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Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan has had an odd time at the movies. So far 3
actors and as many directors have had a go at him, with varying degrees
of success. Hunt for Red October might come up in conversations more
often, but it's hard to get past the silliness of Sean Connery
pretending to be Russian (and speaking worse Russian than Baldwin's
Clear and Present Danger is where your money belongs. One of Clancy's best Ryan efforts in print, this massive door-stop of a book was condensed by veteran scribes Steven Zallian and John Milius - how's that for a screen writing combo? - into a script that retains a lot of the original's moral complexity while making smart concessions to the blockbuster format. For a blockbuster is what you have before you, and one of the smartest ones out there, where art and commerce were combined in perfect harmony.
As Ryan 2.0, Harrison Ford is perfect in the lead, and it's hard to believe at times, that Clancy didn't have him in mind when creating the character. With a narrative this fragmented, it is essential that the supporting roles be pitch perfect and across the board everyone does first-rate work, with special mention to Willem Dafoe as John Clarke and Donald Moffat at a devious commander in chief.
Philip Noyce builds on his Ryan-debut Patriot Games and shows he is equally at ease with the quiet parts and the loud ones, particularly an RPG-powered car ambush centerpiece. The action beats are used sparingly but with brilliant precision.
All in all, this is smart, tight, believable and expertly executed. It is that rare brainy "action" film that will involve you and have you hanging on the edge of your seat.
Harrison Ford returns as "Jack Ryan," star of the very well-done
"Patriot Games," the film adaption off the best-selling Tom Clancy
novels. Also returning are Anne Archer and James Earl Jones.
THE BAD - This isn't as intense, especially in the first half hour, as Patriot Games and the ending was a little disappointing with a action-scene credibility problem. Once again - it's getting to be a tired Hollywood theme - top U.S. government officials, going all the way to the President, are corrupt people, liars not to be trusted.
THE GOOD - It's nice to see Willem Dafoe finally play a good guy. The villains in here are deceptively interesting, actors such as Joaquim De Almeida, Harris Yulin and Henry Czerny and Miguel Sandoval - not big names but recognizable and good actors. The violence is not overdone in here and when the action does occur, the sound is terrific. The best action scene was shootout in the streets with snipers firing at cars below.
The positives are far more than the negatives, making this a solid thriller.
I have to say that ALL of the Clancy novels that were made into films, with the exception of "The Sum of All Fears" were brought to life as great films. Harrison Ford reprises his role as Dr. Jack Ryan, who is forced in this film to step into the shoes of Admiral Greer, who is dying. While there is a lot of each characters personal lives carefully inserted into the film, it NEVER ceases to be clever and interesting. It's much better to watch than any senseless action picture with Bruce Willis or your wimpy little Ben Affleckish character. The film is perfectly balanced so that there is not a single boring scene in the picture. The wheels are constantly turning to make sure something dramatic is happening to really draw you further into the picture. I recommend this movie as well as it's two predecessors, "The Hunt for Red October", and "Patriot Games". Both of which are equally brilliant.
The makers of this movie are to be congratulated for turning a Tom Clancy
doorstop into a tense, tightly woven international thriller with a top
cast and believeable plot. Where the previous two Jack Ryan movies depended
on stunts and quite unbelieveable plot twists this film concentrates on a
grubby little military/political incident (more the domain of intelligence
men) and the men of honour and integrity (Ford and an under used Dafoe)
trapped in the middle of it.
I also like this movie for its subtle dig at the American establishment and how it assumes it can coerce the weak into doing its bidding.
The Clark character in Clancy's fiction is an interesting one and deserves to be further developed. Casting Willem Dafoe in the part was actually a stroke of genius, and I could easily imagine his character in Platoon doing this kind of work if he had survived Vietnam. The fact that Dafoe is one of THE most underrated actors in Hollywood also means I like this.
I have read some quite negative reviews of this film, with many being upset by the lack of coherence with the book despite taking it's characterisations etc...I agree that the film does not follow the book particularly well but it is a film, for film watchers, not a book or a film for book readers so stop criticising it on that level. This film is entertaining from start to finish with a surprisingly clever plot considering the genre and credit must go to Ford for starring and excelling in yet another blockbuster. People may say he's not the most versatile actor in the world and I'm not going to disagree, but he does what he does brilliantly and those who don't enjoy this movie really do need a good talking to. Along with Patriot Games, this is part of an impressive set of movies which are far more entertaining than the books (perhaps thats because I'm not an avid reader) and shall keep all you viewers out there happy, if only for a short while.
A CIA anaylst, Jack Ryan(Harrison Ford), is promoted to Deputy Director of
Intelligence of the CIA after Admiral James Greer(James Earl Jones) suffers
from illness. A close friend of the president(Donald Moffat) is murdered.
The situation gets worse when the President is convinced to take actions
against the drug cartels. Felix Cortez plays both sides. He tries to
"inform" the CIA and he also works with the cartels. James Cutter(Harris
Yulin) an advisor to the President, makes a deal with Cortez, and cuts off
communications to troops in Columbia, through the Deputy Director of CIA
Operations, Robert Ritter(Henry Czerny). Ryan goes to Colombia to save the
troops with the help of John Clark(Willem Dafoe), but not before Ritter
blames Ryan for Clark's men being captured by Cortez's mercenaries.
Clear and Present Danger is a great action/political thriller that is one of my all time favorite movies. Ford gives a great performance, perhaps his best. Theres also a great supporting cast including Willem Dafoe, Henry Czerny, and James Earl Jones. Besides powerful drama, Clear and Present Danger supplies good action sequences. I haven't read the book, but I plan to after seeing this movie.
Although the plot is a bit complex, this is a great movie and a must see. If you like Ford, action, or great drama, then Clear and Present Danger is a movie you should see. This film recieves my highest recommendation. 10/10
I don't know of anybody who doesn't like this movie, Clear and Present Danger. There was a funny cartoon I once read called Clear and Present Dangerfield which showed Rodney Dangerfield saying "I get no respect from these terrorists!" Very funny. The movie has some cheesy moments and some patriotic moments John Wayne would be proud of. The book and movie are different but the book, like most of Tom Clancy's books are so long that it's not possible to make it into an alike movie. So therefore the movie is focused on the parts with Jack Ryan and the other characters are hardly in it. Henry Czerny comes across as the top supporting actor in it and earned some roles from his solid underrated performance. Donald Moffat plays a two-faced president better than any actor who would have otherwise played him as a straight up mean dictator. Like in the book, the President has no name, he simply goes by the name the President of the United States of America. Philip Noyce does his job well at directing this picture. And of course this is one of Harrison Ford's last great roles since he did a Tom Hanks and has been desperate for an Oscar ever since. Overall, it's a great movie for anyone to enjoy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With the book being so long, obviously not all of the plot twists and events
could be squeezed into this film, which is a little over 2
With respect to this, the movie is very good, with a good mix of action scenes and strong politically minded scenes. One major shame was the ending and the omission of notable characters that played a part in the end of the book. This was the same with Patriot Games.
My only disappointment was that Ryan's friend Dan Murray was killed in the same scene where Emil Jacobs, the FBI Director was killed. He was a good character, but wasn't given time to show. In the books Murray becomes FBI Director at the end of Clancy's series.
Other than the scenes with Murray and Jack Ryan, the acting and drama was perfect. A worthy addition to the Jack Ryan Series, and much better than The Sum of All Fears' with Ben Affleck was Ryan.
Harrison Ford is without doubt the best Jack Ryan.
When Admiral Greer is diagnosed with cancer, Jack Ryan finds himself as
Acting Deputy Director of Intelligence at the same time as one of the
President's personal friends is murdered by a Columbian drugs cartel.
Despite the suggestion that his friend was involved in illegal money
laundering the President gives the "unofficial" nod to National
Security Adviser Cutter who falsifies a Presidential Order for Robert
Ritter to employ a covert operation to strike at Escobedo's operations
in Columbia. Meanwhile Ryan goes before the Senate to get funding for
the fight on drugs although the funding does not include troops or
direct action, which doesn't concern Jack as he is out of the loop on
the covert op. While Jack tries to trace the money on the laundering,
Clark's men get bombing in the Columbia jungle. However as things start
to get out of control, political backs get covered, plausible
deniability kicks in and both Ryan and Slater find themselves exposed
and in danger.
Despite Ryan's outings in Patriot Games and Sum of All Fears being roundly average at best, I decided to try this film and I actually found it quite easy to enjoy. The first thing to state is that it is very safe and commercial thriller in that, for all its supposed commentary on corruption and drugs, it really doesn't say much and the good guys and bad guys are painted very clearly and the lines between them are clean. Those familiar with the much more interesting look at America and drugs presented in HBO's The Wire will not find the same level of intelligence or comment in this film. Of course this doesn't make this a bad film, but perhaps a weaker one. The plot uses these clear lines and turns in an enjoyable if basic mix of political drama and action thrills. I found myself quite gripped by some parts and the plot regularly throw up tough talking and action to keep things interesting.
Although Ford is already looking a bit older, he fits in perfectly on the "intelligence" side of the film but when he is called into action on the streets of Columbia then he doesn't look the part at all. Much better at this is Dafoe, who spends the majority of this in his own little action movie. He is convincing and was a good call for the role, although it doesn't help that the material calls for Ford to occupy equal status with him in the action stakes. Providing the political tough talk with good turns are Czerny, Yulin and Moffat each would have benefited from the script recognising the complexities of right and wrong but this wasn't the place for that. Almedia and Sandoval are both pretty average but they are handed half-cooked clichés to work with so it isn't really their fault.
Overall this is a perfectly serviceable commercial thriller and I have no doubt that those who accepted the problems in Patriot Games and Sum of All Fears will find this easy to enjoy. Personally I would have liked a bit more intelligence instead of the black/white approach but it still worked for what it was and it was effective in catching me up.
Harrison Ford. Willem Dafoe. Anne Archer. James Earl Jones. Benjamin
Bratt. Henry Czerny, Harris Yulin as a 'heavy' (National Security
Adviser : James Cutter ) and Dean Jones. They have a cast of old school
heavies and new talent all together. I hadn't seen Dean Jones in a
while and he was fantastic! There is a 'chilling weight', that scores
the film visually from the onset. The director Phillip Noyce, uses
broad scenery (from what I can tell) it brings out a feeling of
grandness, vast and encompassing. It just sort of takes control of the
mind and vision.
The story of a Cartel from Columbia taking 'Liberties' on a family that wound up unbeknown to Escabedo (the Cartel scumbag) being friends of the President of The United States of America. Violent liberties that have become deadly serious. A Cali Cartel. A decision, that the President discusses with his defense secretary. A course of action that he (The President) can't suggest, is exactly what he is suggesting, behind closed doors. Being inside the White House in a Tom Clancy /Phillip Noyce film always seems very real for me, as I watch the government employees walk and talk and what ever else.
This has to be one of the highest Clancy novel/ movies that I have seen, just above " Patriot Games ".
Czerny is so good at being maligned. He is the one you don't want to be in a face-off with in a CIA office. He truly brings out a roundly compelling performance as Deputy Director of the C.I.A. ' Robert Ritter' .
Deception, is all around. like a sort of wall-papering. Who can Jack trust when he must? This is a powerful story and a dramatic and strong ending that completes the story from start to middle and ending. I was very enthusiastic and impressed, by the directing performance, photography and music score. The film crew that worked on 'Patriot Games' (1992) was retained for this one too. I saw an inside interview about the production of 'Clear and present danger' and the Producer stated that Harrison Ford performed his driving stunt, during the ambush!! And in regard to that beautiful drug dealer home in the country, get this...it was not 'CGI' special effects, they actually blew the house to bits!!!! Yes, it was real too. Now thats how to make a top-end action adventure/ thriller, in my book. Can you believe this, of all the Ten and twenty million dollar salaries that Ford makes in his work, he barely got paid one-million for this body of work.
This is a keeper. Recommended again and again. (*****)
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