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Ronin (1998)

A freelance former CIA agent who uses the codename Sam (Robert De Niro) is recruited alongside a team of fellow mercenaries to take part in an international plot to capture a briefcase from a gang of criminals.

However, after the mission is completed, one member of the crew decides to betray his equally ruthless comrades-in-arms – with inevitably explosive results.

This deliberately retro thriller from director John Frankenheimer resembles a 1970s European espionage caper in atmosphere and style, and bounds along at a cracking pace.

While the action is engrossing, there’s also a sobering political slant as Niro travels to Paris to join an international gang of criminals who have been hired by Irish revolutionary, Deirdre (Natascha McElhone) to steal the all-important suitcase.

Larry (Skipp Sudduth), another American, handles the driving; the British Spence (Sean Bean) calls the shots on weapons; Gregor (Stellan Skarsgard) – from the Eastern Bloc – excels at electronics; and Vincent (the always watchable Jean Reno) is the French coordinator.

No excuse is missed for a car chase in the Bullitt (1968) tradition, or the chance to add a menacing hard edge to the deliciously convoluted plot.

The word “ronin” is taken from a Japanese legend about 47 samurai who avenge the killing of their master and then commit mass suicide.

Robert De Niro
Jean Reno
Natascha McElhone
Stellan Skarsgård
Sean Bean
Skipp Sudduth
Michel Lonsdale
Jonathan Pryce
Féodor Atkine
Natacha Kirilova
Katarina Witt
Bernard Bloch
The “Boss”
The “Target”
Lionel Vitrant
Mikhi’s bodyguard
Cyril Prentout

John Frankenheimer