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Clear and Present Danger
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Clear and Present Danger More at IMDbPro »

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Intelligent, yet Laborious at times

Author: Agaric from Pomfret, CT
11 January 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


"Clear and Present Danger" is the third translation of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series to the screen, and the second one starring Harrison Ford as the "thinking-man's James Bond". Although a definite improvement over "Patriot Games", and on par with "The Hunt for Red October", the film contains serious points of lag. The material in these drawn out sequences is interesting, but it molds the film into an average entry in either of two categories: either as a tepid action film, or an underdeveloped drama. Holes aside, the film is engaging enough to wet the appetites of fans of either genre, and is an entertaining experience overall.

Ford is the best Jack Ryan in my opinion, successfully conveying Ryan's intelligence as well as his vulnerability in dangerous situations. Plus he is able to inject his trademark charm and snide humor into the role which gives the character a more down-to-earth character we can relate to. Part of the problem with the movie is the lack of development of the rest of the characters. Since the script is burdened with an array of important roles, their screen time is often marginalized. For example, Willem Dafoe is given hardly any development prior to the climax of the film. I respect Dafoe as an actor greatly, and found myself wishing that he would be involved in more of the film. Anne Archer has the throwaway role as the wife of Jack Ryan, but James Earl Jones is able to shine as Admiral Greer, even though he's on the sidelines. Some characters just don't fit, like the entire cabinet of political bigwigs who orchestrate the events of the movie. Donald Moffat is ridiculous and an utter buffoon of a president, and Henry Czerny seems to be insidious for no reason. Many of these holes in characters could have been remedied with another half hour of screen time.

However, my last comment would have shifted the context of the movie to a full blown drama. As much as Clancy's work is engaging, the movie cannot stand on its own without the promise of action. The action scenes are well done and gripping at times, but they are merely peppered throughout the film. Philip Noyce is able to create scenes of tension without using weapons, such as the well-done scene involving a computer battle between Ford and Czerny. Overall, the film gives off an odor stemming from a lack of sustained tension, and the plot visibly loses steam at points.

Ultimately, the main problem with "Clear and Present Danger" is the problem of defining what it "clearly" is as a movie. But, if you're a fan of Clancy's work or are just looking for an entertaining movie, give this one a rent.

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As a reader and a watcher I have to compromise

Author: iceberg1948 from Perth, Western Australia
4 February 2003

One reader said that he had only read one Clancy book (Rainbow 6) and that John Clark in Clear and Present Danger was exactly as he imagined him. I usually overlook casting errors such as this due to human foibles. However, Clark featured in Clear and Present Danger and many other books as big (well over 6') and broad shouldered. His large stature was a 'presence' which intimidated and was a factor in the story, so when Dafoe appeared in a relatively diminutive form, it deflated the image. So the old story is, don't read the book before seeing the movie. On the other hand, I have seen movies after reading the book where I see the actor and think, "Yes, that is the character as I imagined!" You also have to allow some leeway here for the written word (in this instance Clancy's penchant for copious amounts) to be condensed to a couple of hours of viewing. I love mindless entertainment like this movie so I don't care about continuity or mistakes, (Dafoe was OK if you didn't read the book) as long as I enjoy watching it. I liked, seen it twice and I'll watch it again.

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Willem Dafoe steals this movie *SPOILERS*

Author: Bob_Tanaka
19 December 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As the only Clancy book I've read SO FAR is "Rainbow Six" I can't say how well Ryan or anyone else is portrayed in this movie compared to the books, but I will say that both Willem Dafoe as John Clark and Raymond Cruz as Domingoe "Ding" Chavez are just as I pictured them. Willem Dafoe bacically steals any movie for me, and his performance as Clark was cold, blunt and ultra cool, just as it should be ("Ryans dead, now get me back in contact with my team"). and Raymond Cruz, in probably his largest role, is great as Chavez, a tough little souldier, who is Clarks future son-in-law. Other than that, I should probably sy that I like Harrison Ford best as Jake Ryan, although I haven't read a book with him in it yet.

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Great book, rotten movie.

Author: Neil Sorensen from United States
19 August 2002

Every time I have seen Tom Clancy's novels adapted to screen, they have been atrocious. Being a major fan of Clancy's novels, it seems as though whenever they are adapted to the big screen, the writers botch the whole process. None of the novels that have been made into movies do the books any justice.

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A good thriller.

Author: powerkatz2002
12 August 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Clear and Present Danger is part of the continuing chronicles of the life of CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford).(spoilers) It follows how the government starts a war against the drug cartels in Colombia. The only catch is the Colombian government doesn't know about it. This movie is better than I've reviewed it and it has lots of action. Though don't expect a lot similarities between it and the book it has a lot but not all of them. 6 *'s out of 10 *'s.

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Fair portrayal of the book

Author: Colin Smith from London, England
26 January 2002

This is, in my view, the closes so far of the film adaptations of the Tom Clancy novels. I write this having recently read a precis of the new movie based on The Sum of all Fears in which terrorists try to cause a nuclear war between the USA and Russia.

In the new movie, two bombs are released, one in chechnya and another in Baltimore. The book was overall a very technical affair which admitedly would be difficult to translate to the screen.

But enough of that, excepting a number of missing sub-plots from the book, clear and present danger follows closely the war against drugs and an illegal invasion by the USA into Columbia. It misses off the wonderful helicopter finale of the book, but does a good job of capturing the audience.

The car ambush is a particular high point that you'll want to see again and again!

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William Dafoe steals the film...Ford is not at his best...

Author: Neil Doyle from U.S.A.
18 May 2001

Harrison Ford is rumored to have disliked playing Jack Ryan in 'Clear and Present Danger' (for whatever reasons, I don't know), so perhaps that's the reason William Dafoe (who obviously relishes his part as a deadly field operative) is able to steal the film. At any rate, it's a well-done action thriller, the kind that Tom Clancy does so well. And, yes, it matches the excitement of 'Patriot Games'. A standout is the ambush scene involving an FBI motorcade unexpectedly under crossfire in the crowded streets of Colombia.

Not as convoluted a plotline as usual in these sort of stories, it still has some confusing bits of business involving the drug lords and shady Washington officials. Harrison Ford's fans may prefer him in his Indiana Jones guise, and here they have even more reason because his performance is sub-par. Although a bit too long with some slow moments in between the action, it's definitely worth your time.

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Very suspenseful

Author: Sabich (
23 April 2001

While not a excellent film by a long shot, it does what it sets out to do: entertain and keep the viewer in suspense. Full of political intrigue and interesting plot developments, you will not be bored.

Harrison Ford does a good job as always as Jack Ryan, and James Earl Jones giving a solid performance in his minor role. The movie loses a little bit of its effect after you have read the book; Tom Clancy does a masterful job of weaving numerous storylines to a powerful climax in what is probably his best novel. The movie did a decent job of concentrating this complex storyline into a two-hour movie, but if you want the full effect, read the book.

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A so-so film that's worth watching.

Author: mhasheider from Sauk City, Wisconsin
15 February 2001

Third installment of the Jack Ryan series takes place as Ryan (Harrison Ford) who takes over for his ailing mentor, Greer (James Earl Jones) and investigates the murders of a U.S. businessman (and his family) who was a friend of the current President (Donald Moffat) and had secret ties to a Colombian drug lord (Miguel Sandoval). Ryan is aware that a fellow CIA employee, Cutter (Henry Czerny in a devilish performance) throws Ryan into the middle of a cover-up after a small band of U.S. soldiers and numerous innocent civilians have been killed. Ford is okay here as Ryan, but Willem Dafoe ("Shadow of the Vampire") manages to steal the show as John Clark, a clever and reliable field operative who originally thinks that Ryan found out about his small operation in Colombia and pulled the plug on it. The film becomes fun to watch in the second half as Ryan, Clark, and Chavez (Raymond Cruz), a sniper bail out the remaining members of Clark's squad out of Bogota. Overall, "Clear and Present Danger" is a so-so film that's worth watching.

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Bad end action sequece....

Author: kenandraf from Honolulu, Hawaii
7 December 2000

The movie was very entertaining and educational but to be a classic in it's genre,it should have had better action sequences towards the end of the movie.Particularly the scenes of the daring rescue of the special forces from the Colombians.The thrill was there but the action was not powerfull enough which fans of this movie subject will definitely demand.Ford may be getting old but he can still pull off better action sequences than what was shown in this movie.Even the scenes where in the US special forces were defeated by the mercenaries could have been way better.The scenes where the CIA guys were ambushed in their vans was very good.They should have continued with those kind of sequences in the other action scenes.It was a bad decition to tone down the violence too much becouse the seriousness of the movie demands realism to become a classic.Still a good try.I know Ford did not like the way it was done as well and that is why he is reluctant as of now to play Jack Ryan again.Ford knows movies well.I give this one an 8 out of 10.

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