Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) is working as one of the chief analysts for the CIA and the friend and go to guy for Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones). During a briefing at the White House, Jack has to present the findings that he and his team uncovered about a hijacking of a yacht off the coast of the United States. The Coast Guard went after the ship when it began behaving suspiciously and discovered its stateroom filled with blood and the people on board covered in the same blood. What Jack and his analysts found out later is that the owner, a senator and friend of the President of the United State, had been laundering money for one of the Columbia drug cartels and a hit was done because the same senator had been skimming the take to the tune of 650 million dollars and change. During the meeting about the scene on the yacht it seemed that Admiral Greer had indigestion and might be a bit fluish. The President and Greer asked Ryan to look into the mater further and report his findings as soon as possible.
While Jack and his team look into what really happened with the money and the yacht President Bennett (Donald Moffat) and James Cutter (Harris Yulin), the National Security Advisory and confidant of Bennett conspire to take the drug lords out. The President believes that the drug traffic is a clear and present danger to the security of the United States and that something has to be done. When Jack comes back to present his findings and just how deep into the money laundering the senator was the president decides that they should go after the money and claim it for the war on drugs. Jack Ryan knowing that what he has found is more theory then fact the president sends him down to Columbia to get the facts so that they can go after the money. After that meeting he tells Cutter that they need this threat taken care of quietly but in a way that the drug lords will know that the US means business. This puts Cutter in action by him telling the CIA Deputy Director of Operations Robert Ritter (Henry Czerny) that a covert operation has to be put in place. Ritter said that the only way he would do so was if he had written authorization to do so.
Both Ritter and Ryan are to meet with the same informant in Columbia, John Clark (Willem Dafoe). He is the one man that knows everything that is happening down there, at least that is the way Greer tells Jack after laughing at him for walking into the Presidents trap. It is also a Greer that we see dying of pancreatic cancer and that Jack has been recommended to be mad Interim Director Of Intelligence for the CIA. This put Ritter and Ryan as main bosses at the CIA, Jack to oversee intelligence gathering and reports and Ritter to oversee covert operations that are ongoing in the CIA. Since both men are going to see the same man you know that he is well connected. Clark is approached by Ritter to set up a covert operation that will take out the drug lords that are smuggling cocaine to the United States. He wants to see their operations hurt in the most devastating and explosive ways.
The hit on the senator is actually the work of just one man, Ernesto Escobedo (Miguel Sandoval). He found out that his money had been taken and he wanted to make an example by killing the man and his entire family on the yacht. He feels that this will send a powerful message that no one can steal from him. It is his advisory and the real villain of the film, Col. Felix Cortez (Joaquim de Almeida) that tells him just how well connected the senator was and that he should consult with him from now on. There is a rivalry between the two men and rightfully so for it is Col. Felix Cortez who wants to take over all of the drug operations for his own. He too is an intelligence gatherer and will do anything to find out what he needs to. It is his manipulations that actually lead to the deaths of all the local drug lords except that of Ernesto. As he tries to get all of the lords together Clark and his team blow up the compound before the other 2 men even arrive. This gives Felix the perfect chance to make a grab for it all, the only problem is that of the team that he now knows is on the ground.
The explosion at the drug lords compound that was also full of children causes Ryan to start looking deeper into what is going on. In his research he finds out that it was actually a US bomb that caused the destruction and he hacks into Ritter’s computer to get the proof. Ritter finds out and tries to delete all the files before Ryan can get anything that might be considered incriminating. While the 2 men try to get what they need Jack finds out by implication that President Bennett himself authorized the ground forces in Columbia even though Jack has assured the Congressional Committee that no ground troops would be put in place for any of the Columbia operations. Because Jack finds out as well as Felix the operation is canceled except no one told the people on the ground about it. Felix actually makes a deal with Cutter to get the location of the forces on the ground as well as all communications being cut between Clark and the team.
Once Jack finds out about the troops being stranded he takes a flight down there to get them out himself. At the same time Clark is told that if Ryan dies then operations will be reinstated as if nothing had ever happened. With this notion he kidnaps Jack at the airport and then calls Ritter to tell him that Ryan is dead. Ritter just hangs up and realizes that he has been duped and Jack really is there to help get his men out. From there the film is a race to the end to see who will come out the winner and it is one hell of a finish. This movie is going to have you both deep in thought and on the edge of your seat as you try and figure out what is going to happen next.
I give this film a Musing review of