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.
Description by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment:
In a world where loyalties are easily abandoned and allegiances can be bought, a new and deadlier terrorist threat has emergedfree agent killers! Featuring "high-octane action" (Gene Shalit, "Today"), a "first-rate cast" (L.A. Daily News) and exhilarating car chases that "are nothing short of sensational" (The New York Times), Ronin is "the real deal in action fireworks" (Rolling Stone) directed by "a master of intelligent thrillers" (Roger Ebert). The Cold War may be over, but a new world order keeps a group of covert mercenaries employed by the highest bidder. These operatives, known as "Ronin," are assembled in France by a mysterious client for a seemingly routine mission: steal a top-secret briefcase. But the simple task soon proves explosive asother underworld organizations vie for the same prize...and to get the job done, the members of Ronin must do something they've never done before trust each other!