If like me you are somewhat of a De Niro fan then you must at some point have watched his action / thriller Ronin. Remember those really exciting car chases? They were outstanding, well good news Arrow Video have just released a brand new 4K restoration on Blu-ray. Time I think to take a look, so without further ado here’s my Ronin Blu-ray Review.
- Ronin Blu-ray Review (1998)
- Running Time: 122 Mins
- UK Rating 15
- Discs: 1
- Released By Arrow Video
- Blu-ray Released: 14th August 2017
An Irish group hire a team of ex-special ops turned mercenaries to pull off what in theory you be a straight forward heist. The Irish want a case, contents unknown, that is being touted for sale to the highest bidder with the Russians favourite to secure the deal.
When things go horribly wrong the remaining members of mercenary outfit decide to take matters into their own hands.
Written by J.D. Zeik.
Style / Direction
Packed full of fast paced action with some of the best car chases every filmed. Those car moments really are breathtaking as they drive through the tight European streets of Paris. Director John Frankenheimer and director of photography Robert Fraisse really do deserve credit for pulling off one of the best looking and well made action films to date.
The cinematography is handled by Robert Fraisse.
Music / Audio Effects
The music is provided by Elia Cmiral and I’ll be honest I can’t really remember the music too well other than it being functional and I guess that’s fine.
Acting / Characters
The cast assembled for Ronin is pretty much spot on with everyone playing their roles to near perfection. That includes Sean Bean’s rather pathetic ex-SAS performance and when I say pathetic I mean it’s deliberately done that way as a plot point. His lack of knowledge and cool under fire certainly belies his alleged status.
The main two characters are Sam (ex-CIA) played be Robert De Niro and Vincent played by Jean Reno. These two are the real reason the film works so brilliantly, they have a mutual respect for each other and it gives the film a little bit of heart and soul.
Make no mistake this is De Niro on top form driving the film forward (pun intended!) whilst Reno provides the perfect support role.
Other key characters include Deirdre (Natascha McElhone) the face of the Irish group whom hired the band of mercenaries. She a tough no nonsense kind of person and despite being in the company of some serious characters she more than holds her own. In fact I’d say she is rather excellent in this role.
The remaining characters that feature heavily are Gregor (Stellan Skarsgård) an ex-KGB type and Seamus O’Rourke (Jonathan Pryce) who may well be the Irish mastermind behind the heist or maybe not, you will just have to find that out for yourselves.
Conclusion – Ronin Film Review
I’d forgotten just how great a film Ronin is. I mean I haven’t seen it in years, deliberately avoiding it when shown on television as they ruin films by showing them in the wrong aspect ratio and with poor quality print that look washed out and are full of dirt marks.
The car chases are only one of the outstanding parts of the film and they are brilliant. I don’t think they have been bettered by any other film. Bond and Bourne come close but I still feel Ronin does them better.
With an exceptional cast you would hope to produce something special and boy oh boy do they. If you haven’t seen it for a while I strongly recommend checking it out on this Blu-ray release.
Ronin Blu-ray Review
Let me first say the film has undergone a brand new 4K restoration so it should look good right. Wrong it looks FANTASTIC, it really does make watching this 1998 classic action film a joy. Put simply it’s never looked this good and really does make this version a must purchase.
The colours are perfect, the image is clean and sharp and there’s not a single speckle to be found anywhere through the 122 minutes.
Now on to the extras included and I was impressed by the whole package that includes a Quentin Tarantino look back at De Niro’s key films. Don’t worry there is also plenty on behind the scenes stuff to keep you everyone happy.
This is indeed an outstanding job Arrow Video, top marks!
- Director of Photography Robert Fraisse New Interview
- You Talkin’ to Me? (1994) De Niro featurette by Quentin Tarantino
- Ronin: Filming in the Fast Lane
- Through the Lens – Archive interview with Robert Fraisse
- The Driving of Ronin
- Natascha McElhone: An Actor’ Process
- Composing the Ronin Score
- In the Ronin Cutting Room
- Venice Film Festival Interviews
- Alternate Ending
- Theatrical Trailer
- Image Gallery
- Reversible Sleeve
On to my movie rating for Ronin (1998)
- Movie Rating: MUST SEE
- Blu-ray Picture: PERFECT
- Extras: EXCELLENT
Ronin (1998) is available now on Blu-ray priced £14.99 from Amazon (as of date of review)
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version
If you like my Ronin Blu-ray Review you may want to check out these films:
- Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
- Criminal (2016)
- Blood Father (2016)
- I Am Wrath (2016)
- Jack Reacher Never Go Back (2016)
- The New Centurions (1972)
- The Seven-Ups (1973)
- To Live And Die In LA (1985)
So that’s Ronin Blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:
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Ronin Blu-ray Review (1998)
Director(s): John Frankenheimer
Actor(s): Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård, Sean Bean, Jonathan Pryce
Genre: Action, Thriller
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
One of the best action films period and it now looks terrific on Blu-ray following a 4K restoration.