a critiQal film review Patriot Games (1992)

Plot: Jack Ryan (Ford) is visiting England with his family when an unprecedented terrorist attack on the Royal Family happens right before his eyes. Unable to just stand by and watch it happen, Ryan gets involved, and kills one of the terrorists. Another terrorist, Sean Miller (Bean), is captured, and Ryan learns that Sean is brother to the man he killed. Now Sean is out for a little bit of payback, and Ryan will have to watch his (and his family's) backs.

413 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 3s)
  • ...arguably the best Jack Ryan novel by Tom Clancy is turned into the best Jack Ryan film to date!

Of all the Tom Clancy novels I’ve read, Patriot Games is the one I most wanted to see turned into a movie. They had done a good job with another of his novels (The Hunt For Red October) so I was definitely interested to see if they could transfer this incredible book to the big screen.

Harrison Ford does a much better job than Alec Baldwin (in The Hunt for Red October (1990)) as Jack Ryan. Ford puts much more feeling into his characters, and Alec Baldwin would not have been able to meet the demanding challenges of this film. Anne Archer also does an excellent job as Jack’s wife Cathy.

The enemies in Patriot Games are also well played with Sean Bean leading the enemy cast as Sean Miller, and with Patrick Bergin, among others, also contributing nicely.

Samuel L. Jackson and James Earl Jones, as Jack’s friend and CIA boss, respectively, also turn in some good performances.

Patriot Games is extremely well-crafted. Although leaving out large parts of the book, the plot stays whole, and the film moves along at a good pace – not too rushed, but quick enough. With twists and turns tossed in along the way that mesh nicely with the rest of the movie, the plot keeps you interested, and the characters and cinematography effects just grab your attention even more.

The best parts of Patriot Games are done with some nice cinematography. A semi-soothing Enya song playing in the background conveys a much more intense effect during an execution than just a regular run-of-the-mill shot. Or, when Jack reads his daughter a story, the clandestine meeting he has with the spokesman of the IRA takes on a whole new feeling with Jack’s voice overlaying the entire scene.

It’s the interesting shots like these that bring Patriot Games to a whole new level. While the plot and characters are also major factors, it’s scenes like those that will stick in your mind after the film is done.

With the great performances turned in by the cast (especially Harrison Ford), the highly intriguing plot, and the great new approach to scenes, Patriot Games ranks high on my list of best movies of all time. The only fault is the final confrontation – for just a moment, the movie falls back to run-of-the-mill. But, even with that, this is a movie that’s a step above most.

Don’t waste the time to rent it, just buy a copy of Patriot Games for yourself today!

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