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
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"The Sum of All Fears" is the latest film in the Jack Ryan series as written by Tom Clancy. In the previous films, Ryan was presented as a family man and played by Alex Baldwin and Harrison Ford. This time around we are asked to accept a Ryan who is 25 years younger (Ben Affleck), unmarried and a nerdy, wet behind the ears CIA historian. The age difference would have been more believable had the film been set in 1973, when the story begins, rather than the present.
Anyway, the story is about a disgruntled ex-Nazi, Dressler (Alan Bates) who acquires a nuclear device and plans to instigate a war between the USA and Russia and then take over when the super powers destroy each other. The new Russian President, Nemerov (Ciaran Hinds) is set up by Dressler to be blamed for a nuculear attack which wipes out a large part of Baltimore. U.S. President Fowler (James Cromwell) calls in the CIA headed by William Cabot (Morgan Freeman).
Cabot enlists the aide of historian Jack Ryan (Affleck) because Ryan has done a thorough study on Nemerov. Ryan believes the Russian to be innocent even though all around him believe him guilty. As each side prepares to launch their respective missles, Ryan and CIA Operative John Clark (Liev Schrieber) are busily gathering information and Ryan is racing against the clock to convince Fowler of Nemenov's innocence.
Affleck tries his best to make us forget Harrison Ford but to no avail. He simply cannot be taken seriously as the man who holds the world's fate in his hands. Freeman is excellent as always and Cromwell and Hinds stand out as the two world leaders. Bates makes a nasty villain and Schrieber is good as the mysterious man with a past, Clark. Bridget Moynahan appears as Affleck's love interest and future wife.
The real star of the picture are the special effects. The nuclear explosion is realistic and believable and the attack on the aircraft carrier is equally good.
I hope that in the next Jack Ryan movie, he is portrayed by someone who is at least old enough to shave.
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