Nominee #11 - Ronin (1998)
A freelancing former U.S Intelligence Agent attempts to hunt down an obscure package that both the Irish and Russians have an eye on.
John Frankenheimer Writers:
This is one of a kind! Ronin, released in 1998, has just that right mix of ingredients which make it one of the truly great action movies of all time and certainly one of the greatest heist films! Directed by John Frankenheimer and written by John David Zeik and David Mamet, the film stars Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Stellan Skarsgård, Natascha McElhone, Sean Bean, and Jonathan Pryce; an enviable cast of veterans who played their roles with subtlety and class!
Ronin is probably best known for its extremely realistic car chase scenes all over Paris and Nice…probably among the very best Hollywood has produced!
The film follows a group of special operatives who have been hired to steal a mysterious briefcase. In a Montmartre warehouse, Irish operative Deirdre, American mercenaries Larry and Sam, French mercenary Vincent, English mercenary Spencer, and German mercenary Gregor meet with one mission in mind - to attack a convoy and steal a briefcase which the Russian mafia’s after.
The team ambushes the convoy and an exciting car chase ensues in Nice. After the incredible gunfight, Gregor goes rogue and steals the briefcase. He attempts to sell it to the Russians, but his contact tries to betray him. Gregor kills him, contacts Mikhi, the Russian mobster in charge of the deal, and they agree to meet again.
The team manages to track Gregor and corner him just when he’s meeting with Mikhi’s men. Gregor gets away but is captured by Seamus, who kills Larry and escapes with Deirdre. Sam gets shot in the middle of it and is then taken to Jean-Pierre’s villa, Vincent’s friend. Once Sam is recuperating, Vincent asks Jean-Pierre to help them find Gregor.
In Paris, Gregor leads Seamus and Deirdre to where the briefcase is, and Sam and Vincent pursue them. This gives place to another amazing car chase scene, but Gregor flees with the case. Then, Sam and Vincent track down the Russians, and they find out Mikhi’s girlfriend is figure-skater Natacha Kirilova.
During Natacha’s performance, Gregor and Mikhi meet, and this time Gregor threatens to have Natacha killed if he’s betrayed. Mikhi kills him and takes the briefcase but Sam and Vincent are there in time to see Seamus kill Mikhi and steal the case.
Sam finds Deirdre waiting in the getaway car, where he reveals to be a CIA agent and tells her to leave. He’s not after the briefcase, after all, his interest is Seamus. He drives away and Seamus is forced to go back to the arena, with Sam after him. Seamus manages to ambush Sam, but he’s killed by Vincent.
Vincent and Sam meet later, and a radio broadcast reveals that a peace agreement was reached by the British government and Sinn Féin, partially as a result of Seamus’ death.
A sophisticated script within a fairly plane storyline, superb direction, second unit sequences and of course the amazing chases make this an absolute adrenalin rush guaranteed!