Based on the book from Tom Clancy, Patriot Games, this film is a solid hit in the action and intrigue department. We have all the right players to give audiences a ride that they are likely never to forget. You have international players with terrorists from the IRA and members of the CIA who Jack Ryan used to work for. It is evident early on what you are going to see happen in the film, it might even be telegraphed for you but you are not going to care. You are going to want to see how this one ends and will be on the edge of your seat no matter how many time you might watch it. Director Phillip Noyce and screenplay writers have done a good job translating the story to the screen even though several elements were changed from that of the book.
Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) is an instructor at Annapolis Naval Academy and his wife Caroline “Cathy” (Anne Archer) is top notch surgeon and eye doctor. She is glad that her husband is no longer in the CIA and looks forward to all the time that she is able to spend with them. At the start of the film Jack, Cathy and their daughter Sally Ryan (Thora Birch) are in London, England in the United Kingdom so that Jack can give a speech at the Royal Naval Academy. Jack’s knowledge of naval history made his invitation possible and it gave the family a nice vacation as well. The speech goes well and the family starts to enjoy the sites of London when everything goes down hill when Jack rushes in to save the cousin of the Queen Mother, Lord William Holmes (James Fox) the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
A radical branch of the IRA, the Ulster Liberation Army is getting ready to try and kidnap the royal Lord William Holmes so that they can hold him for ransom. They don’t want money, they want all the political prisoners released and Northern Ireland set free. They don’t care who might get hurt all they care about is getting what they want and a name for themselves. The leader of the small group Kevin O’Donnell (Patrick Bergin) doesn’t care what the brigade commanders think and is willing to do what is needed to make sure that the ULA’s agenda is taken care of. With the help of Sean Miller (Sean Bean) and Sean’s brother they strike at the Royal only to be foiled when Jack rushes in. Jack told Adm. James Greer (James Earl Jones) that it made him mad. His family was right there and the violence was taking place right in front of his daughter. He couldn’t just stand there and do nothing so he acted without any thought for himself. During the fight Sean’s brother is killed by Ryan. Ryan ends up in the hospital and stays to testify in the trial of Sean Miller before returning home.
Shortly after being convicted Sean is moved to another prison. It is during the transfer that he is rescued by Kevin O’Donnell and they take off to train in North Africa. It is also when Greer tried to recruit Jack by telling him of Miller’s escape. He turns the Admiral down and gets back to his life. Shortly after he is attacked after leaving the Naval Academy and his wife and daughter are hospitalized. It is this one action that makes Jack go to the CIA and start working for them to analyze all the data that they have on Miller and the people that he is working with. This information that he uncovers is going to lead Jack and his family down a path of wild adventure and danger that only he can protect them from.
Even though Tom Clancy initially disowned the film because of the changes from the book the film stands on its own very well. If you are a stickler for accuracy between book and film you are not going to be pleased. If you are a person that loves a good action film and love to see Harisson Ford then you are going to love this film. Either way there is no denying that this is one hell of a film that just about anyone can enjoy.
I give this film a Musing review of