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Ronin

R 1998 | Action
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There are two kinds of car chases in movies these days: the kind where cars jump helicopters or the occasional truck-turned-robot, and the kind where regular men swerve regular cars at nail-biting, breakneck speeds. Ronin deals in nail-biters. Legendary director John Frankenheimer helms a taut action/adventure tale of mercenaries brought together in search of a mysterious briefcase. And when those guns-for-hire happen to be the likes of Robert De Niro and Jean Reno, you know you're in for a show.

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Top 10 Fun Facts

  1. The title of the film comes from the Japanese term for a samurai without a master. Apparently Wandering Freelance Sword Guy didn't have the same ring to it.
  2. James Bond junkies will recognize three of Robert De Niro's co-stars as men who dared to take on 007: Sean Bean in GoldenEye, Michael Lonsdale in Moonraker and Jonathan Pryce in Tomorrow Never Dies. Surprisingly, no shark tanks, switchblade shoes or vats of acid were employed during the filming of Ronin.
  3. Ronin by the numbers: 80 automobiles were destroyed during filming; car chase scenes required up to 300 stunt drivers; 2,000 extras were used in the final scene at the Paris Zenith. That adds up to a very, very long line at the craft services table. Not to mention the DMV.
  4. There's professional, and then there's professional: one of those 300 stunt drivers was retired Formula 1 driver Jean-Pierre Jarier.
  5. Not to be outdone by Mr. Fancy-Pants Grand Prix Racing Pedigree, actor Skip Sudduth performed almost all of his own stunt driving.
  6. For the less daring among the cast, right-hand British cars were used with phony steering wheels installed on the "driver's" side. Stunt drivers controlled the cars from the shotgun position, while Robert De Niro and Natasha McElhone acted their way through the ultimate theme park ride.
  7. In case you're making a pilgrimage to Paris to hunt down all your favorite locations from the film, take note that the "Bar Montmartre" in the opening scenes is actually The Blue Sky Restaurant on Rue des Trois Frères. Update your travel itinerary accordingly.
  8. The ill-fated figure skater is played by none other than two-time Olympic gold medalist Katarina Witt. Always nice to see someone's triple salchow skills put to good use.
  9. Porn legend Ron Jeremy had a small cameo as a Parisian fishmonger, but was removed from the final cut of the film after test audiences tittered when they recognized him. Don't feel bad for The Hedgehog, though-surely it wasn't his first (or last) time playing a fishmonger.
  10. Screenwriter David Mamet wanted sole writing credit on the film after completely reworking J. D. Zeik's story. When told he would have to share credit with Zeik, Mamet opted to use the pseudonym "Richard Weisz" instead. In Hollywood parlance, that's called taking your ball and going home.