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.
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