Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ronin

I watched this movie starring Robert DeNiro yestreen, a spy sort of thriller. Ronin, we learn in the opening captions, are disgraced samurai who become mercenaries to redeem themselves. In this movie, they are, or seem to be, freelance espionage types.

The movie begins with an inscrutable scene in which DeNiro observes a bar in France. He secretes his gun outside then enters. It turns out that this is a meeting of the ronin, being hired by the Irish woman in the bar. The gang, 6 strong including DeNiro and the Irish woman, repair to a flat, and I don’t know why DeNiro hid his gun, which he retrieved before heading out.

I must stress that I did not give this movie 100% attention. I did dishes and came and went. Tho we have the dv-r thing, I am old-fashioned enough that i do not pause or repeat. What with plot intricacies and actors mumbling in several languages, I missed a lot. but so what.

So far as I could glean, the job was to get this box from some people. I do not think it was ever revealed what exactly was in the box. An Irish group, and a Russian one, were interested.

The gang consisted of DeNiro, Jan Reno (an actor that I am fond of), I think the actor who played Boromir, a guy named Larry, and a crisply dressed fellow named Gregor. DeNiro appears to be experienced, but does not reveal many facts about himself.

The gang are to buy (I think) the box. It looks dicey, DeNiro smells a rat, and sure enough, it becomes a shoot out.  All survive but no box is gained. Boromir pukes afterwards, I guess from the excitement, which causes DeNiro and Reno to exchange glances. It occurred to me later that Boromir was no longer present in the film. Was he killed or kicked out? Je ne sais pas.

There’s more sneaky spy stuff, in which they surveil a guy with a box, who is well-guarded. For all their sneakiness, they end up just blasting away at the box people. This engenders a ridiculous car chase over hill and dale. Cars teeter on cliffsides and slam about in marketplaces where, naturally, a vegetable cart is upturned. this will not be the only dumb chase in the film.

The result of this car chase is that a lot of the enemy have bought it, and the box is there to be taken. The police are arriving so escape must be made. Gregor hands the box to DeNiro, who discovers that it is wet with paint. He tosses it, and it explodes. Gregor disappears and the rest escape.

Okay, so we know that Gregor double crossed the gang. And he has the box. Well, there are machinations. Gregor wants to sell to a Russian, but is pursued by the Irish woman’s Irish boss, as well as the gang.  All very muddled.

DeNiro gets shot in the gut and Reno takes him to a friend and the tow of them assist in removing the bullet. DeNiro explains each step in the operation. I understand that battlefield removal of bullets is a bad idea, that it is best to dress the wound and deal with it later, but what kind of drama is that?

The Russian who Gregor is trying to sell to has an ice skating champ for a girl friend (played by Katarina Witt, I believe). In a greater muddle, the two Irish have Gregor and want him to sell the box to the Russian, or something close to that. But Gregor seems to have . an ace in the hole. Katarina Witt is skating and Gregor has a sniper trained on her. this was supposed to force the Russians hand but he shoots Gregor, Witt is shot, and the Irish guy gets the box.

Oh wait, I neglected to mention the excitement of another car chase, with DeNiro and Reno chasing Gregor and the two Irish against traffic. There were a few moments that looked exactly like French Connection, hommage or theft, and a lot of pointless screech and swerve. And blah blah blah.

Well finally, the Irish guy gets shot, tho DeNiro and Reno do as well. Before that, DeNiro tells the Irish woman to get away, and also that he isn’t a disgraced CIA agent, he’s the real thing. Well!

Both DeNiro and Reno survive. DeNiro hopes that the Irish woman would return, but she does not. She gone. Reno and DeNiro go on with their lives. The End.

There was a force in this movie that wanted it to become Mission Impossible, I mean the tv show, with the gang of specialists gathered to do dire deeds and fun stuff like that. Another part wanted to be gritty. Kinda flopped in both respects.

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