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Ronin (1998)


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 60
Fresh: 41
Rotten: 19

Critics Consensus: This is comparable to French Connection with great action, dynamic road chase scenes, and solid performances.

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 14
Fresh: 8
Rotten: 6

Critics Consensus: This is comparable to French Connection with great action, dynamic road chase scenes, and solid performances.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 120,032



Movie Info

When an international team of former intelligence agents and Cold War warriors meet in a warehouse, their adventure of love, friendship and betrayal has just begun. Like the honored masterless Samurai of hundreds of years ago, these modern day Ronin are embarking on their final covert mission -- to recover a mysterious briefcase for an unknown employer and to stay alive. The action-adventure is directed by legendary helmer John Frankenheimer.

R (for strong violence and some language)
Mystery & Suspense , Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By:
J.D. Zeik , David Mamet
In Theaters:
Feb 23, 1999
MGM/UA - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Ronin

All Critics (84) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (19) | DVD (30)

Ronin plays like death warmed over!

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Ronin reps a pleasurable throwback to the sort of gritty, low-tech international thriller that was a staple of the 1960s.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

I enjoyed the film on two levels: for its skill and its silliness.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Mamet was so upset by the Writers Guild's refusal to give him sole writing credit that he chose to be listed under a pseudonym; turns out he unwittingly made the right decision.

Full Review… | April 3, 2009

More fruitful by far to take the auteurist view and say that for Frankenheimer, Ronin is surrender.

Full Review… | March 24, 2009
Film Freak Central

As relações entre os personagens e as seqüências de perseguição são fascinantes, mas a tentativa de "amarrar" a trama acaba comprometendo um roteiro que não precisava disso.

March 12, 2005
Cinema em Cena enough to recognize and even make a virtue of its dumbness.

Full Review… | January 29, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Frankenheimer goes out, well, if not exactly on top, at least on a high note with this slightly insubstantial but stylistically sophisticated song in a minor key

Full Review… | March 11, 2004

Nothing was resolved in the end except for the fact that I hated it.

Full Review… | October 21, 2002

Depicts the amoral world of masterless warriors whose lives are filled with unending violence and betrayal.

Full Review… | August 21, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

What carries the film is the style, which is fast, furious, and impeccably paced.

Full Review… | February 28, 2002
Goatdog's Movies

It is a tribute to the film's earnestness that we are able to overlook most of its absurdities and simply revel in its deeds.

June 2, 2001
Movie Metropolis

The stunts make a considerably more vivid impression than any of the movie's potpourri of characters.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Film Journal International

Frankenheimer rams the plot through turnstiles of gibberish!

January 1, 2000
San Diego Union-Tribune

All the players are good, so what happened? They forgot that we, the audience, could think.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

A somewhat muddled yarn that's more tease than delivery.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Screen It!

But despite some attempts to make this a deeper than usual actioner, Frankenheimer's film is just your typical actioner.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Ronin

I had been meaning to see this one for a few years, and am happy to say that I finally got this one crossed off my list.

Co-written by David Mamet using a pseudonym and some obscure person named J.D. Zeik, this is basically the last great film from acclaimed director John Frankenheimer.

What we have here is a slick international caper set in post Cold War Europe (mainly France) about a group of mercenaries from various intelligence and spec. ops. backgrounds who are called together to steal a mysterious briefcase with unknown (and unrevealed contents) that is wanted by both Irish terrorists and Russian gangsters.

As for the basic plot, that's pretty much it. A bunch of hired guns come together to do a job, but, like all great thrillers, there's plenty of twists, turns, and intrigue.

Okay, so the plot isn't original, but that's not where the film shines. It excels in delivering lots of suspense, tension, atmosphere, some good shootouts, and some excellent car chases. We get roughly four or so prolonged chases, and they are quite awesome, especially since they're done practically. Frankenheimer could have used visual effects, but opted for realism, and the results are great.

Robert De Niro leads an all star cast, and he's awesome as the guy who basically becomes the leader of this little mission. He brings a great deal of experience and world weariness, and this is probably his last major role as a bad ass, though he did have a few great moments in Killer Elite. He's joined by the always cool Jean Reno, a scenery chewing Sean Bean, Stellan Skarsgard in a fun weaselly turn, and a menacing Jonathan Pryce. It's not a total sausage fest though. Natascha McElhone makes for a decent femme fatale, and even figure skater Katarina Witt shows up for a minor role.

The film was almost 100% shot on location throughout France, and it looks great. We get awesome set pieces through a variety of locales, and the execution is marvelous. The action is tremendous, and there's plenty of it. The film does have some quieter moments, and I loved the fairly intelligent take on the caper elements, with how their mission is planned, etc.

I wouldn't go so far as to call this a thinking man's action thriller, but it is somewhat smart and doesn't totally relying on playing to the lowest common denominator.

I dug the crap out of this film, and I'd maybe rate it slightly higher, but, I do think it is somewhat uneven as far as the pacing (at times), and the basic story, as I previously mentioned, is kinda weak.

Overall though, this is a terrific movie and I highly recommend you check it out.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A thrilling suspense/action film with some unexpected turns. A great cast.

Christian C

Super Reviewer

A fun B-movie with one of the best car scene chases ever. Plot is lacking... but Robert De Niro is in it... He lifts this movie up. I loved the overall feel of this movie

Albert Kim
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

An entertaining, though extremely convoluted and occasionally way too silly action yarn detailing a team of mercenaries (led by Robert De Niro) who must recover a briefcase filled with contents they no nothing about. The plot, as said, is way to complicated to keep up with, and the character development is pretty bad as well outside of De Niro, but this thing somehow, someway stays entertaining through a variety of breathtaking car chase sequences that match up against the best recorded in film. Sure, the chase sequences, like the movie as a whole, drift into silliness at more than one point, but the movie remains fun throughout. Think of it as a veteran's version "Eagle Eye", a film you kind of throw up your hands towards and go "it's....whatever man". If you turn your brain off and try to enjoy the action, you most likely will. But if you start to question the reality of, well, all of the film, then this thing has more holes than swiss cheese. So there you have it.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Ronin Quotes

You worried about saving your own skin?
Yeah, I am. It covers my body.
– Submitted by Joakim A (9 months ago)
It would be nice to do something.
We are doing something. We're sitting here, waiting.
– Submitted by Bryan S (2 years ago)
What's the color of the boathouse at Hereford?
– Submitted by Bryan S (2 years ago)
Tell me about an ambush. I ambushed you with a cup of coffee!
– Submitted by Bryan S (2 years ago)
What would I profit from your death?
– Submitted by Musa I (2 years ago)
I don't remember. That's lesson number two.
– Submitted by James B (2 years ago)

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