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? Nicely, at its coronary heart, Ronin is a caper film, extra of against the law thriller, and fewer of a automotive film. Besides for 2 issues: there are unbelievable automotive chases, and John Frankenheimer directed Ronin, who beforehand directed Grand Prix in 1966, one of many best racing movies in historical past.  

Ronin Synopsis

In Paris, a gaggle 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 workforce is a global 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 laptop 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 unhealthy guys.

From right here on out, Ronin is one lengthy hunt throughout Southern France and again up by means of 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.

Forged & Characters

Oohh child, what a forged! Let’s begin with the obvious: Robert De Niro as Sam Regazolli. He’s at the moment 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 exterior the mafia.

Jean Reno performs Vincent, a French gunman who turns into quick associates with De Niro’s Sam. Reno is and at all times shall be each inch a Frenchman; each gesture appears to be a shrug, and his total persona is considered one of world-weariness punctuated by sighs. Sluggish to maneuver and fast to shoot, Vincent shouldn’t 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 now have Sean Bean taking part in Spence, an Englishman who’s all speak, no competence, and a strolling legal responsibility. It’s a disgrace to get typecast like this, however Bean has a knack for enjoying 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 modifying 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 have been sensible and plausible, most notably the driving scenes. It’s right here the place Frankenheimer actually exhibits his stuff. He had British variations of the automobiles for the chase scenes. That manner, he may 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 Sequence and Peugeot 406 are on display. 

Ought to You Watch Ronin?

The great factor about Ronin is that it really works for gearheads and normal audiences. You would recommend it for a film night time with associates when you geek out in the course of the chase scenes. If 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 standard driving video games as a content material knowledgeable, along with working for aerospace corporations, software program giants, and as a film stuntman. He lives within the northeast nook of the northwestern-most a part of the Pacific Northwest.