Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Dude, it's just like Ronin

A top 10 movie for one of us here at BOBW is Ronin, with as fine a collection of action sequences as you'll ever see. We have wondered why they filmed on location in France, other than providing a nice trip for the stars and working in the home-from-home for the director John Frankenheimer. One theory of ours is that there's a running joke in the movie concerning how oblivious the characters are to the tourist-centric venues for their car chases and shoot-outs: the banks of the Seine, the tunnel where Princess Di was killed, the cities and towns in Provence (none of them seem to have heard of Arles). But maybe it's because that type of thing really happens in France.

Witness the latest in a string of spectacular prison breakouts. Previous breakouts had involved the old trick of the helicopter hovering over the prison yard at the right time. Prison authorities thought they had dealt with that one by putting nets over the yards. However, the jail busters predictably responded to this by saying (OK, I'm extrapolating a bit): All right, we're taking it up a notch (as George said to Susan's parents en route to the Hamptons) -- they cut through the net.

In fact, an escape a few weeks ago was even closer to the Ronin MO: no helicopter, just rocket launchers used to blast into the prison, and then explosives passed to the escapee so that he could blast his way out of his cell. His liberators knew exactly where he'd be because he had gotten himself delibately placed in solitary confinement a few days beforehand -- and that's always in the same place. I think the lads in the movie would have been impressed.