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The Sum of All Fears (2002)


6/10: The evolution of enmity
Saturday, March 26, 2005

It's easy to make somebody look villainous. You give him a grim dark face, something along the lines of Bela Lugosi, deprive him of any sense of humor, have him speak with an accent, and light his face from below with a hideous green key light. While you're at it, make him a full foot shorter than his American counterpart, played here by John Cromwell who -- and this is a little-known fact -- is the third tallest human being on the planet. All these conventions are adhered to in this movie. The Russian Premier thinks as reasonably as the American president, but it's hard to believe his lines when they come from a mouth with lips that resemble a fresh two-inch incision on somebody's belly.The real problem isn't making someone look like the enemy. It's deciding who should be the enemy in the first place. The Soviets provided us with bad examples...

6/10: Not bad, but you know what to expect
Saturday, July 11, 2020

The enduring character of Jack Ryan, the CIA analyst created by author Tom Clancy, is once again out to prove himself correct on a critically important issue. The scenario has a thoroughly evil, Neo-Nazi fascist played by the great English actor Alan Bates plot to have two major world powers, America and Russia, completely destroy each other. This he will do by smuggling a nuclear bomb into the States and detonating it at a championship football game. Ryan knows the new Russian president, Nemerov (played by Irish actor Ciaran Hinds), is not a hard-liner, and was not responsible for the bombing, so he has to somehow convince all his superiors that this third party is the guilty one.Don't go into this one looking for credibility, despite its attempts to draw on real life and be topical. "The Sum of All Fears" is not for viewers who can't tolerate plot holes. Also, what takes some of...

9/10: Meet The Young Jack Ryan
Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Sum Of All Fears is an action/political thriller that features Jack Ryan,the famous CIA spy developed by Tom Clancy.This is the fourth film about the character that was based on Clancy's novel with the same title after the likes of The Hunt For Red October,Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger were made into films. In it,it features a younger Jack Ryan portrayed by Ben Affleck.The cast also includes Morgan Freeman and Bridget Moynahan. Phil Alden Robinson directed it.The President of Russia passed away and he is succeeded by an unknown whom little information is known.This causes panic to many nations especially the United States.To pacify the fears felt by many,the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Bill Cabot recruits Jack Ryan,a young analyst working from the Russia desk to gather information and provide insight.But many events happen such as the capital of Chechnya is leveled by...

7/10: we are now in a de facto state of war with the Russians
Saturday, July 17, 2021

This is a taut espionage/political thriller while watching, but some of the scenarios require a suspension of disbelief upon considering real world implications. Although a nuclear weapon can be set off at ground level, it's generally triggered in the air above it's intended target at a precise altitude. That's one, with the aftermath of the blast causing radiation poisoning for miles around the surrounding area, something which wasn't even brought up as a concern, except for a mention of the wind in a northern and westerly direction from the explosion site. You're pretty much not expected to think about things like that while watching, but I just can't help it myself.The global political machinations involving Russia's intervention into Chechnya prefaced by a little more than a decade the unrest in the Ukraine when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, so that was somewhat prophetic. From a present day standpoint it's easy...

7/10: A snappy and surprising thriller
Monday, January 2, 2017

Here's a fresh interpretation of a popular Tom Clancy novel, which mixes CIA jargon with presidential anguish into a pleasing, pulse-pounding brew. The impact of the 9/11 disaster is readily apparent in this suspenseful movie which is part disaster-film itself. The old trick of US vs. Russia (but not really) is familiar territory, but through crisp writing and engaging characters the story is given time to develop, strengthening the clichés and making everything very watchable. A strong budget leads to some very effective effects sequences, and cinematography and score are both excellent. The cast is also populated with some strong character actors – Liev Schrieber has never been better than here, as a spy; Morgan Freeman does his 'wise old mentor' role with skill, wit and relish; James Cromwell makes for a very human and believable president; even the usually bland Ben Affleck comes out good, having followed in Harrison Ford's shoes as the heroic Jack...

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