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ronin

ronin (rō´nĬn), in Japanese history, masterless samurai. Ronin were retainers who were deprived of their place in the usual loyalty patterns of Japanese feudalism. The daimyo they had served might have died, been exiled, or become so poor that the samurai had to abandon his lord. Ronin became farmers, monks, soldiers of fortune, or even bandits. In demand in times of war, they were often a burden on society in times of peace. At their best, as in the story of the 47 Ronin depicted by Chikamatsu in his popular drama, they are a model of loyalty and self-sacrifice exemplifying bushido. In modern Japan, the term ronin is often given to high-school graduates who, having failed to pass college entrance exams, are preparing for another opportunity.

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Ronin

Ronin ★★½ 1998 (R)

What a cast! What a director! What a disappointment! Okay, so it's not that bad—the scenery's spectacular (the action takes place between Paris and Nice) and there are some amazing car chases. But, they go on much too long and the story's less than involving. Sam (De Niro) is a worldweary, possibly exspy who gets involved with several international players (including Reno, Skarsgard, and Bean) to do a job for tough Irish lass Deirdre (McElhone). She's fronting (for the violent Pryce) a project to retrieve a mysterious suitcase from some Russian bad guys. One of the best things the film's got going for it is the wary buddy relationship that builds between De Niro and Reno. Title refers to a Japanese legend concerning 47 masterless samurai. Richard Weisz is the pseudonym for a rewriting David Mamet. 118m/C VHS, DVD, UMD . Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Stellan Skarsgard, Natascha (Natasha) McElhone, Jonathan Pryce, Skipp (Robert L.) Sudduth, Michael (Michel) Lonsdale, Sean Bean, Jan Triska, Feodor Atkine, Bernard Bloch, Katarina Witt; D: John Frankenheimer; W: David Mamet, J.D. Zeik; C: Robert Fraisse; M: Elia Cmiral.

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