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September 30, 1998 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-30

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, ~r Ouiance AR Torww In oDaily Arts:
Richard and Margot Jerrard will read from their "Grad School U This week's edition of Weekend, etc., features an in-depth
Handbook" tonight at Borders Books and Music. The duo will dis- look at Shaman Drum and its role as an independent book-
cuss the book,, and also give tips on finding the right program for store on campus.
those seeking a career in graduate studies. The discussion begins
at 7 p.m., and admission is free.
September 30, 1998

Excess details kill'Ronin'

By Aaron Rich
Daily Arts Writer
In Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," part of the mys-
tique surrounding the now-infamous briefcase stems from
the curious fact that the case is in the possession of four
know-nothing kids. This twist is subtle, but central to set-
ting up our interest and allegiance.
John Frankenheimer attempts to create a similar point
of intrigue in "Ronin"-- another film about a case. There
are no fast-talking wise-guys in this film, no daring edit-
ing and no memorable soundtrack. The luggage is perhaps
more important in this film, but the director missed one
point. We do not care at all about this package.
The story of "Ronin" is indirectly drawn from Japanese
feudal legend - or that is what the filmmakers would
have us believe. As the story goes, the ronin were samu-
rai who had been disgraced by the deaths of their masters.
These warriors were forced to wander the world as
swordsman free-agents, looking for jobs that would help
regain their respect.
In modern-day France, a man known simply as Sam
(Robert DeNiro) is supposedly one of these disgraced
fighters. The ex-CIA agent is thrown into a group of inter-
national intelligence wizards who are all being paid by an
elusive-but-powerful-boss, Seamus (Jonathan Pryce), to
find a briefcase with unknown contents. Sam and his
French cohort Vincent (Jean Reno) are hell-bent on get-
ting the case and smashing up a few cars in the
prThe plot is not too new
in fact it seems like a
mix of a few Hitchcock
Ronin films with a bit of
"Mission: Impossible"
** thrown in. On top of the trite
At Briarwood scenano, the writing fea-
and Showcase ures one-liners seemingly
cut out of old
Schwarzenegger muscle
movies. Even DeNiro cannot
make these lines come alive.
It becomes clear in the
middle of the film that the
only reason why the setting is
France is to give believability to ridiculously off-the-
wall plot devices. Most notable in this group of not-so-
clever sequences are the two smash-up car chases. Sam
and his buddies continually find themselves involved in
high-speed pursuit a la "Bullitt" and "The French
These iie exciting, however, afterthe first one -which
goes on for nearly 10 minutes -a second is not necessary

and seems over-choreographed. Frankenheimer must have
spent all his budget on new, black European cars, as
nobody seems to escape these races without a few fenders
dented. The traffic cops in France are apparently sipping
coffee in the cafes.
The international scope of the plot brings out some of
the more ridiculous features of the film. Jonathan Pryce
plays Seamus, the Irish terrorist, who's accent jumps from
Irish brogue to English lilt in a matter of seconds. Seamus
hires Deirdre, played by Natascha McElhone - seeming-
ly Jane Seymour on testosterone - to lead the thugs
around and, by all means, stop the Russians (those pesky
and perennial baddies) from getting the case.
The Russians are represented by, of all silly personages,
Katarina Witt's skating coach. Witt is by far the most con-
vincing actor in the film playing the role of international
ice skater extraordinaire perfectly.
Just when we think that the film will end - seeing as
most of the bad guy are dead or seem to be dead - the.
story continues for another half-hour. This 30 minutes is
not spent explaining Japanese culture, either. Most of it is
just a continuation of the same hackneyed action scenes.
This is not to say that all the action is bad; most of it is fun,
but they are unbelievably out of the realm of plausibility.
"Ronin" is a lesson in excess. There are too many car
wrecks, too many black-and-white bad guys and too many
peripheral characters. At the same time, it is
clear that not enough effort was spent on the
script, which is not always neces-
sary in a big action flick, but
unmistakably hinders
this film.

rock the
By Adlin Rosi
Daily Arts Writer
Korn's "Fantily Values" tour pack-
age makes its Michigan appearance
today at the Palace. With the likes of
Korn, Rammstein and Ice Cube domi-
nating the stage with dreadlocks, fire
and original gangsta attitude, concert-
goers are all set for a wealth of sights
and sounds. Hopefully, however, all
the main stage activities will not dis-
tract people from another terrific per-
former who will be playing between
sets of these heavy hitters - DeeJay
This acclaimed Brooklyn-born D.J.,
who now lives in England, will hype
things up before and after bands play.
"I use a mike to hype out," DeeJay
Punk-Roc said. "I use a little hip-hop,
a little drum and bass, break beats,
free style old school style, a little tech-
no, a little bit of everything really and
I mix it all up in the process. I basi-
cally want people to have a good time.
I'm not trying to impress the D.Js or
nothing like that. I'm not trying to
impress the people who are trying to'
analyze anything, its all about helping
everybody have a good time," he said.
"I think I fit in very loosely actual-
ly. I provide a little contrast to the rest
of the show because, musically, when
I play on a set I play a bit of every-
thing, so it fits in nicely. I'm there to
fire things up for everyone. I'm the
one who gets to get the crowd going, I
like that."
Not since Anthrax went on tour
with Public Enemy has a group with
as much heavy music stature as Korn
been ambitious enough to take such a
diverse group of musicians out on the
road as a single show. (Sorry,
Lollapalooza and Warped does not
count because they are not bands.)
"It's nice to see someone throwing
together things like this, it makes a
nice change than it just being pure
rock or pure hip-hop or pure this or
pure that," Punk-Roc said. "It's break-
ing down a lot of barriers. And I think
what your going to do in the end is
touch a much wider audience."
The musical diversity and cohesion
according to the D.J does not just
occur on stage either. As he explained,
"I don't think that anyone has got that

DeeJay Punk-Roc will be among the performers at the Family Values concert
tonight at the Palace. Korn will be headlining the show.

ego attitude going on here. You know,
initially you expect that kind of thing
to be there, but as time goes on you
realize that it's not. I'm not just saying
that I get along with everybody
becass I really do!"
While cross genre music festivals
like Family Values and Lollapalooza
are still a relatively new and unusual
occurrence, it is a frequent thing in
"I think maybe
its because
- am.ly Europeans travel
around Europe a
Values Tour lot more. Where
The Palace as most people in
Tonight at 6 p.m. the U.S., you
know most of
them don't even
get to go out of
their state too
much. They just
end up staying
and growing up
in just their own
neighborhood and unintentionally end
up growing up with views and every-
thing else that's much more narrow.
While in Europe, people have easier
access if they want to go out to
France, to Spain, to Germany, to go to
all these places. And people are doing
things everywhere, different cultures,
their different cultures and every-
thing." Punk-Roc said.
He continued to say that Americans
are less cultured as their European
counterparts. "Where as in the US this

place is so big and its harder to get
around that people just tend to stay
right home. I know a lot of people that
never been on a plane before. I used to
be the same way, that's why I can say
that. I used to think they must be
doing the same thing everywhere else,
it's not until you get out there that you
realize that people do different things
everywhere else all over the world and
some of it is really nice.:
Aside from the terrific range of
musicians playing together on this
tour, Dee Jay Punk-Roc is also enjoy-
ing the partying that follows touring
musicians. "It's nice you know, every-
one gets to get together, it gets all the
bands together and you get to say
something other than just 'hello.' It's
just a blast for all. I enjoy being here
and everyone has been really nice to
me. i went and partied with the boys
in Rammstein the other night. Those
guys are just party animals. I'm also
sharing a bus with Orgy, so I get to
hang out with those guys a lot as well.
We get along fine, no problems there
at all, " Punk-Roc said.
With the diverse bands on the roster
fans of each style will have treat for
themselves at the show. Concert-goers
also look set to have a terrific time
hanging out with music fans of other
genres. As Dee Jay Punk-Roe
describes the response of the concert-
goers to his set and all the other
groups playing, "The crowd has been
really good. The response gets
stronger and stronger each night!"

Courtesy oftUawed Arts
Robert DeNiro stars as Sam in the new John
Frankenhelmer thriller, "Ronn."


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