If you’ve seen Ronin, you know it’s one hell of a ride, but what did you learn from it?
If you haven’t seen Ronin, it’s an epic caper/heist flick about a group of heavily-armed mercenaries assembled by mysterious, unknown parties to steal a metal briefcase from other heavily-armed, mysterious, unknown parties. Over the course of about two hours, you’ll see two of the most amazing car chases of all time, multiple double-crosses, and plenty of gunplay, peppered with some of the most useful dialog to ever come out of Hollywood.
Consider the preview:
Now, on to the wisdom of Sam, or what I like to call “Roninisms.”
The team gets off to a rough start, but soon we see Sam going over the plans – how they’re going to get the case from several well-armed men intent on preventing them from doing so – and Dierdre points out she’s glad to see him reviewing their problem.
Sam: Either you’re part of the problem, you’re part of the solution, or you’re just part of the landscape.
I really like this one. It’s a reminder that, if I’m not working on solving the problem, the best I can hope to be is some kind of wallflower. Of the three options, only one is really desirable. Any fool can bitch about problems, but how does that solve the problem? It doesn’t. And who wants to be a random, unimportant piece of scenery? Part of the problem, part of the solution, part of the landscape.
Keep your word!
During a particularly shady arms deal under a bridge, Sam suspects an ambush and gives Vincent some advice on what to do if things go wrong. When they do go wrong, Sam’s advice saves Vincent’s life. Now they sit in a car and Vincent asks how he knew there was going to be an ambush.
Sam: Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt. That’s the first thing they teach you.
Am I going to be able to get this project done on-time/on-budget? Should I call that customer to deliver the less-than-good news today or tomorrow? Can I really do this on my own? These are doubts. Whenever there is doubt, there is no doubt. Now is the time to let stakeholders know our concerns, to call our customer before he has to call us, to see about getting a little help just in case. That’s the first thing they teach you. Who taught you? I don’t remember. That’s the second thing they teach you.
Know what you’re worth!
Sam knows what he needs to know in order to get achieve the objective (get the case). When Dierdre either can’t or won’t give him what he needs to live up to his end of the deal, Sam shuts her right down.
Sam: What’s in the case?
Deirdre: That isn’t necessary.
Sam: Is it heavy, is it explosive, is it chained to some unlucky bloke’s wrist? Are we gonna have to chop it off?
Deirdre: All right. But I am not under any obligation to let you know…
Sam: If not, the price has gotta go up. I’ll get you the case, but the price has gotta go up. If it’s gonna be a amateur night, I want a hundred thousand dollars. I want it up front. I want it in a bank account. I want another $100,000 when you get the case.
Considering the team agreed to something like $20,000 total compensation when they were originally hired, this is a pretty ballsy move, but we’ve all found ourselves in situations where we’re thinking, “This isn’t what I signed on for.” Like the third time we showed up at that local newbie’s house to find out his idea of “help” was us doing the work for him. We’ve got to be true to our word, but that doesn’t mean being taken advantage of. Each of us only has so much time, so if it’s gonna be amateur night, make sure it’s worth your while.
So what was in the case?
We’re not saying. Watch the movie and find out. There are plenty more Roninisms, too. For starters, there’s the definition of “Ronin,” an easy way to tell the difference between labor and management, and you might find it worthwhile to know the color of the boathouse at Hereford. Even if you’ve seen Ronin a hundred times, if you hadn’t noticed the Wisdom of Sam before, it’s worth firing up the DVD player one more time.
Vincent: No questions, no answers. That’s the business we’re in. You accept it and move on. Maybe that’s lesson number three.
The Wisdom of YOU.
Got a favorite Roninism? Got a favorite line from some other movie that means something to you? We want to know what it is.
Leave us a comment!