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Ronin Blu Ray

| Blu Ray

Robert De Niro stars as an American intelligence operative adrift in irrelevance since the end of the Cold War--much like a masterless samurai, a.k.a. "ronin." With his services for sale, he joins a renegade, international team of fellow covert warriors with nothing but time on their hands. Their mission, as defined by the woman who hires them (Natascha McElhone), is to get hold of a particular suitcase that is equally coveted by the Russian mafia and Irish terrorists. As the scheme gets underway, De Niro's lone wolf strikes up a rare friendship with his French counterpart (Jean Reno), gets into a more-or-less romantic frame of mind with McElhone, and asserts his experience on the planning and execution of the job--going so far as to publicly humiliate one team member (Sean Bean) who is clearly out of his league. The story is largely unremarkable--there's an obligatory twist midway through that changes the nature of the team's business--but legendary filmmaker John Frankenheimer (Seconds, The Manchurian Candidate) leaps at the material, bringing to it an honest tension and seasoned, breathtaking skill with precision-action direction. The centerpiece of the movie is an honest-to-God car chase that is the real thing: not the how-can-we-top-the-last-stunt cartoon nonsense of Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon), but a pulse-quickening, kinetic dance of superb montage and timing. In a sense, Ronin is almost Frankenheimer's self-quoting version of a John Frankenheimer film. There isn't anything here he hasn't done before, but it's sure great to see it all again. --Tom Keogh

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Robert De Niro, Stellan Skarsgård and Sean Bean star in this US action thriller directed by John Frankenheimer. Ronin are a group of five mercenaries who hire their expert skills out to the highest bidder - Sam (De Niro) is an ex-CIA man, Vincent (Jean Reno) a French operative, Spence (Bean) a weapons expert, Gregor (Skarsgård) an ex-KGB electronics wizard and Larry (Skip Sudduth) a driver. Contacted via Irish revolutionary Deirdre (Natascha McElhone) by an unseen employer, the group are hired to steal a well-guarded briefcase. The mission succeeds, but divisions within the team soon result in treachery and betrayal.

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