Plot is essentially about nothing. A loosely connected series of deceptions, bluffs & double-bluffs, leading towards an unanswerable McGuffin. Mamet's dialog is snappy & hard-boiled but tells us zero about characters that feel like they've been ripped from different films. But it doesn't matter. It's just an excuse for Frankenheimer to put together some of the greatest, most gripping action set-pieces of his career.
The action sequences are outstanding (no kinetic editing overload), the ensemble cast is stellar (90s method afficianados) and the premise/delivery of the film echoes De Palma's second wave interpretation of Hitchcock (Blow Out, Mission Impossible). It adheres to action thriller genre conventions (even the MacGuffin) but stands tall due to its mature and understated approach akin to 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'.
RONIN is a masterclass in economy. Mamet controversially rewrote J.D. Zeik's screenplay. He is said to have changed every line of dialog; stripped characters down to the bone, bushido-style. For white-knuckle action, even the Bourne movies cannot surpass it. RONIN also contains De Niro's last great role. With a sly nod to Hitchcock, Frankenheimer's direction is flawless. In fact, it requires not admiration but study.
So bad, deliriously bad, but also one of the best action films of all time. The car chases are essentially unrivaled and the shootouts are top-notch, they just happen to be situated between some of the most overblown plotting/dialogue ever devised. I love it
John Frankenheimer just knew how to make a great thriller and this well knit ensemble of badasses presented in this film are no exception. Why haven't Robert DeNiro and Jean Reno made more movies together?
Frankenheimer's thrill a minute film sets the tone for the bourne films. Unbelievable action pieces that will leave your jaw on he floor. Not to mention DeNiro in full action mode. A true thinking man's action film! Flawed at times but who cares with car chases this good!
Unadulterated mcguffin chasing goodness. I was surprised by how engrossed I was from the very beginning. The movie is gorgeous and the cast has a great chemistry. It may be blasphemous but I would love to see a sequel. Mostly to see DeNiro and Reno together again. Their pairing is what made this movie so strong, they brought the best out in one another, and I'd love to see it again. Light Mifune vibe from DeNiro.
3 stars for the film and a extra star for the car chase. Since "French Connection", I never saw such an incredible car chase like that. Still, the Friedkin's film is such a superior film comparing with this.