CIA analyst Jack Ryan must thwart the plans of a terrorist faction that threatens to induce a catastrophic conflict between the United States and Russia's newly elected president by detonating a nuclear weapon at a football game in Baltimore.
When the president of Russia suddenly dies, a man whose politics are virtually unknown succeeds him. The change in political leaders sparks paranoia among American CIA officials, so CIA director Bill Cabot recruits a young analyst to supply insight and advice on the situation. Then the unthinkable happens: a nuclear bomb explodes in a U.S. city, and America is quick to blame the Russians. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The lines, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss," are from The Who's, "Won't Get Fooled Again," written by Pete Townshend. See more »
When the nuclear bomb detonates, its shock wave is strong
enough to flip the presidential limousine in the outskirts of the city over. It would have to have a yield of at least 1 megaton to do this, but news broadcasts describe the explosion as being smaller than that of the Hiroshima bomb. The Hiroshima bomb had a yield of 15 kilotons. See more »
[at the stadium in Baltimore; answers his cell phone]
Yeah, this is Cabot.
[in a helicopter near Baltimore]
The bomb is in play! Dylan's called the AFRAT team! They're meeting me at the docks in twenty minutes! We're going to see if we can find it!
Docks? What docks?
You're breaking up! What did you say?
[static over cell phone]
Look, I'm losing you! I'll call you back from...
[...] See more »
The movie adaptation of Tom Clancy's "The Sum of All Fears" might be a starkly frightening movie, could be a cautionary tale of homeland terrorism and nuclear war - that is, if it wasn't caught in the confounding cinematic time-warp it finds itself in. It is primarily set after the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the nuclear arms race with the Russians, however it's also a prequel with a younger, cocky Jack Ryan (plug-in flavor of the month Ben Affleck) and with the principle villains being Nazis. This movie will probably be remembered more for it's unfortunate post-9/11 release date (which gave it a sense of importance) then the silly story and content. It's not even so much that the Nazis-as-bad-guys thing is an overused, now out of date cliche as much as the idea that they were Middle Eastern terrorists in Clancy's book and the writers and director Phil Robinson changed them smacks of pure political correctness. Nobody wants to offend the terrorists. As a result the movie feels phony. And that's a big problem because we feel detached from it and, thus, don't feel it is as sharp, timely and intense as Clancy meant it to be. The reason that movies like "Fail Safe" and "Dr. Strangelove" were so brilliant is because they were gutsy enough to take on the public's fears directly. This movie isn't, in fact, it goes out of it's way to hide in it's phony world from doing anything gutsy. All movie villains have to be white Anglo Saxon Europeans most likely with `sinister' Russian or German accents. This type of stuff might frighten liberal Hollywood types who think the president might drop nukes at any moment, but it's not going to resonate with most people.
It also doesn't help that we can't connect with the characters. Affleck does a fine job or running around yelling, but there isn't a lot of development in the young Ryan or in any character we meet. Robinson's direction is purely rudimentary. The whole thing has the feel of a clumsy TV movie. It's race-against-the-clock gives us no real payoff. There is exactly one really good scene here involving Morgan Freeman, a cell phone and a stadium full of people. It also has one interesting little monologue about how the internet and technology has connected terrorism globally like never before. But without any characters, eye-candy action or resonating story we're left pondering why we wasted our time on this thing.
Alternate viewing recommendation: "24 - Season 2". Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer runs circles around Ryan in generally the same plot only more intense, frighteningly timely and on a more epic scale.
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