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 predece... more »ssor. 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, theatrical trailer, closed captioning, optional French soundtrack, and optional Spanish subtitles. --Tom Keogh« less
Keith S. from BOUNTIFUL, UT Reviewed on 10/7/2012...
It was good, but lagged in the middle a little.
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Revenge is a dangerous motive......
Alex Diaz-Granados | Miami, FL United States | 07/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"(I wrote this for the original, out of stock version)Clear and Present Danger (1994 film)The third film in the Jack Ryan series (and the last one to star Harrison Ford) deals with America's war on drugs and also the abuse of power in high places. As in Clancy's original novel, the plot hinges on one crucial question: how far can a President go to achieve a laudable goal, even if the means cross moral, legal and international boundaries?As in the novel of the same name, the interception of an American-flagged yacht in the Caribbean results in the arrest of two Colombian "sicarios" (hit men) who have murdered the American owner (along with his entire family). The resulting FBI-CIA investigation reveals that Peter Hardin, the late yacht owner and personal friend of the U.S. President (Donald Moffat), had extensive ties to the Cali drug cartel. Hardin, as Jack Ryan (Ford) explains, had been skimming millions from his "partners," thus sealing his fate.Although Ryan is aware that the President is understandably upset that his late friend was a money launderer for the drug lords, he is not aware that the National Security Advisor, Admiral James Cutter (Harris Yulin) and his CIA colleague Bob Ritter (Henry Czerny) have been given off-the-record orders to do "something about the drugs pouring into the country." When the President declares to Cutter that the drug cartels pose a "clear and present danger" to the United States, the somewhat slimy admiral and Ritter unleash several covert operations within the sovereign nation of Colombia.While Ryan does get orders to go to Bogotá and find out about Hardin's financial dealings with the Cali Cartel, he is totally unaware that Cutter and Ritter have launched Operation Reciprocity, a clandestine invasion of Colombia by Spanish-speaking special-ops troops. These forces, supervised by ex-CIA field officer John Clark (Willem Dafoe), wreak havoc as they blow up drug labs and smuggling aircraft. Nevertheless, Cutter and Ritter keep Ryan in the dark, and the upright analyst and now acting Deputy Director (Intelligence) unknowingly tells a Senate subcommittee that there are no troop deployments planned for Colombia.Further complicating Ryan's life is the sudden discovery that his boss and mentor, Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones), is dying of cancer. Little does he know that his ascent to Greer's job will propel Ryan into the middle of a life and death situation in Colombia...and a constitutional crisis at home.What makes the Jack Ryan books and movies work is not just the slam-bam action sequences or the glimpses at the mysterious workings of the CIA, but the very notion that a CIA employee can be portrayed as an honorable and decent fellow. Tom Clancy clearly desired to show that the agents and analysts who work for the CIA are not the "dark forces" depicted in films such as "Three Days of the Condor" or "Firefox." Nor are they martini-swilling, trigger happy, bed-hopping super-spies like James Bond. Ford (like Alec Baldwin before him, and like Ben Affleck after) shows Ryan has intelligence, courage, and, above all, integrity.As in Patriot Games, Ford also shares a few short yet important scenes with his wife and two children. Ann Archer and Thora Birch returned to play Ryan's wife Cathy and daughter Sally, giving Ryan that most un-Bond-like sense of family and a tie to the audience.Although the screenplay by Donald Stewart, Steven Zaillan, and John (Red Dawn) Millius strip the huge and complex Clancy novel to its bare essentials and changes many scenes and situations, Ford's acting and Philip Noyce's able directing makes Clear and Present Danger a top-notch action thriller. Even though as in Patriot Games the ending is rendered in a good-guy vs. bad-guy shootout (whereas in the novel the ending for the villains was more subtle and thereby more chilling), this movie is still worth watching.The DVD I own is Paramount's first barebones release. Of course, even that is an improvement over the pan-and-scan "full screen" VHS tape I had previously owned. The movie has been restored to its original Widescreen presentation, given Dolby digital audio in both English and French, Spanish subtitles, English captions, interactive menus, and the theatrical trailer. The newer version has commentary tracks, making-of featurettes, and other extras."
A Tasty Brew
Robert Morris | Dallas, Texas | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of two films based on Clancy's novels which really work, the other being The Hunt for Red October. It is certainly far superior to Patriot Games in terms of plausibility and cohesion of narrative, quality of acting, exploration of central issues, and ultimate resolution of various conflicts. I do think the escape by helicopter from one drug lord's compound was overdone but the film concludes appropriately with Ryan's final conversation with President Bennett (Donald Moffatt) and then his arrival at the subcommittee hearing chaired by Senator Mayo (Hope Lange). I still would have preferred that Alec Baldwin continue as Jack Ryan but concede that Harrison Ford is far more credible in this film than he was in Patriot Games, perhaps because he and his colleagues were working with a much better screenplay, one on which John Milius collaborated with Donald E. Stewart and Steve Zaillian. (It should be noted that Stewart and Zaillian also collaborated on the screenplay and must share at least some of the blame for Patriot Games' inadequacies. Both films were also directed by Phillip Noyce, another accomplice.) Having the President of the United States actively involved in Danger's narrative gives it a unique substance, to be sure, but also affords valuable opportunities to explore moral corruption and political expediency at the highest levels of government.There are several outstanding performances, including Moffatt's in a difficult role as is Henry Czerny's as Robert Ritter, deputy director of the C.I.A. and Ryan's principal adversary; also Willem Dafoe as Clark and Harris Yulin as Cutter. Anne Archer reprises her do-nothing-but-beam role as Cathy Ryan, adoring wife; James Earl Jones also reprises his role as Admiral James Greer whose health problems deny Ryan his mentor and friend's assistance when needed most. This is a "techno-thriller" in several respects but its special effects are almost never gratuitous. An important sub plot involves Moira Wolfson (Ann Magnuson) who is the F.B.I. director's administrative assistant and a key source of classified information which she provides to Felix Cortes (brilliantly played by Joaquim DeAlmeida) whom she believes to be a reputable businessman, not knowing that he is a key operative for one of the Colombian drug lords. Wolfson loves Cortes to death, literally. Lots of well-staged action, including an ambush of the F.B.I. director and his entourage, another ambush of American troops in the jungle (a callous and bloody betrayal by their government), a missile attack on the drug lords and their families, and the final helicopter escape by Ryan and Clark. As in The Hunt for Red October, the story line sustains the film's momentum, aided by generally solid performances. I do not consider this film an indictment of any specific administration or foreign policy. Clancy is primarily a storyteller, not a polemicist. The United States will continue to have clear and present dangers no matter who is in the White House. When this film was first released (in 1994), one reviewer suggested that it was inspired in part by some of former C.I.A. director William Casey's elaborate schemes for secret operations against the drug lords. (I have no idea whether or not that is true.) In any event, I find this a thoroughly entertaining, well-made film and look forward to seeing it again."
One of the best special effects movies on DVD
S. Haldar | Seattle, WA | 08/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not only is this a very well-directed and action-packed movie, it also has one of the best surround sound-encoded tracks available on DVD releases. If you have a dolby digital 5.1 surround system, this movie will really overwhelm you. The explosions will shake the ground....a true theater experience without going to the theater."
Ryan, The Drug Cartels, And CIA Abuse
Erik North | San Gabriel, CA USA | 01/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The third installment in the cinematic series based on Tom Clancy's CIA analyst Jack Ryan, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER is a long but engrossing political action thriller that once again puts Harrison Ford, the thinking man's action film actor, in the role of Ryan.This time around, Ford investigates the murder of a close friend of the President (Donald Moffatt) by Colombian drug cartel hitmen. When his mentor (James Earl Jones) falls ill due to pancreatic cancer, Ford is suddenly put in charge as deputy director of the CIA. He continues his investigation of the murders and ties them in with one particular drug cartel leader (Miguel Sandoval) with whom the murdered man had a little issue with ill-gotten money,....But what Ford doesn't know is that, on orders from the revenge-minded Moffatt, his second deputy (Henry Czerny) and the president's national security advisor (Harris Yulin) have ordered a rogue officer named Clark (Willem Dafoe) in with a covert military team to put a huge dent in the cartel's activities. Dafoe and his team are successful at what they do, but the cartels retaliate with deadly results on Ford's friends in the FBI during a visit to Bogota. And when Ford finds out about the operation, he finds himself going down to Colombia a second time to help spirit Dafoe and the covert team out of harm's way.Ably directed, once more, by Phillip Noyce (DEAD CALM; PATRIOT GAMES), CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER gives Ford another chance to prove his mettle in the action genre. The suspense and CIA intrigue are all laid out exceptionally well by Noyce and his first-rate cadre of screenwriters, Donald Stewart, Steven Zaillian, and John Milius. Jones is at his usual best as the now-dying Admiral Greer, and Anne Archer returns as Ford's wife.But a performance really worth noting here is Czerny's as the unconsciously corrupt CIA deputy director Robert Ritter. About as uncouth and conniving a heavy as there has ever been in the movies, his performance is absolutely chilling and believable. It makes the whole notion of our government going beyong reasonable bounds even more credible than it already is.Some will object to the film not pandering to Clancy's right-wing political points of view or his gung-ho pro-military stance, but that isn't necessarily what this movie is about. It does not condemn covert military action, but it does question the wisdom of sending men into a war zone where the risks are extreme, the reasons for such actions are vague at best, and there is no clear exit strategy. Such points are made extremely well in this film's action format; and for those reasons, it gets the highest marks."
A smart action thriller
scherf.com | Las Vegas, NV USA | 10/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is based on a Tom Clancy novel and it is simply awesome. The plot and subplots are well thought through and the execution as a motion picture is extremely well done. The story is about drug lords in Colombia who are connected to the folks behind secret doors in Washington. By direct order of the President, CIA agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) has to solve the murders of a wealthy businessman and his family. The hunt takes Ryan back and forth between Washington and South America. More killings happen and the action becomes intense. Finally, there's a dangerous field operative (Willem Dafoe) who conducts covert operations for the U.S. government. The movie contains excellent cinematography, drama and action. We've watched it many times and it's always a delight as it is one of these rare breathtaking quality thrillers one will want to watch over and over again."