Patriot Games (1992) Poster


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Good action flick
chadly8620 July 2001
If I were to make a quick summary of this movie, it would be "a good, but not great, action flick." I don't think this movie was intended to be innovative, to be great, to be memorable. What it was intended to be was entertaining, and it lived up to this expectation.

Harrison Ford is the master of remaining as low-key as possible. He has had so many films where he can over-emphasize, over-dramatize, and simply over-act. Ford has the maturity to keep this from happening, and he does so again in this film. Ford is supported quite well with such actors/actresses as James Earl Jones (reprising his role as Greer from The Hunt for Red October), Samuel L. Jackson, and Anne Archer. For an action flick, acting is much above average.

It was also suspenseful...thrilling. I thought the ending had a nice build-up and climax. I realize this is different from the book's ending...but remember, these are two different visions...not the same one. This brings up a big point in movie-watching: Comparing a movie to a book is the worst thing you can do. They are two completely different genres. More importantly, as I said before, they are two different visions.

I'm not a big action fan. I used to be, but anymore most stories are the same. To this end I would say Patriot Games is fairly mainstream. However, it was always fun to watch and sometimes thrilling to watch. I'm also not a big Tom Clancy fan, but I've given the movies based off his books a shot because again they are different visions. The result is (at least with Patriot Games) a good film to watch on a Saturday night with a bowl of popcorn. Don't expect great things, but don't expect to be disappointed, either.

Rating: 7/10
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Have to admit, I like this
Rachel-2024 November 2002
OK, so it has some plot holes, and I generally spend a good amount of time detailing for my husband the deviations from the novel (which are many, since Hollywood doesn't make many five-hour movies). And it's predictable and artless and has plenty of clichés. I make it a point not to read IMDB reviews for a movie until after I've written my own, but even so I can guess that this one has been torn apart on these points probably at least a dozen times. Now that that's over with, I'm going to admit that I like this movie. It feels like a tight thriller, good for those nights when I want entertainment with some minor complexity. I like to "go along for the ride", so to speak, even though I know how it ends. And going back to the first time I saw this, before I'd read the book, I remember being on the edge of my seat quite a bit.

Thora Birch does this film a lot of good. Her expressions and lines are quite well-acted, and she's cute without being syrupy. Harrison Ford is Harrison Ford; you either like him or you don't, and this movie isn't going to change your mind (I happen to like him).

Don't go renting this one if you want an artsy movie, or a beautiful movie, or a movie with a perfectly tight script. But if you can enjoy a film for simple entertainment value, and you like Harrison Ford ;), this is a good one for after the kids are in bed.
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Good guys are real good, and the bad guys are real bad.
Spikeopath4 March 2008
Patriot Games is a more than serviceable thriller, perhaps a bit out of date when viewing it now, but still a very effective good against evil piece. The source material is so dense and intricate it was always going to be hard to condense that into a 2 hour movie but I feel the makers manage to keep it fleshy whilst making the respective characters interesting and watchable. The acting on show is more than adequate, Harrison Ford is great in the role of Jack Ryan, he manages to portray him as a sensitive family man who can step up to the plate when things get ugly, and Anne Archer is solid enough as the wife and mother caught up in the web of nastiness unfolding.

The baddies are led by the brooding Sean Bean who is a little under written, whilst Richard Harris is sadly underused, but the action set pieces make their mark and thankfully we get a riveting final reel that cements the steady ride we have under taken. It is formulaic to a degree, but that is OK if the combined efforts of all involved are spot on, and here they are, 7/10.
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A Super Thriller
ccthemovieman-120 March 2006
This is an outstanding thriller, a movie I have always enjoyed watching since it came out. Apparently a number of people also did since a few sequels followed featuring the main character ex-CIA analyst "Jack Ryan," played by Harrison Ford.

Sean Bean was excellent as the revenge-obsessed villain, a member of a "splinter group," as its labeled not really an IRA extremist, but one too out-of- control for any group. Ford is the man best able to stop him and the film is very interesting start-to-finish and smart enough not to overdo the violence. Suspenseful is probably the best word to describe the movie as Bean goes after Ford's family.

Anne Archer, as Ford's wife, along with the rest of the cast, actors such as Patrick Bergen, James Earl Jones, James Fox, Richard Harris and a young Thora Birch make this a well- acted movie.

This is simply one of the best thrillers I've ever seen and almost every scene is interesting.
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Harrison Ford kicks....
Peach-219 January 1999
Harrison Ford kicks some major butt in this film and proves again that he is the leading action star of his generation. Ford's action movie's never really seem silly, they always seem real. Alec Baldwin should have never let the character of Jack Ryan go, because Ford now personifies the super agent. Nice direction from Phillip Noyce and a great score from James Horner make this a very good action film.
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Indiana Jones: The CIA years
tieman6410 June 2010
Warning: 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 techno-thriller format.

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.
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Out of the Tom Clancy movie adaptations I have seen, this is my favorite.
Aaron137510 January 2010
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.
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Taut Jack Ryan thriller!
Gunn24 March 2009
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".
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Quite the Thriller!
g-bodyl11 June 2011
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.
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Harrison Ford is the coolest.
Peach-22 November 1998
Patriot Games is a very well done action movie. I didn't feel dumbed down by the plot and everyone took their role seriously. Harrison Ford is the best action star of his generation and this movie is a brillant example of how Hollywood can sometimes make a good action picture. The film is well cast and the direction by Phillip Noyce is top notch. Patriot Games is well worth your while, especially if you like smart action pictures and Harrison Ford.
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