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Patriot Games

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 14-10-2010


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Widescreen/ Blu-Ray. Rated R. Ex-CIA agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) is forced back into service when he saves the lives of the English minister to Northern Ireland and his family from a terrorist attack, killing one of the perpetrators in the process. The dead man’s brother, also a member of an IRA splinter faction, vows revenge on Ryan and his family and pursues them to the United States. Ryan knows it is only a matter of time till he comes face to face with his ne… More >>

Patriot Games

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For sheer excitement on the edge of your not-so-easy chair, there’s nothing like a good Jack Ryan story, and I think this is the best of them. The plot involves one of the most obsessed bad guys you’ll ever see, a fanatically militant member of an IRA splinter group whose attack on the British royal family is thwarted almost unconsciously by Ryan, who is visiting England as a tourist/lecturer. Now ex-CIA, Ryan’s family is nearby, and family is central in this tale of the cold-blooded world of international espionage and terrorism. The family angle is one that keeps the story so chilling throughout, as the terrorist’s brother is shot to death by Ryan as he ruins their try on the royals, and our star villain then sets out to stalk Ryan and his wife and daughter.

The film moves at an almost perfect pace, and unveils to us some modern aspects of this shadowy world. For instance, even Ryan, played with understated perfection by Harrison Ford, is creeped out by his participation in a nighttime strike on a desert camp believed to be IRA training ground. In this scene he and several other jacket-and-tie types watch soldiers take out this nest of vipers a half-world away, thanks to infrared and satellite technology, all while detached voices calmly note “Target neutralized” and spies dressed like businessmen smile and nod while whispering to one another in thorough detachment from the blood and guts of the operation. All this technology and we are not removed from the days of the rich people perching on hills near the battles of Civil War days, sipping tea while viewing the entertainment.

I cannot give less than five stars to a film that draws me in so completely as this one, making me feel the tension with such clarity and indeed making it so easy to actually hate the villain. Yet the film strikes sour notes with the drunken Richard Harris’s half-hearted performance as an IRA bigwig, and with the cliched ending moment of an otherwise superb boat chase at the film’s climax. Two distracting moments would mean a score of 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, or, in Amazon terms, 4-1/2 stars. These being minor, a full five stars is quite reasonable. Nearly a perfect action film; even the understated music score is just so right that it can’t be imagined being done any other way.
Rating: 5 / 5

Each time I have watched “Patriot Games” I have been struck by the level of evil in the “bad guys”. The bad guys here are a splinter group of Irish terrorist who will stop at nothing to …well, I’m not positive just what they’re after. Presumably it is getting the English out of Northern Ireland and I guess there may have been some talk about this goal. However, these guys are so bad it would seem they would keep killing even if their stated goals were achieved. This is especially true of the main culprit and it is he and his brother who falls victim when Harrison Ford rescues a member of the royal family from an attempted abduction. The bad guy, played, I believe, by Sean Bean, is caught and sentenced to prison. That would be the end of the movie except he escapes from prison and vows revenge on Ford. How he tries to achieve that revenge is the crux of the movie.

Along the way we get some insight to the CIA’s efforts to combat terrorism as well as some less evil IRA types who DO view their mission as political and not personal. However, the movie succeeds with a very well done showdown between the good guys and the bad guys. That is a particularly well done suspenseful series of events that may have you jumping out of your seat a time or two. It is a credit to Tom Clancy’s book as well as to the director and script writer that this action is so powerfully done.

I admit to some misgivings about the flow of the story. In subsequent viewings I tried to figure out the different collaborations needed to have everything come together but I could not make sense of it. In other words, who let them in and why? Maybe you’ll wonder the same thing when you watch “Patriot Games”. However, I shouldn’t get too caught up on the finer points (except Clancy is generally good at covering them). This is a good movie that I actually enjoyed more the second time I watched it.
Rating: 4 / 5

Patriot Games was the second in a series of adaptations of Tom Clancy’s bestselling novels featuring heroic CIA analyst Jack Ryan. However, Alec Baldwin, who played Ryan in “The Hunt For Red October,” ended up not appearing in this film. But no worries. Ryan is played by stalwart leading man Harrison Ford, who plays Ryan to a tee, as a brave, cerebral man of action.

Ryan is on vacation in England when he interferes with an IRA assassination attempt on a member of the British royal family. He kills one of the terrorists, and his brother, played by Sean Bean, vows revenge. Now, Ryan and his family are threatened by a rogue group of Provos, having to rely on their own wits, and the protection of fellow intelligence officer Samuel L. Jackson, to survive.

This is a crackling good thriller with a great script and taut direction by Phillip Noyce. Ford would go on to play Ryan again in “Clear and Present Danger.” This is an excellent adaptation of a popular novel, which doesn’t happen very often.
Rating: 4 / 5

Not for honor. Not for country. For his wife and child. These three bold statements are emblazoned on the cover of the DVD which, quite briefly, sums up the theme behind this fairly decent adaptation of Tom Clancy’s best selling novel of the same name. While, as with all of the “Clancy” movies, the screenplay, written by W. Peter Iliff is very loosely based on the actual novel, this film is excellent as a stand alone. A minor note about the screenplay, they should’ve stuck with the original ending from the book, it would’ve been much more dramatic. This film certainly stuck a little closer to the original novel than the summer 2002 adaptation of “The Sum of All Fears.”

Replacing “The Hunt for Red October’s” Alec Baldwin and Gates McFadden (best known as Dr. Beverly Crusher from Star Trek The Next Generation) as Jack and Cathy Ryan are Harrison Ford and the ever beautiful Anne Archer. The films producers couldn’t have made a better choice to fill these two integral roles. Reprising the role of Admiral James Greer, James Earl Jones gives another fine performance. The recently departed Richard Harris of Harry Potter fame performs admirably as well. Samuel L. Jackson does well with the role of Commander Robbie Jackson, fellow professor and best friend to Jack Ryan. Performing admirably in the primary antagonist’s role is Sean Bean of Lord of the Rings fame. Outstanding performances by all mentioned.

The score, performed by James Horner, is quite in keeping with his usual high standards. It meshes beautifully with every scene. The DVD itself is not much to speak of, in that the only feature on it is one theatrical trailer. Ultimately this is fine though, as I rate/review movies based on the movie itself, not all of the extraneous other items…

Dr. John Patrick Ryan and his family are on a working vacation in London, England. As he and his family meet up in a park, what appears to be IRA terrorists, blow up a car and are attempting to kidnap members of the Royal family. Throwing caution to the wind, Jack Ryan jumps into the fray…

What follows is an extremely intriguing and well made movie. Many “Clancy” fans may not have found this film to be up to the standards of his novels. This, in my opinion, is not the case, being that it is entirely impossible to film a five hundred plus page novel into two hours. This is not the “Patriot Games” that I’ve read a couple times now, but it is very good as it stands on its own merits.

I highly recommend this film to all those who are interested in a good, suspense filled and action packed thriller. {ssintrepid}
Rating: 5 / 5

Though I really like the movie, this might be the worst looking blu-ray movie I’ve seen, and I own about 50. There is all kinds of light colored pixelization in the darker parts of the film that pulsates and distracts. I tried to find a feedback system on Paramount’s web page, but no such thing seems to exist.

Very disappointing.
Rating: 2 / 5

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