Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) has left the CIA and is in Britain speaking to their military. His wife Cathy (Anne Archer) and daughter Sally (Thora Birch) get caught up in an assassination attempt on Lord Holmes (James Fox) and his family in London. Ryan saves the day. Sean Miller (Sean Bean) is captured while his brother is killed. Kevin O'Donnell (Patrick Bergin) escapes. He leads a splinter group of Irish terrorists along with his girlfriend Annette (Polly Walker). They break out Miller and set off to take revenge on the Ryan family.This is a good but not great Jack Ryan movie. Harrison Ford does this type of role quite well. The film could have tighten the tension a bit more in the first half. The courtroom achieves little. Sean Bean screaming at Harrison Ford after the shootout would have been more intense. His escape could have been a great car chase but it's surprisingly static. Other than the cold blooded killings, there's nothing interesting there. Even Jack and Cathy's phone call before the crash could have been more intense. He has literally escaped death and yet he's so coy about the danger. I do like the section where he's looking for the terrorists in North Africa with the satellite. It's cerebral and probably the most memorable part of the movie. On the other hand, the terrorists seem to be everywhere which seems odd. First they take the slow boat to America, then escape to North America and then somehow return back to America.
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Harrison Ford is Jack Ryan, a former CIA agent, coming to London for a conference in British Naval Academy, only to find himself in the middle of a terrorist ambush against a distant cousin of the Royal Family. Well, what do you know, he successfully disarms the terrorists, killing in the process the 17-year old brother of Sean Miller (Sean Bean), while the others manage to escape. Ryan instantly makes it to the top of Miller's enemy list and we understand it's only a matter of time before we get a hand-to-hand confrontation.The time is 100 minutes during which Philp Noyce's "Patriot Games" fulfills every premise of an action/thriller: the bad guy's escape, the cowardly attack on Ryan's wife and daughter, a failed (but alarming) one on Ryan, and a cat-and-mouse chase via such exciting tools as political surveillance, mug shots, satellites and glimpses of memory. And after having initially declined the offer, Ryan finally accepts to get back to the CIA (all it took was to measure up how serious the threat against his family was). These are predictable elements meaning to provide the perfect dosage of adrenalin and suspense but what makes them work is the 'intelligence' involved in Ryan's quest for Miller, making him more of a thinker than a typical physical hero. The script insists enough on Ryan's expertise as an analyst.And there is the whole political back-story, as if the so-called "Patriot Games" were not without rules, one of them being an understandable yet redundant bit of correctness. Basically, Noyce is extremely careful on depicting the villainous group as an independent and more fanatic branch of the Irish Republican Army lead by O'Donnell (Patrick Bergin) who was part of the initial attack. It's comprehensible for a film with international ambitions to play on the safe side not to lose the Irish audience, but we get the point more than needed. One of the IRA leaders is brutally killed in his bed, by O'Donnell's sexy girlfriend (Polly Walker) and the same O'Donnell kills a friend at short range, so the distance between the IRA and the bad guys is clearly and categorically established. Yet did these precautions matter? For all the political context the script provides, it all leads up to the 'personal' story between Miller and Ryan, Miller who didn't give a damn about fighting for Ireland as soon as his brother hit the ground. Did it also matter when the portrayal of Arabs was more careless? After all, just put your terrorists in any desert camp in 'North Africa' (no need to specify the exact location), throw a name like Gaddafi (Saddam works sometimes) and that's it. I was glad there wasn't any character wearing a red Saudi top hat and shouting some Arab gibberish, to provide the little touch of authenticity. As usual, it's a camp in Libya and like all the camps in Libya, the one that welcomed the bad guys had to be bombed (recent events proved that reality could go that far).Still, it was a nice touch to show the perplexed face of Harrison Ford, during the camp's bombing, looking from infrared screens, wounded 'terrorist' dragging their way out from fire. His reaction to one of the young upstarts uttering an enthusiastic "Now, that's a kill" while sipping coffee, says it all, the man has gotten soft, which means in our language, more 'human' and we understand how his 'family' lifestyle turned him into a thinker. And this is the sympathetic little twist "Patriot Games" gives us, a different Harrison Ford character, sweeter, gentler, only using force in case of necessary defense. In one of the film's boldest moves, he's prevented from a certain death by a Naval guard. This shows how vulnerable he truly is and how even his determination isn't enough to avoid the worst. Another effective moment consisted on a shot on his face while he stares at a thick cloud of smoke coming from the freeway, indicating that a car (not any car) had crashed. This is certainly one of the film's most haunting moments as you can read the desperation of a man who realizes that his loved ones are also part of these damn games (although you wonder why they planned to kill him since killing his family and letting him live with that would have been enough a revenge) "Patriot Games" doesn't bring much freshness to the genre but surprisingly offers a hero who's not your typical cynical macho guy, with marital troubles. Ryan has a beautiful and devoted wife. I could have said that Anne Archer seemed to reprise her role from "Fatal Attraction", but the whole film borrows elements from Adrian Lyne's classic, like the car-accident, the big isolated family house, becoming ominous under a stormy night and the mandatory daughter.Indeed, like for every family in trouble, it's a girl that accentuates the defenselessness when family comedies have young boys who wish their daddies would spend more time with them. But Thora Birch manages to appear like a smart but not precocious girl. The whole 'family' vibes feeling is clearly palpable all through the film, and it's pleasantly surprising how it is used even during the few exchanges with the intimidating James Earl Jones and Jack's buddy, played by a friendlier Samuel L. Jackson. Naturally, there is not much family feeling when the climax starts, especially when you got a fight in a speeding boat on fire about to hit rocks, a move that disappointed many Tom Clancy readers.Speaking for me, I've never read Clancy, never saw "Hunt for Red October" either (but I'm looking forward to seeing it) so all I had were reverse expectations, I thought I was going to see an action-packed movie starring a super-heroic Harrison Ford, and I was pleasantly surprised by how intelligent and family oriented he was. I guess I'm among the ones who see the half-full glass.
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PATRIOT GAMESWhat a great thriller...I remember this getting released back in the 90s... and I was never really interested. I can't remember why because this is a great movie.The movie is about an ex CIA agent who foils an assassination attempt on a member of the royal family. Because one of the terrorists got killed during the attempt, the IRA want revenge on him. They travel to the USA and try to kill him and his family.The story is brilliant. Great action and on the edge of your seat thrills. It has got some good twists that I never saw coming and the movie runs very smoothly. I didn't get bored at all and really enjoyed this from beginning to end.This has got a host of stars. Harrison Ford takes the lead and he plays it brilliantly. I like Harrison in a lot of movies, especially thrillers. My favourite thriller of his is What Lies Beneath. Patriot Games also stars Anne Archer, Patrick Bergin, Sean Bean, Thora Birch, Samuel L. Jackson & James Earl Jones. I think all of these actors are great. I also think this is the youngest I have seen Thora in a movie. I would say the only thing I wasn't very keen on was her character. The way she reacted just seemed very unrealistic to me. People were getting shot and attacked all around this little girl and she stayed calm and even smiled at one point. I am pretty sure any other little girl would be scared, crying or freaking out.The movie has a great 90s feel to it. I always think that the 90s released a lot of great thrillers. In fact most of my favourite thrillers are from the 90s. The Juror & Sleeping with the Enemy are 2 that stick out in my mind that were exceptionally brilliant.I will give this 7 out of 10.A great thriller with a great cast list... I will be watching Clear & Present Danger tomorrow.For more of my reviews, please like my Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ordinary-Person-Movie- Reviews/456572047728204?ref=hl