Ronin (1997) Blu-ray Review

By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

If you are a fan of the movie, De Niro or Frankenheimer then you will want to consider purchasing this latest version of Ronin.  It’s very good quality and gives you extra “treats” you haven’t gotten before.  If you haven’t ever seen the film, it’s worth watching.

A Ronin is described as a wandering samurai in feudal Japan who had no lord or master.  They frequently became mercenaries who killed others for money or who did jobs for hire that other people wouldn't consider attempting.  In 1998, Robert De Niro (Raging Bull) starred in a film called Ronin, however, there were no traditional Samurai in the film.  Instead, there were five men hired to retrieve a package by any means necessary.  The result was an action thriller with one of the best car chase scenes of all time on film.

Sam (De Niro) is an ex-CIA agent who gets involved with a team of individuals who are hired to steal a large metal box from some shady individuals.  The box supposedly has some extremely important information that both the Russians and the Irish want.  The latter, a rogue group not working for the Irish government and led by Seamus O'Rourke (Jonathan Pryce; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), hire these mercenaries and give them details on a "need to know" basis.  The other members of this group include Frenchman Vincent (Jean Reno; The Professional), Russian Gregor (Stellan Skarsgard; Thor), Englishman Spence (Sean Bean; Game of Thrones), and Larry (Skip Sudduth; Third Watch), also an American.  Their Irish contact is Deirdre (Natascha Mc Elhorne; Designated Survivor).

From the beginning, things seem a little "off".  Deirdre won't give them many details and Spence seemingly isn't who he says he is; however, by the end of the film, we realize most of them aren't. Everything goes according to plan until the end when Gregor double crosses them all and steals the case.  The movie then becomes a chase to find Gregor and get the case before he sells it to the Russians.  Along the way, there is a backstabbing and manipulation and in the end, the bad guys lose and the twist makes it all worthwhile.

This film has several things going for it including Director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate), the script, the action sequences and the cast.  The latter is a collection of stellar actors who give their best.  De Niro is a living legend and doesn't seem to have a bad performance.  His Sam is tough and intelligent and is a master manipulator himself.  Skarsgard is excellent as the Russian backstabber and Reno is a strong side kick to De Niro.  Pryce also is a stand out among a truly talented cast.

The direction is fairly amazing and impressive.  The now famous car chase scene was masterfully planned and executed and the hard work seems to have paid off.  Look up any list of the best movie car chases of all time and this one is sure to be on it.  Frankenheimer brilliantly helmed this ensemble cast for a terrific outcome. Of course the MacGuffin in the room – the case and its contents – is rather frustrating and left me somewhat unfulfilled.

The Special Edition Blu-ray from Arrow Video has been upgraded to 1080p quality with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.  While the picture is stronger than previous releases, there are moments that are grainy and sometimes the black hues are a little muddy.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is well done without any discernable noise. However, the new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced for this release was supervised and approved by the director of photography Robert Fraisse making it the best quality version of the film out there to date.

The package does come with numerous extras besides just the directorial audio commentary.  There are features which include a new interview with the cinematographer, an alternate ending, a Quentin Tarantino commentary about De Niro, photo gallery, theatrical trailer and archival features with over two hours of behind the scenes insight.  All are enjoyable and interesting.  There is also a nice insert booklet with pictures, an essay and technical specifications regarding the transfer.

If you are a fan of the movie, De Niro or Frankenheimer then you will want to consider purchasing this latest version of the Blu-ray.  It's very good quality and gives you extra "treats" you haven't gotten before.  If you haven't ever seen the film, it's worth watching.

Grade: B+

Cast:
Directed By:
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 122 minutes
Distributed By: United Artists

Stream from Amazon Prime
Watch
Purchase Ronin from the iTunes store.
Watch
Watch / Stream on Hulu
Watch
Watch
Watch
Watch on Apple TV
Watch
Stream on Vudu / Fandango
Watch

For more information about Ronin visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

Ronin images are courtesy of United Artists. All Rights Reserved.


FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.




SPONSORED LINKS

Today's Digital HD DealsView All

Moonrise Kingdom
Moonrise Kingdom
WAS: $14.99
NOW: $9.99
Kick-Ass
Kick-Ass
WAS: $13.99
NOW: $12.99
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Journey to the Center of the Earth
WAS: $14.99
NOW: $12.99


Latest ReviewsView All

Night Swim
Physical Media: Blu-ray Review
Apr 09, 2024 EST
First Blood | Wal-Mart Exclusive SteelBook
Physical Media: 4K UHD Review
Apr 08, 2024 EST
Cutthroat Island | Wal-Mart Exclusive SteelBook
Physical Media: 4K UHD Review
Apr 02, 2024 EST