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Clear and Present Entertainment! Review of Patriot Games.
on October 12, 2013
Wow! Patriot Games is one helluva an action movie! Harrison Ford burns with intensity playing Jack Ryan as an everyman with a deadly right hook and a staunch moral compass...that is *still* the best incarnation of Ryan onscreen. His bar threat to Richard Harris' snaky IRA representative shows an intensity and coldness that Ford rarely shows.
Sean Bean is fiery and unpredictable as vengeance-bent Sean Miller, out for revenge on Jack Ryan with a submachine gun, chiselled cheekbones, and an Ulster accent. Sean Bean is *this* close to being typecast as a villain, he manages to be sympathetic AND menacing - in one of his best roles.
Patrick Bergin is one icy cool customer as he steals the scenes as calculating, psychotic terrorist Kevin O'Donnell. Bergin gives an electrifying performance: violent, menacing, and played with a devilishly cold glint in the eyes.
I was almost ashamed to say that I was proud to be an Irishman as I watched this movie!
The rest of the cast, especially Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Harris, play their roles with aplomb. Technically, the film gets top marks. The score by James Horner is up to the maestro's usual top standards. The editing is excellent and the cinematography is quite often stunning.
Phillip Noyce directs with style and a relevancy that was ahead of it's time. Patriot Games is often surprisingly effective, even if some of the outdated tech is often painful to watch. The action scenes are excellent, riveting, and realistic, with the Irishmen stealing the scenes, or rather, shooting them full of holes with an M16.
Jack Ryan may not be as suave and impeccable chiselled as Bond; he may not know how to kill someone with a hand towel like Jason Bourne...but he has a moral compass, a strong jaw, a stronger right hook, and a sense of decency that, when it is frayed by evil men, can turn into fiery heat in a second. Combined with Tom Clancy's techno-centric, improbable but entertaining plots, Patriot Games is an above average spy thriller.
My rating? 4.5 stars out of 5.
P.S. Rest in peace, Tom Clancy. You wrote books so big they could be used as house bricks in an emergency. Your plots were so complex they needed alternate universes to make sense. Your Jack Ryan is one of America's favorite characters, because he represents the truth, justice, and American way that they strive for. You named one of your books "Red Rabbit", which was brave, to say the least...
You died too soon, so once again I say, rest in peace. I now turn to John le Carre to fill your empty hole, but I know the page count is too thick for it to be filled up...