Ronin (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

In Paris, a small, nondescript bar is home to a very important meeting, as a group of government agents from around the world has been summoned. These men have seen better days, but each one has special skills that are valuable enough to warrant attention. The meeting was called by Dierdre (Natascha McElhone), an Irish woman who has a mission in mind, one she wishes to hire the men to fulfill. She has been contracted to hire the crew and oversee the mission however, the men are in the dark as far as their actual employer. The men also keep their fellow hires in the dark about things, using no full names and very little background information. The mission is to take possession of a case, an item that will not be given over without a fight. The case is held by armed, well trained professionals, so the mission will not be simple or safe. The plan is to set up an ambush, catch the men off guard and make off with the case in the process. With the team members now in place, they begin to prepare, but then a rival group becomes known. One of the men, Sam (Robert De Niro) steps up to lead the group as they race against the rivals, sooner than expected and in a rushed situation. With the plan rushed into motion, will the group be able to succeed? And what’s in the box?

This is a movie is perhaps best known for the car chases involved, including one that has to be considered one of the best ever captured on film. Not lame, quick edit chases with obvious closed circuits or CG rendered crashes either, this is some milestone work. These sequences are dynamic, realistic and provide thrills like few others, this is the place to come for incredible car chases, no doubt it. But while Ronin is indeed most famous for those chases, there is much more to the film than those sequences. Ronin is not deep per se, but it offers more depth than most action movies. So you will be asked to use your brain a little, but don’t expect complex stuff, just enough to push us a little. The film’s visuals are impressive and not just in the action driven scenes, thanks to the dark and harsh design on hand. The order of the day here is realism, this looks like real life and that adds immersion, which so many films lack. Another crucial element here is the cast, as without such a gifted group, Ronin would be just another action movie. Robert De Niro leads the ensemble, with Jean Reno, Sean Bean, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgard, and Natascha McElhone all on deck and in fine form.

Video: How does it look?

Ronin is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Sadly, this is not a brand new transfer, instead the old MPEG-2 one has been recycled once again. This is better than the DVD, but the margin isn’t that much. In addition, the colors have been scaled back in this version, which gives the visuals a subdued presence. Even so, colors are passable and contrast is solid, while detail is decent, but by no means impressive. As I said, this is better than the DVD releases, but not by much.

Audio: How does it sound?

A DTS HD 5.1 option offers a nice audio experience, with good presence and power. Of course, the main scenes that stand out are chase or action oriented, but that is to be expected. In those sequences, the surrounds pop to life and put us into the action, but I will say the presence isn’t that memorable. The scenes sound good, but not great. The rest of the elements just kind of sit there, with little in terms of life or presence. Even so, a solid soundtrack. This disc also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Korean.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes no bonus materials.

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