|Page 3 of 14:||            |
|Index||137 reviews in total|
CIA Analyst Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) is drawn into an illegal war
fought by the US government against a Colombian drug cartel.
James Berardinelli remarked, "Clear and Present Danger is all plot and no characters. The people running around on screen have about as much depth as the sheen of sweat on Harrison Ford's forehead. Jack Ryan is the most disappointing of all. He's disgustingly virtuous: a flawless fighter for good and justice, a Superman without the cape. I spent half the movie wondering if this guy was ever going to show anything to mark him as vaguely human." That just seems too harsh, and for no good reason. This is an action film, after all. Sure, we do not get the depth we might like from Jack Ryan, but we have already developed him in two prior films. This is action, a spy thriller. We need twists, turns, gunfire and explosions! (And we get them, too.)
What's the "Clear and Present Danger" in this 1994 tale? It's the
presidency and its powers. It's the blindness, hubris and hypocrisy of
the latter. Who are the bad guys? As much the presidency as the
Colombian drug lord target in this story. Ignoring the CIA's own
negatives and misuses of power, this story makes heroes of the CIA and
Harrison Ford (as Jack Ryan), taking up the job of James Earl Jones's
terminally ill character.
There are three bad guys in the White House. First is the president, Donald Moffat. He sets in motion a foolhardy special forces operation against a drug lord in Colombia for which there is no legislative authorization except his own unauthorized and unchecked powers. For a 1994 movie, it's a big plus to see writing that dares to put on full display an imperial and arrogant president, and one who doesn't foresee the consequences of his acts. Second is the National Security adviser, Harris Yulin, called upon to launch and direct the operation in secret, or as much in secret as possible. He uses a third figure, Henry Czerny, to recruit Willem Dafoe in Colombia, and he'll direct the special ops team. They are gung ho killers, trained to obey orders, and 100% patriotic. Therefore, the irony is heavy when they are betrayed by Yulin and Czerny and most of them killed by the drug lord's own private army. He's played by Miguel Sandoval, and to add more complication, he's got a rival in his own command structure, Joaquim de Almeida.
Harrison Ford is rather naively in the middle of it all because he's being kept out of the loop. It's highly unlikely that this secret plan could go forward without CIA knowing it, but that's the story.
Upon repeated viewing, the film feels rather stitched together and on the superficial side, working hard to insert its action scenes as climaxes. It still manages to roll along somehow. The script is best in showing the president's men. Elsewhere it's much more superficial in showing its characters. The rather extensive subplotting involving de Almeida doesn't gel and integrate quite as well as it should, but it is what adds danger to Ryan and leads to the main climax.
Ford is in fine acting form, and he has to be because his character is not that well-written. Anne Archer gets almost no play or depth in hers.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, this movie is really surprising because it's really the first
time that I see a Hollywood blockbuster adapting without filtering a
bestseller in which the famous writer really depicts the pool of sharks
at Washington DC and especially in the white house.
In short, what triggers a more energetic politic against drug cartels is just the assassination of POTUS friends. This kind of personal revenge is indeed a special way to uphold national interest. As Nixon, POTUS feels he is not bounded by laws or frontiers as he authorizes guerrilla in other country. And he is so cynical that he doesn't order it clearly and when bad news arrive, he would like to put the blame to innocent mans (here, Admiral Greer). This aspect of revealing Washington life would be the trademark in later Clancy novels, always coupled with an armed conflict. Here, i must say that the drug cartel isn't a « prestigious » adversary but a rather boring, dull one. In that, the movie equals the book because I remember to be among the weakest Clancy ever wrote. However, Harrison as the white, honorable hero is always perfect and Dafoe as an experimented veteran is an excellent partner.
After "The Hunt for Red October", this is the best Clancy movie so far. This is not saying much though since these movies have either been amazing or awful (yes, I'm talking about the last one).
It stays true to the book, the plot development is a bit slow so you need to be patient. As true to a Clancy novel, there is no "one guy saves the world" type of thing here. Good people die, bad people die, neutral people die. The conclusion is bittersweet, more like a pyrrhic victory, which I like.
I must admit it, getting a Tom Clancy novel in script form is not easy since his works tend to be very, very complex, with multiple sub-plots. However, they did a great job on this one. It's not a 10 but it is an solid 8.
Philip Noyce returned to direct this adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel that also sees Harrison Ford return as CIA analyst Jack Ryan, who has been appointed acting Deputy Director of Intelligence after his old boss and friend Admiral Greer(played by James Earl Jones) develops terminal cancer. Almost immediately, Jack has a crisis on his hands as a close friend of the President(played by Donald Moffat) is killed by a drug cartel, and unknown to Jack, a secret CIA operative(played by Willem Dafoe) was sent into Columbia to deal with the cartels, but has been set up, and now wants revenge. Jack must sort out this mess to not only save his career and reputation, but also several lives. Equally good third entry in the series is both exciting and intriguing, with solid performances. Sad to say, Ford's last appearance in the role(before it was "rebooted"...)
Where does one go after having taken on, and successfully parried, the
threat of that of both Communism and Terrorism? Why, to wage war on
Narcotics of course. At least, that is how the good folks charged with
bringing to life the adventures of a C.I.A. agent named Jack Ryan see
it, as too does the series original author Tom Clancy, whose source
material I read was actually published on the brink of the Cold War's
termination. With the Irish and the Soviets vanquished, that of
Colombia's cocaine barons are next up on the chopping block for the
world's most powerful intelligence agency. There is an eerie procession
to things in that regard that mirrors today, an attitude of bountifully
hopping from ideology to ideology; from nationality to nationality
usurping the tyrants and conquering the odds not so far away from
modern foreign policy: the action starts when things kick off that we
like neither the looks or sounds of it.
Clear and Present Danger is probably the most cryptic of the first three Ryan adaptations I imagine its title is meant somewhat ironically, as there are times when things are anything but clear and the narrative can actually be quite overwhelming. Thankfully, this is not a case of the same stuff being regurgitated as Ryan charges about; does his thing and works everything out in the end. This is the sort of 'action' film whereby romping scores of circumstance and pomp put to sets heavy in the decour of American governmental iconography, as two men bicker and grimace intently over a situation, is discernible as the 'spectacle'. Things have moved on internally, also. Where in "The Hunt for Red October" Ryan was more of a middle man caught in a cross-fire who was charged with investigating and, ultimately, defusing a situation, his role changed dramatically in "Patriot Games", where he found himself an agent at the heart of a field operation. In Phillip Noyce's Clear and Present Danger, he has effectively been promoted to that of chief of operations following some health issues with James Earl Jones' evergreen "M" figure.
The film begins where the last one culminated: at sea. An American Navy vessel flags down a luxury yacht which, to their horror, has been invaded by rouge South American Cartel members and has had its rightful owners executed. Where things suddenly become relevant is when this innocent party of murder victims are revealed to have been close friends to the American president, something which launches an investigation where previously these tyrants were getting away with the horrors associated with trafficking; smuggling and murder anyway. The leader of these renegades is a certain Ernesto Escobedo (Sandoval), who's a poor excuse for a Robert Davi villain from a then-not-too-recent Bond film about similar themes. Escobedo is rich; has a huge house; a loving family and enjoys baseball, but from within a certain Cuban aide by the name of Cortez (de Almeida) has his own ideas on Escobedo's empire.
The film launches itself into too very distinct cuts of raw material, with on the one hand Ryan's task of leading the Cartel investigation dominating with a very blue, very cold Washington atmosphere as the snow and chilly conditions settle in just as equally cold levels of animosity are met with practically everything Ryan does via his peers. On the other, an elite team of SEAL commandos land in the warmer, greener and brighter South American jungles. The team is mostly made up of insignificant extras, although one such trooper of a sniper class gets his own introduction et al. early on; thus, it is of little surprise that he's the only one left upon which to focus when the mission gets messy later on. One item, of which there can be little doubt, is Harrison Ford's worthiness in the role. There is a moment early on when he walks into his superior's office; there is a smirk, some small talk and a pile of papers outlining the latest situation. Straight away, we're at home with him in the role and he brings a measured assuredness to the part.
The film plays out with that invisible confidence films as cryptic as these often have, that nonchalant swagger as it dives into yet another scene drenched in conflict and suspicion; only assuming that you're keeping up but delivering the blows for you even if you haven't quite. It certainly reminds us of how good-a job the team made of The Hunt for Red October, which was equally involving in this regard although always had the benefit of things zeroing in on that lone submarine so things were never going to be able to go too far astray in the first place. To another extent, it highlights just how limp in comparison to "Hunt" Patriot Games was; a revenge film which is made to look fairly bog-standard and unspectacular in comparison in spite of its traversing of the globe and its taking of its characters to some pretty dire emotional places. Perhaps that was the point; Noyce has essentially overcompensated in that regard, lumping onto us more of what we thought we got in "Hunt" that we didn't get any of in "Games" something that was Noyce's fault in the first place. As a result, I think it finds a comfortable spot in-between the two.
Based on the book of the same name by Tom Clancy, 'Clear and Present
Danger' is a thrilling film, that is neatly written, tautly directed &
superbly acted. In short, Amongst the Finest Films from 1994!
As in the novel, Jack Ryan is appointed Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Acting Deputy Director and discovers that he is being kept in the dark by colleagues who are conducting a covert war against drug lords in Colombia.
Jack Ryan is a great hero to root for. Tom Clancy has indeed given us an Iconic Good-Guy, who in many ways, is a time-less personality. 'Clear and Present Danger' begins superbly and ends with a bang. The Writing Material is so Sharp, that it catches your attention right away. Also, The tense moments as well as the action-sequences, are wonderfully shot & executed.
Phillip Noyce's Direction is taut. Cinematography is top-notch. Editing is good. Art Design is perfect. Performance-Wise: Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan, is in full form. The Screen Legend delivers a terrific performance from start to end. Willem Dafoe is first-rate. Anne Archer is impressive. James Earl Jones is dignified. Miguel Sandoval leaves a mark. Others lend able support.
On the whole, A Winner! Check It Out!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Set between the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the global war
on terrorism, the films settles on Colombian cocaine cartels for a
convenient set of villains. At that, however, it's a bit unusual for
Tom Clancy, presuming the movie incorporates details from his novel.
For one thing, the story allows at least one of the real murdering
heavies to have a couple of kids that he delights in. And, BANG, the
American Navy blows up a house full of drug lords and children.
Unwittingly, to be sure, but still -- Secondly, the bad-guys-in-chief
are not the Colombian drug lords. Their evil is taken for granted.
Instead, the worst people are American politicians who undertake to do
"the Potomac two-step" by engaging in illegal operations in a foreign
country while preserving "plausible deniability" for the slyly knowing
President. The PRESIDENT, mind you! What we seem to have here is not
exactly a film a clef, but at least an approximation of the Iran/Contra
affair under President Reagan, in which Admiral Poindexter, F. B. I.
head Casey, and Col. Oliver North did some sub rosa trading, which
Reagan had no knowledge of. But those real-life events only provide a
framework for a fantasy in which sneaky Washington politicians agree to
help a drug lord put a lock on cocaine shipments in return for his
guarantee that he'll turn over all the information he gains on his
rivals, which will double our drug arrests and boost the president's
The price to be paid for this agreement is that the slimy pols immediately shut down a Special Ops mission involving a dozen of our armed forces' picked men. They do so, betraying the mission in the process. This leads to a couple of American deaths and the capture of the rest of the unit. A fierce fire fight at the end results in their extraction by helicopter, led by the stalwart Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) and the better trained Willem DaFoe. I hope that some of us, those who paste bumper stickers on their cars that say things like, "Surrender is Not an Option," will note that the Special Ops guys here, hopelessly outnumbered and surrounded, not only sensibly surrendered but lived to fight another day. In case you might miss the irony, the director cross cuts between the pious pompous platitudes given by the president at a state funeral, and the terrifying hell our doomed men in Colombia find themselves trapped in. It worked better during the baptism/slaughter at the climax of "The Godfather" but it's still effective.
The film is pretty well done and must have been expensive to shoot. Lots of action scenes and an entire hacienda is blown to bits by a laser-guided bomb in a most spectacular boom. (Actually several spectacular booms as the special effects detonations went off in different places at slightly different times.) The technical stuff about paper-made bombs is pretty interesting. What a techie Clancy must be. In one earlier boom, Jack Ryan tumbles forward toward the camera while a slow-motion fireball explodes behind him. If I see this unbelievably hoary cliché one more time, I'm going to call the police, the FCC, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Holy Name Society.
What happens in franchises like the Jack Ryan saga is that as time goes by, as the characters become familiar, as the story lines coalesce insensibly into one another, the writers start killing off some of the people we've gotten used to seeing. Children, of course, are always at risk, but usually one of the first guys to go is a mentor. It took Rocky Balboa three cracks to kill Burgess Meredith. I think it's taken the same amount of time for Jack Ryan to lose Greer (James Earl Jones), the admirable Admiral.
Situation report. If you liked the earlier Jack Ryan stories, you'll like this one too. It's a little more disjointed in its plot, but has just as much in the way of intrigue and action, and Ryan remains the same boy scout he's always been.
Just when you think you know what's going on, another wonderful twist
throws you for a loop. That's what helps make CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER
a standout film and the most entertaining of the Jack Ryan series.
CIA analyst Harrison Ford (in vintage form here) is left in the dark on secret plans by the U.S. government to fight the fire of Colombian drug cartels with the fire of cream-of-the-crop soldiers. When the mission is aborted and the soldiers left for dead, the stage is set for an emergency rescue and tense White House confrontations that go all the way to the top.
Between the taut action and the crisp storytelling by director Phillip Noyce (surely his best effort to date), there's certainly no time to be bored. And unlike far too many films with a 141-minute running time, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER doesn't wear out its welcome. This one's an intelligent winner.
Clear and Present danger is an awesome film! It's exciting! Great story! Great cast, and when I mean great cast, I mean Harrison Ford, James Earl Jones (Darth Vader) and Willem Dofoe (Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, Finding Nemo, James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing.) It's a long movie. It kept me entertained throughout, I mean, I couldn't stop smiling because Harrison Ford and Willem Dafoe are such treasures! There is quite a bit of cussing, which bothered me. The story is very easy to understand. Again, Willem and Harrison are flawless!!! A must see for those who just love action films!!! Other recommendations for Harrison Ford fans: Star Wars Trilogy, Indiana Jones, 40 days and 40 nights.
|Page 3 of 14:||            |
|Plot summary||Plot synopsis||Ratings|
|Awards||External reviews||Parents Guide|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|