The Hunt for Red October: Before Harrison Ford assumed the mantle of playing Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan hero in Patriot Games, Alec Baldwin took a swing at the character in this John McTiernan film and hit one to the fence. If less instantly sympathetic than Ford, Baldwin is in some respects more interesting and nuanced as Ryan, and drawing comparisons between both actors' performances can make for some interesting postmovie discussion. That aside, The Hunt for Red October stands alone as a uniquely exciting adventure with a fantastic costar: Sean Connery as a Russian nuclear submarine captain attempting to defect to the West on his ship. Ryan must figure out his true motives for approaching the United States. McTiernan (Predator, Die Hard) made an exceptionally handsome movie here, with action sequences that really do take one's breath away. --Tom Keogh Patriot Games: Let's see--he's been Han Solo in three films and Indiana Jones in three more. So why shouldn't Harrison Ford take on a new continuing character in Tom Clancy's CIA analyst Jack Ryan? In this film, directed by Phillip Noyce, Ford picked up the baton when Alec Baldwin, who played Ryan in The Hunt for Red October, opted for a Broadway role instead. In this film Ryan and his family are on vacation when Ryan saves a member of the British royal family from attack by Irish terrorists. The next thing he knows, the Ryan clan has been targeted by the same terrorists, who invade his Maryland home. The film can't shed all of Clancy's lumbering prose, or his techno-dweeb fascination with spy satellites and the like. But no one is better than Ford at righteous heroism--and Sean Bean makes a suitably snakey villain. --Marshall Fine Clear and Present Danger: The third installment in the cinematic incarnation of Tom Clancy's CIA analyst Jack Ryan and the second starring Harrison Ford, this follow-up to Patriot Games is a more complex, rewarding, and bolder film than its predecessor. Ford returns as Ryan, this time embroiled in a failed White House bid to wipe out a Colombian drug cartel and cover up the mess. The script, by Clancy and John Milius (Red Dawn), has an air of true adventure about it as Ryan places himself in harm's way to extract covert soldiers abandoned in a Latin American jungle. There are a couple of remarkable set pieces expertly handled by Patriot Games director Phillip Noyce, especially a shocking scene involving an ambush on Ryan's car in an alley. The supporting cast is superb, including Willem Dafoe as the soldiers' leader, Henry Czerny as Ryan's enemy at the CIA, Joaquim de Almeida as a smooth-talking villain, Ann Magnuson as an unwitting confederate in international crime, and James Earl Jones as Ryan's dying boss. The DVD release has a widescreen presentation, a theatrical trailer, closed captioning, an optional French soundtrack, and optional Spanish subtitles. --Tom Keogh
Production: Paramount Home Video
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations.
- PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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