Ronin (1998)


Critic Consensus: Ronin earns comparisons to The French Connection with strong action, dynamic road chase scenes, and solid performances.


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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.

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Jean Reno
as Vincent
Sean Bean
as Spence
Michael Lonsdale
as Jean-Pierre
Jan Triska
as Dapper Gent
Katarina Witt
as Natacha Kirilova
Ron Perkins
as The Man with the Newspaper
Dominic Gugliametti
as Clown Iceskater
Alan Beckworth
as Clown Iceskater
Daniel Breton
as Sergi's Accomplice
as Man at Exchange
as The 'Boss'
Lionel Vitrant
as The 'Target'
Vincent Schmitt
as Arles Messenger
Leopoldine Serre
as Little Girl in Arles
Lou Maraval
as Little Girl in Arles
Frederic Schmalzbauer
as German Tour Guide
Julia Maraval
as Girl Hostage
Laurent Spielvogel
as Tourist in Nice
Ron Hiatt
as Fishmonger
Steve Suissa
as Waiter in Nice
Katia Tchenko
as Woman Hostage
Dyna Gauzy
as Screaming Little Girl
Amanda Spencer
as Little Girl
Dimitri Rafalsky
as Russian Interpreter
Vladimir Tchernine
as Russian Mechanic
Gerard Touratier
as Ice Rink Security Guard
Cyril Prenout
as Mikhi's Bodyguard
Henry Moati
as Bartender
Christophe Maratier
as Armed Police Officer
Pierre Forest
as C.R.S. Captain
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Critic Reviews for Ronin

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (15)

Not even supercool Robert De Niro can enliven this boring tale.

Aug 18, 2017 | Full Review…

Clunky and contrived!

Jan 1, 2000

Ronin plays like death warmed over!

Jan 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic

John Frankenheimer used to make real movies.

Jan 1, 2000


Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

A cunning spy thriller!

Jan 1, 2000
Top Critic

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
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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

Christian C
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

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