->'''Jean-Pierre:''' The warrior code, the delight in the battle, you understand that, yes? But also something more. You understand there is something outside yourself that has to be served. And when that need is gone--when belief has died--what are you? A man without a master?\\
'''Sam:''' Right now, I'm a man without a paycheck.

In the aftermath of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar, many secret agents felt unnecessary or redundant. Even if the world wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, the way they worked just didn't seem to apply anymore. This film deals with some of these people, who are compared to {{Ronin}}, the unemployed {{Samurai}} of old Japan.

The plot centers around some mercenaries hired to steal [[MacGuffin a metal suitcase]], and the deals and double crosses to get whatever is inside it. Apparently it is valuable enough to cause lots of shootouts and memorable car chases.

Directed by Creator/JohnFrankenheimer, and has Creator/RobertDeNiro heading a cast of notable character actors, such as Creator/JeanReno, Creator/SeanBean, Creator/NataschaMcElhone, Creator/JonathanPryce, and Creator/StellanSkarsgard. The finished film was partially or completely written by Creator/DavidMamet depending on who you ask (original and credited screenwriter [=J.D.=] Zeik and others close to the production say Mamet only did some fleshing out of [=DeNiro=]'s character, Frankenheimer says the script is all Mamet).

!! ''Ronin'' contains examples of:

* ActionGirl: Dierdre, who is heavily involved in the firefight in Nice, then hurling the BMW M5 around the streets of Paris.
* ActionFilmQuietDramaScene: The scene between Sam and Jean-Pierre.
* TheAllegedExpert: Spence is supposedly a former [=SAS=] trooper turned mercenary. He's actually [[PhonyVeteran a fraud]].
* BluffTheImpostor: When Sam suspects one of his colleagues isn't telling the truth about his background, he tests him with questions like [[spoiler:"What's the colour of the boathouse at Hereford?" Sam doesn't know either, but he knows that a real SAS veteran wouldn't have been so flustered by the question that Sam could get the drop on him.]]
** Sam tests every one of his newly-met colleagues to gauge their skills [[spoiler:and to figure out which ones don't belong... and who might be [[TheMole spying]] for the persons who hired them.]]
* BriefcaseFullOfMoney: With the old "paper underneath the real bills" trick.
* BulletsDoNotWorkThatWay: After a gunfight, Sam reveals that a bullet went through his kevlar because the "smartass sprayed Teflon on his bullets." Teflon isn't what makes a bullet [[ArmorPiercingAttack armor piercing]]. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teflon-coated_bullet It's just a coating to protect the inside of the barrel on the bullet's way out of the gun.]]
* TheCameo: Olympic figure skater Katarina Witt as skater Natacha Kirilova.
** Porn star RonJeremy in a DeletedScene (cut because a lot of people in previews knew who he was, and it was too jarring).
* {{The Caper}}: The first part of the movie.
* ChaseScene: The car chases are some of the most praised by action buffs.
* ChekhovsGun: A coffee cup.
* CoolGun: Gregor's silenced SniperPistol during the Jeep/playground scene has more mass in attachments than in actual weapon.
* EveryCarIsAPinto: Several cars crash and explode.
* FakeoutMakeout
* FemmeFatale: Dierdre.
* UsefulNotes/The47Ronin: Described in-film by a history buff who tries to identify Sam as a ronin in spirit. Sam rejects the comparison [[spoiler:but it turns out he's still a 'samurai']].
* FormerRegimePersonnel
* GenreThrowback: The film is essentially a classic 1970's era heist film, but made and set in the late 1990's.
* TheGhost: The [[PersonWithTheClothing man in the wheelchair]], who put together the recruits but is never shown.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Sam and Vincent.
* HollywoodTactics: Spence's plan to capture the briefcase. Sam calls him out on it.
* KillTheCutie: [[spoiler:Natacha]]
* MeaningfulEcho: Sam claims the man he's talking to about triangulating a phone number is a friend from high school. Obviously it isn't true, as Vincent realises, but he doesn't actually care and repeats the claim about his own friend later on. His refusal to knock him out suggests Vincent may have been telling the truth though.
** Creator/MichaelLonsdale appears as a colleague of Reno's [[spoiler:who helps with Sam's surgery after a shoot-out]], and who happens to be a fan of UsefulNotes/The47Ronin legend.
* TheLancer: Vincent, to Sam's more heroic protagonist.
* MacGuffin: The case, the contents of which are never revealed. Sam isn't pleased at all when Dierdre refuses to give any details on what's in the case ("is it heavy, is it explosive?") and demands that if it's "amateur night," they're all going to have to be paid much, much more. [[spoiler:Turns out in the end that Sam wasn't even interested in the case. He was after Dierdre's boss Seamus, [[UsefulNotes/TheTroubles an Irish terrorist leader who was getting in the way of peace talks]], and the case was just a way to get him into the open.]]
* TheMafiya
* MilesGloriosus: Spence is quite quickly revealed to be this.
* TheMole: [[spoiler: Sam never left the CIA.]]
* NoisyNature: Just an hour into the film, which takes place in central France, we get an aerial view of a hilly Mediterranean countryside, and the stereotypical "eagle cry" of the Red-tailed Hawk, which is from North America.
* OhCrap: [[spoiler: The look on Gregor's face when he realizes the Russians are perfectly willing to let Natacha die. That look doesn't last long.]]
* {{Oireland}}: Natascha [=McElhone=]'s accent as Dierdre isn't like any real Irish one.
* PrettyInMink: Natacha (the skater) wears a mink coat in her first scene. [[spoiler: She gets killed, but it's because her {{Jerkass}} friend lets her die.]]
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: One is inflicted upon [[spoiler:Gregor]].
* ProveIAmNotBluffing: Gregor shoots at a random child in a playground just to make the point that he's a conscienceless killer who shouldn't be doublecrossed. The man he is dealing with [[EvenEvilHasStandards frantically assures him that the demonstration will not be necessary,]] and pushes away his hand so the bullet misses.
* PutOnABus: [[spoiler:Spence (Sean Bean) once Sam reveals that Spence was lying about his background.]]
* TheReveal: [[spoiler: "I never left."]]
* RogueAgent: The characters are former UsefulNotes/ColdWar spies and special forces operatives working as mercenaries, [[spoiler:but at least one--and possibly others--are still secretly working for their own governments.]] Likewise the terrorist Seamus is described by the IRA as a 'rogue breakaway operative' [[spoiler:after he fails to get his hands on the mysterious suitcase]].
* SelfSurgery: Done by [[spoiler: Sam]]. For his credit, he mostly acted as an instructor and asked if they now manage to stitch him before passing out. [[spoiler: And with [[TheReveal the final reveal]] we learn he did it only [[{{Determinator}} to uphold the masquerade]] ]].
* TerseTalker: The movie is a masterclass on laconic dialogue. Major plot twists that other movies would build whole scenes around are delivered in single, brief sentences ([[spoiler: "I never left."]]) and every piece of exposition is given in cryptic bursts of [[NoodleIncident Noodle Incidence]] ("Vienna."). The only exception is a brief news report at the very end, which makes sense: it's not meant for the shadowy world of spies the movie inhabits.
* TitleDrop: The doctor has a bunch of tiny samurai figurines set up to depict the story of UsefulNotes/The47Ronin. He and Sam have a conversation comparing the mercenaries to {{ronin}}.
* ToyotaTripwire: Happens to Gregor in Arles.
* TheUnfettered: [[spoiler:Gregor.]] Not deranged, but willing to kill a little girl he doesn't know to demonstrate willingness to kill someone he does. Also arranges to have another innocent murdered if he dies during the climax. [[spoiler: He does, and so do they.]] Barely emotes throughout the whole film.
* {{Unishment}}: Once Spence is outed as a faker, he's simply told to take a hike and given a payoff to keep his mouth shut. Considering [[ChronicallyKilledActor what usually happens to characters played by Sean Bean]], it's a pretty good deal even without the hush money.
* TheUnreveal: Whatever is in the case, it might as well belong to [[Film/PulpFiction Marcellus Wallace]]. This irritates Sam, since knowing if it was heavy, explosive, fragile, or whatever would be helpful in getting it [[spoiler:(and his CIA handlers presumably do want to know its contents)]]. He thus demands that the fee goes up.
* WeHaveToGetTheBulletOut: Sam catches a bullet and has some impromptu surgery at the hideout.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The fate of Dierdre. [[spoiler:A DeletedScene at the end would have shown her getting caught and killed by her former IRA partners.]]
** Whatever happens to [[spoiler:Spence. Most action films made during this era would have a character that disappeared early on (especially a well-known actor like Sean Bean) [[ChekhovsGunman return during the pivotal]] FinalBattle. He doesn't]].
* WhyDontYaJustShootHim: Sergei and [[spoiler:Seamus]] both fall for this, though it's not as blatant as normal.
* WhyWeAreBummedCommunismFell