Monday, 31 January 2011


There is one aspect of the film which I have intentionally left out until now in that in the film the sister of the murdered girl is a Russian assassin. In the game She and her sister are the daughters/relatives of the Mafia boss and both are killed. Also in the game Max joins forces for a time with a Russian Mafia gang who are at war with the other Mafia organisation. It is the aspect of the Russian mafia which is the connecting link to my second film of the past three days, called Ronin.

A Rónin was a freelance Samurai, often an outcast because he not committed hara kiri when his master died. The concept of a man apart, a mercenary is the theme of the second action move of recent days directed by John Fankenheimer and distributed in 1998. Robert De Nero plays a main character along with Jean Reno. Sean Bean and Jonathan Pryce also have roles along with Natasha Skarsgárd.

She is a young Irish woman who is a Council member of the Republican Army although this is not disclosed to the special forces and intelligence operatives she hires for an action at the rate £5000 pounds a week for four weeks with a bonus of £20000 which means an expenditure of £160000 plus considerable expenditure on weapons and technical devices. The purpose of the action is to steal a comparatively small hand held metal box which is known to be conveyed in a convoy of vehicles full of armed professional security operatives, although what is in the box, when and where the action is to take place is to be revealed later.

The meeting of the men with Natascha takes place at a small bar on the outskirts of Paris where she works as a bar maid and after the men have been taken to a dormitory type room holding area she goes to meet her boss played by Jonathan Pryce and who we later learn is the a leader in the army and who is on the international wanted list. Sean Bean is exposed as someone without experience when the men go to collect the required arms from a dealer and realise it is a trap to get hold of the cash without giving any arms. He leaves so that there are only three left who complain that they will need at least two others.

This is refused because the IRA chief has told Natascha that the Russian mafia has arranged to purchase the case and they have to act quickly. They move to small hotel above a bar in Nice where they observe the villa where the box is held and plan to ambush the convoy on its way to meet the Russian buyers. How they know this is not disclosed.

There is a good ambush, gun fight and car chase with the usual thrills and spills and then one of the men, a Russian does a nifty switch and hands his colleagues a duplicate looking box filled with explosives intended to destroy the rest of the group and the man makes off with the box for the Russian Mafia who like the IRA sponsored team want the contents without making any payment. This aspect is not clear.

One of the trio of Rónin is shot in leg and is patched up and functions as a driver because of the disability. The trio continue to search for the box but with the objective of catching up with the Russian. Mercenaries used to acting only in their own interests now have a shared cause. They find out that there is a deal to sell the box using the Roman built arena at Arles as its backcloth. There is a gun fight and although the Russian escapes he is captured by the IRA Leader who has killed the already wounded Rónin in the car. Di Nero who has been shot in his body and Reno exit the arena to see Natascha leaving with the Russian and another, and the body of their comrade in arms dumped at the roadside. Now their objective has become revenge. Before this Di Nero is taken to a contact where his would is addressed.

The remaining Rónin then use contacts to successfully locate the whereabouts of the two IRA individuals and the Russian who has mailed the case to himself in Paris. When they locate the trio there is another car chase which ends with the vehicle with the trio falling from a motorway over pass to construction work below. The Russian escapes with the case and the two IRA officials are rescued by the construction workers, alive.

It is at this point that the Rónin works out that the case is similar to that used for ice skates and that a Russian company is performing in the French capital, We the audience already know this is so and that the lead Russian skater and Olympic Champion is the girl friend of the Russian behind the purchase. First the case is exchanged for cash but then the purchaser pulls a gun on the seller who warns that there is a sniper fixed on the ice skating girlfriend who will be killed if he does not signal he has the money and is on his way. He is shot and he skater is shot causing pandemonium in the stadium.

The IRA duo arrive and the man shoots the Russian for the case and then there is a gun fight with the two Rónin one of whom is wounded before killing the Irishman. They tell the girl to get away. There is a radio report of peace in Northern Ireland following the death if the IRA leader in Paris. The two remaining Rónin then are seen back in the cafe with Di Nero hoping to have contact with the IRA woman. When she does not arrive they depart their separate ways wishing each other well, but without knowing the contents of the case or caring. Now did I care about any of this? No. What is the point of the film? Well Rónin are Rónin, Security people are intentional mercenaries and criminals and terrorists lead a precarious life for money or some cause. One wonder how they get on with their parents and what kind of parents they would make!

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