Ronin(1998) - John Frankenheimer
Ronin feels like a blend of 70’s Euro-crime flick and 90’s action/thriller. In other words, “you’ve got your peanut butter in my chocolate!”. Ronin is the type of mid-budget action thriller you watch on TBS with your Grandpa. This is a movie about honor and masculinity, a heightened reality where Jean Reno and Robert De Niro trade vague sentimental pieces of dialogue like “What do you want for Christmas”, “my two front teeth”. If Ronin was made by Jean-Pierre Melville people would probably say that it is meditative, but audiences are less inclined to tolerate this kind of philosophy in American films. Ronin was more or less a failure when it was released in cinemas, but it was one of the earliest movies to find an audience on DVD. The action scenes are expertly staged and directed by Frankenheimer. The sound design/mixing is perfect, particularly in the car chase scenes... OK, I buried the lede, Ronin has possibly the best car chase ever put on film. It’s almost unfair to the rest of the movie because everything else kind of feels like set dressing around the two exceptional car chase scenes. The scope, European setting, and sound design are what made this a must-own for early DVD collectors like myself. Watch it back-to-back with Air Force One for maximum 90’s action glory!
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