoc on March 21, 2006
Format: DVD
The definition of the Japanese word ronin describes it as a samurai who has lost his master from the ruin of or the fall of his master. John Frankenheimer (with some final draft help with the script from David Mamet) takes this notion of a masterless samurai and brings to it a post-Cold War setting and sensibility that more than pay homage to the great stories and film of the ronin. One particular story about ronin that Frankenheimer references in detail is the classic story of the 47 Ronin. Ronin shows that in the latter-stages of his career, Frankenheimer was still the master of the political/spy-thriller genre. He infuses the film with a real hard-edge and was able to mix together both intelligence and energy in both the quieter and action-packed sequences in the film.

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.
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1 Comment 95 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite movies. Unfortunately, MGM decided to pull a fast one and release a lobotomized Blu-ray version.

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.
15 Comments 231 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I actually saw Ronin in the theater when I was in high school. I had no idea what to expect, but I ended up loving it. It had such a great sense of style, it didn't spoon feed the plot to you, and featured fantastic action scenes. To this day it has my favorite car chase scenes.

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).
5 Comments 78 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
When I first heard about Ronin on TV, I knew I had to go see it. I was not disappointed. Great action sequences (including two of the best car chases in film), a solid plot, and outstanding acting by Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, and Jonathan Pryce made this movie my favorite. I have personally seen Ronin seven times, and each time I am amazed by the quality of the film.
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.
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