The Cold War may be over but at the forefront of the new world is a group of covert mercenaries whose skills in surveillance, reconnaissance and attack are for sale to the highest bidder. Five of these operatives, known as Ronin, are assembled in Paris by a mysterious client for a dangerous mission: steal a top-secret briefcase. What seems to be a straight-forward assignment soon becomes a deadly pursuit as other underworld organisations vie for the same prize. Betrayer becomes betrayed as the film reaches its shattering climax.
Ronin contains two of the most explosive car chases ever filmed, no CGI here just breathtaking stunt work and brilliant film making. Couple this with a fantastic cast, terrific story line, beautiful European locations and you have an action thriller that is second to none.
Ignore the slightly preposterous Japanese rubric of 'Ronin' (or samurai without masters) being applied to mercenaries and thieves for hire in France, and enjoy this for it is: a rip-roaring thriller with an amoral heart. There is a suitcase to be stolen and de Niro and Jean Reno, among others, are the men for it. Their employers are the IRA and their opponents, the Russian mafia. Cue mayhem across Paris and the South of France, with enough collateral damage for a small war. The director John Frankenheimer is not afraid to go for the jugular, and piles one set piece on another, the most jaw dropping being a car chase against the flow of traffic on Paris' peripharique. Excellent performances from the two leads, and thoroughly nasty support from Stellan Skarsgard and Jonathan Pryce.