CIA analyst Jack Ryan must stop the plans of a Neo Nazis 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 sequence where the aircraft carrier U.S.S. John C. Stennis (CVN-74) is attacked and crippled by Russian Tu-22 Backfire bombers with missiles is a composite of at least two of Tom Clancy's novels. The overall sequence of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier being almost sunk by Backfire-launched missiles is from 'Red Storm Rising' (1986), though the aircraft carrier in question was the U.S.S. Nimitz (CVN-68) rather than the Stennis. The Stennis, however, does appear and gets damaged in a later book, 'Debt of Honor' (1994), although not to the extent shown in this film.
(As a side note, 'Red Storm Rising' is one of Clancy's few novels not to be set in the Jack Ryan universe). See more »
The vending machine with the bomb has a length of twisted red-and-black wiring showing at the front, although there is no reason why this should be so. Clark finds some pieces of this wiring in the factory in the Ukraine, but all this means is that some electrical equipment was being worked on; it certainly doesn't prove it was a nuclear bomb. See more »
In 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack against Israel. By Day Two, Israeli ground forces appeared on the verge of defeat. In the event that their ground forces were overrun, an Israeli A-4 jet took off on patrol with one nuclear bomb.
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After reading several negative reviews, I was shocked when I finally saw `The sum of all fears'. I simply LOVED this movie . It was totally thrilling. It had all the ingredients of a great adventure and to top it off it was visually poetic and emotionally stirring.
I never read the book this is based on, and I'm not a Tom Clancy fan. I came into this movie expecting to hate it, because I have hated all the other films in the Jack Ryan series. They were too dry and technical, lacking immediacy or emotion and they felt more like lectures on the way government works and how the military operates than movies. Those films were made for Tom Clancy fans. The sum of all fears was made for a different audience, which is unfortunate since it is based on one of his novels. There is no doubt that it crosses the line into fantasy several times for dramatic effect. Things happen that probably wouldn't happen in real life. People do things that are impossibly heroic and unrealistic. I'm convinced this is why Clancy fans hate this adaptation. For me, these traits (considered flaws by many people) helped free the movie from the constraints of absolute realism, allowing it to become more poetic and powerful than it ever could be otherwise.
Director Phil Alden Robinson deserves most of the praise for this film. He's a new name for me, but looking at his filmography, it was interesting to see that he was the writer and director for field of dreams, another film that I totally loved. He was a very odd choice to helm this film, because field of dreams is a bizarre movie where reality and fantasy meet head on. It's an ultra surreal American fairy tale. It's like a happy David Lynch film, or a Luis Buñuel film with a wholesome center. This is not the kind of director you would normally choose to make a movie like the sum of all fears. The clash between the ultra realism of Clancy's material and Robinson's willingness to forgo realism in favor of dreamy fairy tale lyricism creates a wonderful sense of vibrancy that I would never have anticipated.
After seeing the sum of all fears, I am now convinced that Robinson will go on to make a huge name for himself. He is a truly gifted director with an incredible ability to communicate through images. I can't wait to see his next film. If field of dreams is any indication, he is just good a writer as he is as a director, and I am excited to see what other sorts of ideas he might produce.
The movie also has tremendous performances by Morgan Freeman, and (surprisingly) Ben Affleck. He's way to young to play Jack Ryan, so he doesn't even try. The Jack Ryan in this movie is a reinvented character. He's basically a young guy, with the mentality of an idealist, working his way up in the CIA, while trying to juggle a bachelors social life. For me, he works in this film and he plays that kind of character perfectly.
The bottom line is this: If you love Tom Clancy and you've read every one of his books, you're probably going to hate this movie. If you have never read the book, and have no real interest in Clancy's work, you'll probably at least enjoy it. If your like me, and you don't mind films that let drama interfere with rationality, you'll probably love it.
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