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...... Oh hold on they`re not the peace loving pacifists of the provisional
IRA they`re a mad mental IRA splinter group that this film is at pains to
point out have nothing to do with the " nice terrorists " who murdered over
1800 people in the 70s 80s and 90s . To be fair to the film adaption of
PATRIOT GAMES the source novel suffers even worse from this objectionable
point where the bad guys are not the IRA but a distinct breakaway
organisation called the Ulster Liberation Army . But this is still a naive
film . As far as I know the SAS don`t go around illegally wiping out
terrorist training camps ( If only they did ) and once again we see an IRA
terrorist played by an uberhunk . This happens with disturbing regularity in
movies: Sean Bean , Pierce Brosnan , Richard Gere , Brad Pitt all have
played Irish terrorists . Listen next time someone makes a film about the
IRA ( Which I hope will be never ) can we see a short balding actor like
Danny Devito or Joe Pesci take on the role ?
Politics aside I still don`t think much of PATRIOT GAMES . It`s just one of those average generic revenge thrillers that doesn`t have to feature IRA terrorists , or terrorists of any ilk. If the hero was walking past a bank and stopped an armed robbery , or walked past a drugs bust and shot one of the drug dealers you could have a film with more or less the same plot and structure - and a lot more credibility
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. It`s also a poor excuse of an action film
Patriot Games is a very suspenseful movie with great acting. This is
the second Tom Clancy novel adapted to the big screen after the Hunt
for Red October. I think that this movie is better than Red October.
However, I heard Clancy didn't think so.
In this film, Jack Ryan and his family are in London. Ryan happens to be in the area where Irish terrorists attempt to kill the Lord Holmes. After Ryan saves Holmes, he makes himself and his family targets to the Irish. Will Ryan be able to protect his family?
The acting is very good. It's great they were able to get Harrison Ford. He's a fantastic actor. Sean Bean plays a wonderful villain. I was happy to see Richard Harris and Samuel L. Jackson.
Overall, this is a fun, thrilling movie. I rate this film 9/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The 1990's saw the addition of orbital satellites, laser guided bombs,
fibre optic cameras, night vision goggles, personal computers, state of
the art hardware, and more overtly militaristic themes to the
One of the best of these films, which tended to coincide with the first Gulf War and the fall of the Soviet Union, was "Patriot Games", directed by Phillip Noyce with a certain classiness. The plot is a generic revenge tale, but it takes place within a world that is genuinely interesting: CIA conferences, Pentagon back-rooms, high-tech gear, telephone calls from the president etc. Building on the work of political thriller directors like Costa Gavras, Pakula, Frankenheimer, John Schlesinger and Fred Zinnemann, and mainstream novelists like Michael Crichton and Frederick Forsyth in the 70s and Tom Clancy in the 80s, an entire vocabulary was being added to here.
Beyond the classy direction and the cool gear on display (the film has 3 good action sequences one involving a CIA raid viewed entirely through a spy satellite- a big deal back in 1992), "Patriot Games" is mildly interesting for a couple other reasons. This is another in a long line of movies in which Harrison Ford finds himself playing a meek everyman who bravely protect his family, and it's funny to see the film's scriptwriters struggling to be politically correct. They want IRA bad guys, but they don't actually want to offend the IRA, so they opt instead for an Irish bad guy who is "too hardcore for even the IRA". End result: writers able to serve up easy cartoon villains whilst also placating their conscience.
More interesting is the way all these films popped up during the First Gulf War. Like an unconscious display of American prowess, in the form of super advanced technology and "all seeing" surveillance gear, "Patriot Games" might as well have been an advertisement for the military industrial complex and the long reaching arm of Uncle Sam.
In terms of flaws, the film has two: at times the villains are pure cartoon and the film's ending features a silly action scene on a boat, hastily tacked on by nervous studio heads. A better director would have extended the action sequence in the house (the film's climax features a battle in a CIA safe house) and omitted the boat sequence entirely.
Released 2 years before "Patriot Games", "The Hunt For Red October" trades Gulf War muscle flexing for post Cold War, pro Soviet/American bridge building. But though it pretends to be about the healed wounds between Russia and America, this is still a rather propagandistic flick, about a Russian submarine captain who seeks to defect to the glorious promise land of Uncle Sam. Here, like "Patriot Games", a techno-culturally superior America is filled with good leaders and upstanding generals, and Russians would be crazy not to come on over for a slice of "freedom".
Still, the film was directed by John McTiernan ("Die Hard", "Predator", "Die Hard 3", "Thomas Crown Affair" all good action flicks), so it has a certain style to it. Like "Patriot Games", once you get past some clichés and some clownishness, it's a rather serious picture with some nice hardware on display for the boys and some well mounted action scenes.
Released in 1994, and again directed by Phillip Noyce, "Clear and Present Danger" is the most sophisticated of these films, which were all based on Tom Clancy novels (Clancy, a major tech-head, fantasises about World War 3 for a living). Here, the world isn't made up of good guys and bad guys and there are lots of conflicting, self interests. The villain here is also nothing less than the President of the United States, a gutsy move, though by now this "paternal villain" cliché is getting old ("The Fugitive", "LA Confidential", "Monster's Inc", "Minority Report" etc). Unusual for such films, "Danger" points out the immorality of affairs such as Irangate, doesn't salivate over the film's depiction of a secret war in South America (which Noyce links to Vietnam), considers (somewhat) the moral implications of violence, criticises snap emotive responses and deals with political betrayals and private agendas among both the President and his advisers. Where the film differs significantly from its 1970s predecessors, is it's total lack of impotency: the 90s spy-hero doesn't shy away from responsibility, and will go so far as to topple the Presidency to maintain the good of his country
What's funny, though, is that the film treats its central idea (the President mounting an illegal covert war in Panama) as a shockingly evil thing. In the real world, despite the fact that the American President is not allowed to deploy or instigate any military actions without Congress first declaring war, he routinely does so. Iraq, Vietnam, Korea etc, not to mention countless CIA instigated coups in places like Haiti, Iran, Chile and Ecuador, were all illegal by the Constitution of the United States. The fact is, Congress is always sidestepped, most recently in the "bank bailout package" fiasco.
This being Tom Clancy, the main attraction is once again the gear on display: laser guided bombs, F18 hornets, sniper's hidden in the grass, an RPG attack on a convoy etc. From here, many computer game franchises would spawn, and from there, a banalization of military technology. People used to go to these thrillers and marvel at the hardware, gasping at the inside looks offered of the Oval Office and Pentagon, but now such things are routine, countless TV shows (West Wing, 24, The Unit, JAG) and video games (why be wowed by the sniper on screen, when you can BE him online) diluting the spectacle that made these films popular in the 90s.
8/10 - With the down sizing of armies around the world, and all technology fetishized to the point of disaffection, the techno-thriller genre (itself a genre borne from war, see Lang's 1928 "Spies") looks like it's winding down again.
I can't say that I know much about Tom Clancy's novels or the character
of Jack Ryan. Whether this is a honorable adaptation of the book I
cannot say either, but as a thriller, Patriot Games struck me as weak.
There are good performances from a sensational cast, a fair level of
emotion to the story, and a nice score from James Horner, but the most
obvious problem with Patriot Games, is that nothing much happens here.
While on holiday in England with his wife and daughter, Jack Ryan foils an IRA assassination attempt on one of the royal family. needless to say, Ryan becomes an automatic hero of Brittan, but shortly after returning home to Maryland, He is targeted by IRA terrorist Sean Miller for assassination, wanting revenge for the death of his brother. Can Ryan protect his family?
Harrison Ford plays a great Jack Ryan, no doubt there, but the movie is not as strong as he is. The story doesn't penetrate you in the way that a good thriller should. It is neither dramatic nor clever and is only mildly exciting. To say it is a bad film would be a huge over statement, it just needs work.
"Patriot Games" is an action movie like so many we have seen before,
it's not a bad movie, it's an average one. I think it deserves 6.5
stars mainly because of the first half of the movie, which is
interesting, but after that its quality diminish a lot.
The performances are OK, they are just what the film needed, the idea of the plot is interesting, but the biggest problem is that the movie last 15 minutes longer of what it was necessary.This movie would have been much better if it had only been a crime and thriller movie and not an action one.
The plot is about an ex CIA man Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) whose family is chased by a terrorist because Jack killed the terrorist's brother to save the life of an important British person.
"Patriot Games" is useful for killing time during one boring afternoon.
Let me say that I have only seen this one, "The Hunt for Red October", and "Clear and Present Danger". I enjoyed this one and Red October a good bit. Was not really crazy for "Clear and Present Danger", I just for some reason found it rather boring compared to the other two movies. I do not know why this one is my favorite, but it just seemed to work for me in a way the next movie would not. Harrison Ford in the role trying to protect his wife and daughter from the revenge minded IRA terrorist had more of an emotional impact and really got you going whereas Present Danger just was missing that and basically banished Ryan's wife (the character Harrison Ford plays) to nothing more than a guest appearance or cameo. This one is about Jack Ryan who I think works for the CIA, he is over in England and spots in the nick of time a couple of IRA guys about to do some bad stuff. Well he basically thwarts them killing one of them and getting himself injured in the process. Well the other guy ends up going for revenge as the other guy killed was his brother. Some good action scenes and drama in this one and it has a really nice concluding scene. As an added bonus Richard Harris is also in it it in a fine supporting role and Sean Bean is great as the IRA terrorist. Of the three Clancy movies this one to me really hooks you in and has the best plot.
Phillip Noyce takes the helm for the first time with the Jack Ryan "franchise" and scores big. One of the main reasons is Harrison Ford taking over the Ryan role. They work well together grinding out a terrific action thriller. Dealing with IRA terrorists and revenge adds quite a bit of tension to the story and an excellent cast made this, a film you can watch again and again. Sean Bean is great as a terrorist seething for revenge and Richard Harris is fine in a small role. The regulars, James Earl Jones as Greer and Anne Archer and Thora Birch as Ryan's family, deliver as well. This is a case of sequels being as good as, or better than, the original. This one keeps you "on the edge of your seat".
This is a perfectly fine action movie and, as an introduction to the
Jack Ryan character, it isn't awful by any means.
It is however, not *nearly* as smart and twisty as either Clear and Present Danger or Hunt for Red October. Once the revenge plot is set up at the beginning of the film it more or less marches by-the-numbers down to the final confrontation.
Not a bad film. Just not a great one either, and definitely the weak sister of the three. If all you are looking for is action, you'll love it. If, however, you are looking for depth in the story telling, try one of the other two first.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The second Tom Clancy novel made into a film ('The Hunt For Red October' being the first), 'Patriot Games' opts for a somewhat smaller scale. There's no chance World War III will result from anyone's actions here, but the CIA finds enough bad business coming from the Irish Republican Army to keep itself and those amazing spy satellites it employs busy. Harrison Ford is now Clancy's reliable hero, Jack Ryan, and Ford is a very good fit. In best Clancy fashion, Ryan is a very reluctant hero as well. He hates getting involved in other peoples' affairs and being forced to settle them, just as he hates being forced to kick ass, but what's an ex-Marine CIA agent to do? The villains this time are an ultraviolent faction of the IRA; Ryan gets on their bad side when he busts up an attempt by them to kill the British Home Secretary and his family. The rest of the movie is essentially a tit-for-tat series of confrontations between Ryan/CIA and these IRA murderers. The best scenes in 'Patriot Games' are the action ones, as well as the parts showing the CIA's supersecret and supersophisticated technology at work. Less successful are the scenes having to do with Ryan's home life, and his wife and daughter. There is an upper-class, peachy-keen smugness to them, exemplified by Anne Archer (Cathy Ryan) and her "boy, this CIA stuff is a pain in the ass" attitude. This type of material is not Clancy's strong suit (or the screenwriter's, apparently) and it shows. The trio of Irish baddies are all portrayed convincingly; Patrick Bergin, Polly Walker, and particularly Sean Bean in a menacing and venomous performance. 'Patriot Games' succeeds mainly because of Harrison Ford's tough, likable, and sometimes vulnerable presence. Several key plot points do not bear close scrutiny; it strikes one as unlikely the IRA and the CIA would take on one another over what is essentially a personal vendetta. But don't think too hard or too much and you'll find 'Patriot Games' a reasonably exciting thriller.
A faction of the IRA attempt to kidnap Lord William Holmes, a member of
the British Royal Family who also happens to be a Government minister,
but the crime is thwarted by the courageous actions of Jack Ryan, an
American tourist in London with his family. During the ensuing scuffle,
Ryan shoots dead one of the terrorists, Patrick Miller. Miller's elder
brother Sean is jailed for his part in the attack, but is rescued by
his comrades, and vows vengeance on Ryan, who is a former marine and
CIA operative. When Ryan realises that Sean Miller is targeting his
family he returns to work for the CIA to help with the fight against
There are a number of fairly obvious goofs and plot holes. No member of the British Royal Family could serve as a Government minister, as they are constitutionally obliged to remain politically neutral. If a foreign citizen were being made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (one of the highest awards in the British honours system) he would be invited to a formal ceremony in Buckingham Palace to be knighted by the Queen in person. He would not be presented with the decoration in his own home by a junior member of the Royal Family. It seems unlikely that any Irish republican terror group would carry out an attack on American citizens on American soil, as to do so would risk losing the support their cause has long enjoyed among sections of the Irish-American community. As others have pointed out, it seems illogical for Ryan to take his family to their isolated summer home to get them away from Miller; doubtless the CIA could have found a safer location for them.
The film lacks the political implications of "Clear and Present Danger", Philip Noyce's next attempt to film a Tom Clancy thriller which involved Watergate-type misconduct by the President and his closest aides. (That film also starred Harrison Ford as Ryan). Despite the involvement of the IRA, "Patriot Games" makes no attempt to analyse the complexities of the Northern Ireland situation. The film also lacks any detailed characterisation. The moral divisions are straightforward- Ryan, his wife Cathy and his CIA colleagues are good and Miller and his gang are bad.
The film does, however, have a strong hero in Harrison Ford. Ford has always been good in the thriller genre, and gives another good performance here as Ryan, combining decency with a strong sense of intelligence. Anne Archer and Sean Bean are also good as Cathy and the villainous Miller. There is a good cameo from Polly Walker as Miller's glamorous but ruthless female associate Annette. Despite the occasional implausibilities of the plot, this is a tense and fast-moving thriller with some good action sequences. It is not Ford's best thriller (that must be either "Witness" or "The Fugitive"), but it is nevertheless a good one. 7/10
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