Rolling Stone - 10/15/1998
"...RONIN represents an exhilarating return to form for Frankenheimer....The real deal in action fireworks..."
Entertainment Weekly - 03/05/1999
"...Bracing sequences....A welcome throwback....[De Niro] makes most recent action-movie figures look like callow jocks..." -- Rating: B+
USA Today - 10/23/1998
"...This throwback to director John Frankenheimer's vintage international thrillers has an attractively old-fashioned feel..."
New York Times - 09/25/1998
"...An extraordinary cast of actors, all on the same formidable wavelength, match wits most impressively....Mr. De Niro shows off a brooding, hard-guy panache with its own brand of international appeal..."
David Mamet wrote this screenplay under the name Richard Weisz, as a gun for hire, much like the masterless samurai of the film's title, who roamed Japan in the 19th Century, loyal only to themselves. A group of men with highly developed skills are called to a meeting in a deserted warehouse in Paris. Sam (Robert De Niro), an American, may be ex-CIA. Vincent (Jean Reno), the terminally cool Frenchman, is a mystery. Russian computer whiz Gregor (Stellan Skarsgaard) is presumably ex-KGB, and Spence (Sean Bean), a British demolitions man, and Larry (Skipp Suddith), another Yank, round out the team. They've been hired by the IRA, through liaison Deirdre (Natascha McElhone), to steal a briefcase of unknown contents somewhere in Europe. As the unit races from one spectacular location on the French Riviera to another, the body count mounts, some Russian gangsters get into the act, and the betrayals come fast and furious. In a rare comic moment, Sam stitches up his own bullet wound, and asks a friend to finish before he passes out. RONIN features an exceptional cast, sumptuous locations, and the kind of realistic car chases and action scenes that one expects from a director of John Frankenheimer's skills.