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Laramie Movie Scope:
Patriot Games

Another Clancy-based thriller

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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June 9, 1992 -- ``Patriot Games,'' another Tom Clancy novel brought to the screen, is another solid film, like its predecessor ``Hunt for Red October.''

``Patriot Games,'' starring Harrison Ford, is a high-energy rendition of Clancy's high-tech spy novels. Ford plays Clancy's main hero, John Ryan, who is forced to come out of retirement to go back to work for the CIA to protect his family from a terrorist group.

Ford is very likable in his role as the reluctant hero. Anne Archer is believable as Ryan's wife. The villains, a violent splinter group of the Irish Republican Army, are one-dimensional bad guys in the film, kind of like the Nazis in old World War II movies. Richard Harris has a nice bit role as an IRA sympathizer who can't quite stomach the violent splinter group causing all the trouble.

According to those who have read the book, not much of Clancy's attention to detail comes through in the film, and the gadgetry is not played up as much as it is in the book. The film gets down to the basics, like protecting one's family.

Ryan captures one of the terrorists during an attempted kidnapping of a member of the royal family in London and is targeted for revenge by the brother of a terrorist he has killed. The terrorists attack and nearly kill his wife and child, prompting Ryan to seek help from the brotherhood of his old CIA buddies. As the film's co-producer, Mace Neufeld, put it, this is a ``character-driven action piece.''

I didn't think this film quite measured up to ``The Hunt for Red October'' as a thriller, but it is pretty close to that level. Director Phillip Noyce (Dead Calm) does a good job of keeping the energy level up throughout the film. Production values are high, but they should be. This film cost over $40 million to produce. The stunts are excellent.

Reportedly, two more Clancy movies are planned with Ford playing John Ryan, ``Clear and Present Danger,'' followed by ``The Sum of all Fears.'' Let's hope they are as good as this one is. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)