Frankenheimer’s Work Nonetheless Thrills Gearheads & Automotive Buffs

Ronin Poster 2

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Ronin is entertaining from begin to end. The casting is great, the script flows, and it nonetheless appeals to a large viewers 1 / 4 century later. Is it a gearhead film? Effectively, at its coronary heart, Ronin is a caper film, extra of against the law thriller, and fewer of a automobile film. Besides for 2 issues: there are incredible automobile chases, and John Frankenheimer directed Ronin, who beforehand directed Grand Prix in 1966, one of many biggest racing movies in historical past.  

Ronin Synopsis

In Paris, a bunch of mercenary thieves are recruited by a shadowy Irishwoman to intercept a convoy and steal a metallic briefcase. What’s within the case stays a thriller all through. The crew is a world assortment of males with the talents, coaching, and mindset to tug off a job like this. 

The hunt is on when one of many crew, Gregor (Stellan Skarsgård), pulls a double cross and steals the case for himself. Gregor, a German pc specialist with ties to the KGB, is oily, creepy, and about as reliable as an affordable ladder. Gregor is performed to perfection by Skarsgård. The crew is now looking for Gregor earlier than he sells the case to a different group of dangerous guys.

From right here on out, Ronin is one lengthy hunt throughout Southern France and again up by Paris that’s thrillingly punctuated by two superb chase scenes – one to get the case and one other to get the case again – and all through, loyalties and motivations shift between the characters.

Solid & Characters

Oohh child, what a solid! Let’s begin with the obvious: Robert De Niro as Sam Regazolli. He’s presently a mercenary, however there are hints that he used to work for the CIA. As at all times, De Niro is on level, and it was good, on the time, to see him in a job outdoors the mafia.

Jean Reno performs Vincent, a French gunman who turns into quick pals with De Niro’s Sam. Reno is and at all times can be each inch a Frenchman; each gesture appears to be a shrug, and his complete persona is one among world-weariness punctuated by sighs. Gradual to maneuver and fast to shoot, Vincent will not be to be messed with.

Natascha McElhone is Deirdre, a mysterious Irishwoman and IRA operative contracted to steal a briefcase by the devious and threatening Seamus O’Rourke. The usually affable Jonathan Pryce performs O’Rourke, a disturbing and violent sociopath who’s hell-bent on getting that case.  

Earlier than The Lord of the Rings memes kicked in, we’ve got Sean Bean taking part in Spence, an Englishman who’s all discuss, no competence, and a strolling legal responsibility. It’s a disgrace to get typecast like this, however Bean has a knack for taking part in unlovable jerks. And let’s not overlook Skipp Sudduth as Larry, the American wheelman who carried out most of his character’s stunt driving. 

Behind The Chase Scenes

The script for Ronin is dense and heavy, and its writing and enhancing had plenty of Hollywood drama behind it. That in all probability has one thing to do with playwright David Mamet (Sexual Perversity in ChicagoAmerican BuffaloGlengarry Glen Ross) being hooked up to the film, though John David Zeik is credited as a screenwriter too. 

In any other case, Ronin is tight and by the numbers. All the results had been sensible and plausible, most notably the driving scenes. It’s right here the place Frankenheimer actually reveals his stuff. He had British variations of the automobiles for the chase scenes. That manner, he might have stunt drivers – or in Ronin’s case, ex-F1 driver Jean-Piere Jarrier – drive the automobiles whereas the actors sat behind dummy steering wheels and drove from the left-hand seat.

Frankenheimer delivers a grasp class in automotive sound and visible results, particularly when the BMW 5 Collection and Peugeot 406 are on display screen. 

Ought to You Watch Ronin?

The good factor about Ronin is that it really works for gearheads and common audiences. You would counsel it for a film night time with pals whilst you geek out throughout the chase scenes. In case you have by no means seen Ronin, or it’s been some time, it’s available for rent or streaming on Amazon Prime. DVD and Blu-ray copies are also available on Amazon.    

Longtime Automoblog author Tony Borroz has labored on widespread driving video games as a content material knowledgeable, along with working for aerospace firms, software program giants, and as a film stuntman. He lives within the northeast nook of the northwestern-most a part of the Pacific Northwest.