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