Director John Frankenheimer's last theatrical film, "RONIN," is finally available on blu-ray. "RONIN" may actually be the director's best film, and at the very least, as good as the best of Frankenheimer's prolific achievements. Robert DeNiro and Jean Reno star in this complex, intelligent, daring film, The plot revolves around a group of highly skilled men, hired by a beautiful woman to capture a mysterious suitcase. What's inside the suitcase, serves the story in the same way that the object did in "PULP FICTION," and with an equal lack of explanation. This doesn't stop the film from being suspenseful and typically brilliant. David Mamet's best script is filled with intrigue, actually "believable" dialogue and reflection. The direction, well, one must see for themselves, why it's going to be hard to touch what Frankenheimer achieves in "RONIN." Except for the obligatory, fish-cart being toppled in the middle of a car chase, nothing here feels standard. The director isn't afraid to make the audience have to think, and "RONIN" is one of the tightest, well-paced films of the past 12 years. While "BULLIT" and "FRENCH CONNECTION" are arguably best known for their car chase scenes, they're pedestrian compared to what is achieved here! For those who've never seen "RONIN," they're in for a great experience. For those who already have, they're still in for a great experience, due to the generally impressive quality of the blu-ray.
FOX/MGM has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-2 blu-ray. While not up there in quality as the best FOX blu-ray releases, "RONIN" still looks pretty damned good. In comparison to a recent satellite HD 1080i presentation, colors are more stable and while there are still some soft spots, detail is typically quite good. There are a surprising amount of scenes wherein the image falls flat, but, for the most part, depth is excellent. "RONIN" feels a bit disappointing to this reviewer, only due to believing its long delay after an initial announcement more than a year ago, made it hopeful that this presentation would be flawless. It's not, but it is better than any other presentation thus far, and notably better than some recent blu-ray releases.
FOX/MGM has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. It's a great mix, even if the first 30 minutes appears uneven in dynamic range and surround involvement. The early portion of the film provides effects that feel semi-restrained and dialogue that's partially unbalanced. However, as the film progresses, these problems fade away and one of the most immersive listening experiences on blu-ray begins to unfold! The car chases, along with scenes of tense calculations and explosions, make this a genuinely fun experience.
Trailers for four films are provided in full HD.