• James Rutherford

'Ronin': A Frenetic Action Thriller About a Team of Mercenaries Out to Steal a Mysterious Briefcase


Movie poster for the 1998 film Ronin

Ronin (1998) is a frenetic and electrifying action thriller starring Robert de Niro as Sam, a former CIA agent now operating as a private contractor. Recruited by an Irish operative named Deirdre (Natascha McElhone), Sam joins a team of mercenaries in pursuit of a mysterious briefcase—one with a lavish reward attached to it.


Sam first meets Frenchman Vincent (Jean Reno) and fellow American Larry (Skipp Sudduth) in Paris, the trio soon converging with Englishman Spence (Sean Bean) and German Gregor (Stellan Skarsgård), all former government or military personnel. The group is briefed on their mission to retrieve the attaché—one that has been targeted by the Russian mafia as well. The ensuing storyline follows a serpentine web of intrigue and espionage, as Sam and his team vie with Russian strongman Mikhi (Féodor Atkine) and his forces for possession of the enigmatic package.


Co-written by David Mamet and directed by legendary filmmaker John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate), Ronin is a pulse-pounding thrillride delivered with straight-faced, no-nonsense panache. De Niro and the full ensemble deliver spot-on performances as professional killers at the height of their game—the plotline delivering myriad twists to their extended operation. Highlighted by a series of extraordinary set pieces, including several edge-of-your-set car chases, it's a visceral and kinetic viewing experience.

 

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