Critic Reviews



Based on 23 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The fierce-looking Sean Bean is outstandingly good as Ryan's main antagonist, and Patrick Bergin brings the right air of calculation to the terrorist mastermind he plays. Several of the film's main sequences, like an encounter between Mr. Bean's Sean Miller and David Threlfall as the police inspector who has been his captor, derive their horror from the looks of pure loathing that these terrorists bestow upon their prey.
Apart from the odd titter, this is a sound formula suspense movie with spiffy set piece thrills, directed with assurance by Dead Calm's Philip Noyce and attractively played by the plausibly anxious principals.
Given the creative recession in the movies, you could do worse than sit through Patriot Games. If this would-be blockbuster slavishly follows summer movie guidelines, it does so well -- or adequately. Neither poisonous nor great, it never loses sight of its mall-movie mandate, to defend American hearth and home against invincible boy-toy bogymen.
The most interesting aspect of Patriot Games, however, is the casting of Ford as Ryan, given that Alec Baldwin originated the character in the preceding film. In contrast to Baldwin's rather colorless CIA analyst ill-suited for work as an agent, Ford informs his character with believable world-weariness which subsequently transforms into rage at the prospect of harm to his family. In many ways, Ford grounds Patriot Games in a degree of emotion that distinguishes it from most run-of-the-mill action thrillers.
The high-tech stuff is absorbing. Harrison Ford once again demonstrates what a solid, convincing actor he is, and there's good supporting work from Archer, Thora Birch as the Ryans' precocious daughter, and the irreplaceable James Fox as a British cabinet minister. But at the end, when a character is leaping into a burning speedboat in choppy seas, I wondered if this was exactly what Tom Clancy had in mind.
For Patriot Games to have been more than a generic international thriller, it would have needed to take us deep inside the clandestine organizations — the IRA and the CIA — on which Clancy is fixated. That doesn’t happen.
Our favorite parts, though, were the moments of unintentional humor, mostly courtesy of Ms. Archer. Her insufferably goody-goody performance makes you wish Glenn Close would show up brandishing a kitchen knife.
Boston Globe
While Harrison Ford brings all you could hope for to the role of Clancy's hero, CIA analyst Jack Ryan, Patriot Games is a pretty routine, generic and on the whole pedestrian film. Considering the talent and obvious care taken, it's surprisingly flavorless. [5 June 1992, p.25]
So duff that you wonder why they didn't ask Roger Moore to star.
Tom Clancy was right the first time. Paramount's Patriot Games is an expensive stiff. Mindless, morally repugnant and ineptly directed to boot, it's a shoddy followup to Par's 1990 hit "The Hunt for Red October."

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