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Drama - Spies

Patriot Games (1992)

Duration1h 57m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Spain: 18,
Source of storyA novel of the same name by Tom Clancy
DirectorPhillip Noyce
Writers/ScriptW. Peter Iliff, Donald E. Stewart
StarringHarrison Ford, Anne Archer, Sean Bean, James Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones, Richard Harris, Alun Arnstrong, 
RatingsIMDb: 6.9 by 102,849 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 73% by 40 critics.

Elevator Pitch: When CIA analyst Jack Ryan is visiting London he saves the life of a member of the royal family who is being ambushed by a unit of the Provisional IRA. Some of the attackers are killed and one, Miller, is captured and jailed. But the villains break him out of jail and he embarks on a trail of revenge against Ryan putting his wife and daughter at risk and eventually leading to an attack on the luxurious Ryan residence via a training camp in North Africa, while the rescued member of the British royal family is on a visit to present the CIA man with an award.

Content:  Well, Ryan and his wife drink champagne in bed, but that’s as far as it goes. The attack in London takes place, and the trial of Miller  then Miller’s rescue by his sidekicks. It is evident that the IRA have someone under cover in the UK government who they contact through a bookshop owner. There are some killings by different factions of the IRA. The desert camp is raided but Miller has already left to arrive in America in a small ship. The final attack and its aftermath goes on for a long time, with an underwhelming action conclusion.

A View: This movie was quite well thought of by the critics and it made money. As usual Harrison Ford did pretty well, although his expression throughout seemed to indicate that he might have a small stone in one of his shoes. I am not in favour of Hollywood action thrillers about the Irish Troubles where a daring American rescues we poor Brits. The real events were in general much more dramatic, and much more complex than anything the scriptwriters could have thought up, and those of us who are old enough probably had our lives disrupted by bombings, real or fake.  But probably a watch if you can maintain the view that the film is just a story.

Additional Info: This is the second Jack Ryan film, the first featuring Alec Baldwin as the  CIA man, who claims that he was pushed out of the role in favour of Harrison Ford. 

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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