|The Sum of All Fears
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- The Moose Hole - 'Fears' Realized
Ben Affleck is not the most likely actor you would expect to see playing CIA agent Jack Ryan from the famous Tom Clancy novels. But whether you like him or not, he is the third actor to take on the role after Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October and Harrison Ford in Patriot Games and Clear & Present Danger and it will be interesting to see how the film fares out. Not for the sake of Affleck's ability to take on the role but to see if a film with a story so deeply involved on terrorism can succeed. Though the villains in the film had been changed from Muslim terrorists from the novel to Neo-Nazis, this decision was made before the September 11th attacks and kind of represents our innocence back then. If the film pays off in the end, perhaps studios will be less reluctant to release films in genre like they are now.
The story for the fourth film based on the Jack Ryan series finds the famous Tom Clancy character at a much younger age then in the previous theatrical efforts and showcases his early start in the CIA. Jack Ryan is recruited to the CIA program by Bill Cabot after the president of Russia dies and is replaced by a man the United States does not know about and therefore fears. The only thing they have on him is the report that Ryan wrote on him years ago. After a bomb goes off during the Super Bowl in Baltimore, Ryan must get the right information to the president before a conflict between Russia and the United States ignites World War III. The story for The Sum of All Fears holds together pretty well and the reason may be because it is based on a best selling novel with little changes made overall. Despite this being a lower budgeted effort then Attack of the Clones or The Scorpion King, the story for this film is ten times better then the more budgeted fare.
Though the cast really only carries two big names, those being Affleck and Freeman, the cast is put together well with plenty of lesser known, but exceedingly more talented, actors. Ben Affleck, who has had a series of unmemorable films including Reindeer Games and Bounce, takes over for Harrison Ford in the role of Jack Ryan and, quite frankly, doesn't do bad of job. Affleck certainly proves the critics wrong about his range of acting by showing much more emotion then previous efforts like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. Morgan Freeman is, once again, wonderful and one has to wonder if there will be a role that he can't pull off. James Cromwell comes off effectively as the President of the United States who is faced with decision of whether to push the button or not. Obviously the emotions are extremely intense in this feature and the delightful cast of characters make the film all the more so though they aren't as great the leading roles, which can be expected from time to time in films of this nature.
Overall, The Sum of All Fears, despite some eerie unintentional reflections of September 11th, manages to hold its ground with such explosive material. At the time the film was released, India and Pakistan were near nuclear war and the United States was involved in the war on terrorism with the horrible images of the World Trade Center attacks still embedded in our minds. With those events in mind the release of this film may seem a bit controversial but they actually help make the film more realistic and message it expresses is more efficiently produced because of that. The Sum of All Fears awakens people to the real problems in the world and may give some people the incentive to join government programs like the military or the CIA. If a film can inspire young movie-going to achieve a promising job then that film deserves some praise. Certainly not as exciting as the other summer efforts but an overall good popcorn thriller....more info
- An awe-inspiring, well-conceived thriller
Maybe I'm too easy to please, but I found The Sum of All Fears to be one powerful humdinger of a motion picture. I should point out that I came into this film with no preconceptions; I have not read any of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels, nor have I seen any of the earlier movies starring Harrison Ford in the central role. I can certainly see how major and strange a transition it must be for fans to go from the older Ford to the young Affleck, and the obvious disparity between the film and the book that inspired it would also probably bother me had I previously read Clancy's 1991 novel. I was attracted to this movie for two reasons: one is the plot. Delaying the release of this film in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack was the right thing to do, given the subject matter dealt with here, but it also served to pique my interests in the film. As an old and unrepentant Cold Warrior now viewing the world through eyes permanently rimmed red by the reprehensible actions of cowardly terrorists, the idea of an American-Russian nuclear war brought about by the maneuvering of terrorists definitely spoke to me. The other aspect of the film that appealed to me was the prominent role played by Morgan Freeman. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again: in my opinion, Morgan Freeman is the greatest actor working today.
The complex yet tightly-wound plot of this film is impressive. The sudden death of a Soviet (now Russian) leader still carries with it a significant amount of trepidation in the West, but this film takes such fears to an unprecedented level. The characterization of Russian President Nemerov is, I think, the most crucial element of this entire plot, and it comes off magnificently. Talk about being boxed in against a wall. Try being a new Russian leader already regarded as a hard-liner by basically everyone in the West (except for CIA analyst Jack Ryan) and then have forces that should be under your control but are not attack Grozny, Chechnya, with horrible chemical weapons. No Russian President can admit less than total control of his military. Then have a nuclear bomb go off in a major American city, a tragedy made to look rather convincingly as an act of Russian aggression. Americans are going to respond to such an attack with extreme prejudice. Thus, before you have your new Presidential chair adequately adjusted for your comfort, you're on the brink of nuclear war. Ciaran Hinds deserves all the credit I can give him for his convincing performance as President Nemerov; he (not Affleck, and not even Freeman) makes this motion picture the overwhelming success I think it is.
The entire cast of this film is excellent (even Affleck), and so is the production value of everything you see. The special effects are impressive (and it was a treat to see just how they were brought to life in the DVD special features dealing with the visual effects), but these are just the trimmings on the real feast. The meat of The Sum of All Fears is a plot which is compelling, believable, disquieting, and, in the end, rather moving. This movie drew me in completely to its world of intelligence, espionage, deception, politics, and diplomacy, and I could not possibly give it less than five stars....more info
- Good supporting cast, lead man is lost
Other reviewers who detail the silly political-correctness and faux-politics are right... This is Clancy-for-dummies. Ford's Jack Ryan was sometimes a step behind, but in a believable way. The audience was right beside Ryan, and when he put 2 and 2 together and took action, boy, did he take action. Ben Affleck's Jack Ryan is terminally lost, pouting and confused while the audience waits for him to figure things out and do something productive (or at least interesting?). This is going to go down as the "Star Wars Prequel" of Clancy movies--the one you try to forget exists as part of the saga you love. ...more info
- Intriguing Story, Questionable Execution
I must admit that this is my first Phil Robinson (director) film, or at least with me being aware of it, and that I'm not a political fiction "head," so I have an "empty section" of Tom Clancy novels in my library at home (although I am aware of the Jack Ryan protagonist being played by Harrison Ford in the Clancy film adaptations Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger). However, I do enjoy reading about politics, chiefly in the news and learning about different sides to events through documentaries and films.
From the outset, I loved the film in an overall sense: the wonderment of seeing what goes on behind "closed curtains," our hero Jack Ryan trying to unfoil a devious plot concocted "by the Russians," and the mysterious aura of being associated with the CIA really had me on the edge of my seat.
Aside from that however, there are a few things the filmmakers employ in the movie that will make you say, "What?" The first of these "problems" is that good ole Hollywood campiness. Not to give the movie away for those that haven't seen it, the part where our hero Ryan reunites with his doctor girlfriend after the "colossal event," she gives a pretty lame remark, especially having gone through such a monstrous occurrence, not to mention that she is basically unharmed which is ridiculous when you view her proximity to the "mechanism" that goes off basically in front of her face. Another campy part is where Ryan's helicopter goes down, wrecks badly, the pilot dies...and the radio still works. Yes - Ryan uses the radio to make contact for help. I guess I can let this slide by though, especially considering Hollywood usually acts in the protagonist's favor.
Other parts of the movie will have you raising your eyebrow in utter confusion - an excellent example of this? When the culprits are "caught" at the end. We basically have a middleman pitting America against Russia with both powers on the verge of nuking each other to oblivion, and eventually the villain and his cronies are caught. Sounds good, yes, and can you expect a whopping ending to such heinous atrocities committed by the baddies? Think again. I was amazed to the point of horrification when I saw how badly the villains were "caught."
Other than these shortcomings, the film is enjoyable, although it could've been better in my opinion. The script was exceptionally conceived, and while the actors do a good job, I think we've seen Morgan Freeman in better portrayals (but of course, the actor's job is to act, not treat a script even if it is subpar). The pace of the movie stutters a bit here and there, but overall, like I said this is a very good film, especially if you like political thrillers. The reason I give it three stars is because...well...it's slightly above average but...it could've been a little better....more info
- Ouch, this is bad.
The only thing that this movie and the Tom Clancy novel have in common is the title. All the subtle character developments and sub-plots from the book are gone. Most of the major plot is modified and what is left is something that you would swear you were watching on TV, in the 8 pm time slot. And speaking of TV, did Ben Affleck resemble and sound just like Jerry Seinfeld?
The book wasn't great and aside from the technical explanations of a nuclear weapon, was not too believable. The movie however, was so bad that with a little work it could pass for a skit on SNL. This is a movie to be avoided at all costs. It is a shameless attempt by Hollywood to put up a big name "Movie Hunk" in place of substance....more info
- Thoroughly Engaging! Expresses True Spirit of the Book!
The film begins with gripping scenes and haunting music ... Fighter jets landing, powerful spiritual music that is sad and almost like a funeral - setting the tone for what is to come. Ben Affleck plays the CIA agent Jack Ryan to perfection. There is great casting for all the major roles and key characters in the book. Although in the book, the city of Denver is the location used by terrorists for the attack, the choice of Baltimore, Maryland makes sense, since there is a port which clearly can be the point of entry for contraband. The fact is the film remains true to the intentions and spirit of Tom Clancy's book. There is political maneuvering, espionage, edge-of-your seat gripping moments after the attack and a very well executed plot. Suspense builds and the story unfolds ... The topic is fascinating and timely. It is almost like the "007" films of old ... You more or less know what to expect, but the ride is so engaging, you are caught up in the drama and events.
A nuclear bomb is discovered in the desert by a bedouin, left buried from a downed airplane during the '73 Israeli War. He suspects it has some value and can make money by selling it. An agent purchases it for a mere pittance, vastly less than its true worth ... so realistic. After the unexpected death of the Russian President, his replacement is investigated by the CIA. The US President, his advisors and the CIA are busy extracting information about this relative "dark horse" to discover his stand on the major issues. In the past, Jack Ryan had written a paper on him, extrapolating his views on world events ... He accompanies a delegation from the US to visit Russia and ensure nuclear disarmament is going according to plans. Each side assesses the opposition with wary reminders of the past ever in the forefront of their minds ... How difficult it was to learn about Soviet arms during the cold war, US agents had died trying to access .information ... now a delegation was freely being shown the labs, nuclear reactor and storage facilties. Times had indeed changed ...
The US President attends a filled to capacity football stadium in Baltimore, MD when suddenly, unexpectedly and rapidly Secret Agents usher him out ... A huge explosion occurs, with the mushroom cloud indicating a nuclear bomb went off. During the disaster, Jack Ryan seeks his superior, only to find him taking his last breath. He pays his last respects and uses his cell phone and ID bage to enter the White House. Jack had discovered irrefutable evidence that proves it was *not* a Russian attack. The nuclear substance originated in the United States. The fingerprints of the explosion and subsequent fall out are positive proof. However, suspense builds as the US President and Russian President are on stand-by preparing for war ... trying to read each others motives for action. The unraveling of the peace accords takes minutes although it took years and years to create peace and disarmament. The difficult decisions faced by the US President are depicted superbly ... The raw emotions arising during such a national disaster are naturally conveyed. The only failure in the film is the choice of selecting a disgruntled fascist group as the culprits for the attack. Keeping it closer to the story line in the book would have paid off huge dividends in the short and long run. In the years following 2001 and the Sept. 11th attack, using ancient history such as Nazi-like fascists as the enemy just does not play well with an audience. It leaves a huge credibility gap ...this is why it reminds me of the "007" films. Despite this one major flaw, for which I deducted one star, the film was a hit with this viewer. I highly recommend it.
Erika Borsos [pepper flower]...more info
- cautionary tale about nuclear terror -- with a GREAT cast
Yikes, I'm really surprised at the negative reviews here. I haven't read the Clancy books so I had no preconceived notions, but I have enjoyed the earlier Jack Ryan films with Harrison Ford, and I HAVE seen many supposed thrillers lately that were extremely disappointing. This is the first thriller I've enjoyed in a long time. I thought the script was very good, the acting from top to bottom was superb, and the editing kept the many plot threads clear.
After Harrison Ford dropped out of this project and Ben Affleck expressed an interest in playing the lead, the script was revamped to show Jack Ryan at the beginning of his career. In that capacity, as an intelligent neophyte, he meets his CIA mentor (Morgan Freeman), first ventures out with a seasoned field operative (Liev Schreiber), begins courting his future wife (Bridget Moynahan), advises the president (James Cromwell) for the first time, and meets the Russian president (Ciaran Hinds). This is a very interesting time in the career of a beloved character, and the writers got it right and Affleck does a very good job here. The villains are played by Alan Bates and Colm Feore. What a fabulous cast!
Special features include two commentary tracks - one with the director and cinematographer and one with the director and author; meaty featurettes about the casting, production and special effects; a trailer; an on-the-set featurette. The film can be heard in English or French, and subtitles are available only in English.
If you like exciting techno-thrillers and are not a Tom Clancy or Harrison Ford purist, give this film a chance. It's terrific, and I hope they'll make more. I'm not sure why some people didn't like it but I respectfully, and heartily, disagree with them....more info
- Does Not Live Up To The Novel......
The Sum Of All Fears falls short in my cateory. The movie basically follows around a missing Israeli nuclear bomb, and the bomb is brought by a neo-nazi who plans to use it against the Americans. Now Jack Ryan (played by Ben Affleck) is a young CIA analyst who is still learning the ropes in the spy world, he has a girlfriend; Cathy Muller; a doctor for John Hopkins in Baltimore. As Jack learns his way around the CIA, he gets the information that a bomb is planning to come to America, for what Jack does not know until it is too late. The bomb is used at the Super Bowl, and a fake colonel in the Russian Navy orders Russian MiG's to fire on a American ship, and now the President thinks that the Russian's set the bomb off, and the President wants to wipe out Russia for so-calling killing thousand of lives in that game. So now Jack Ryan comes into the picture, and tells the President that the Russians didnt do it; it was a neo-nazi who set off the bomb. So Jack saves the day, and the neo-nazi is taken care of thanks to a car bomb, and the end.
So why did I give it 2 stars? In the novel, the enemy was not a neo-nazi, it was Palentinan terrorist who get a hold of a bomb that was used during the six-day war which it failed to explode. Also Jack Ryan was much more older than Ben Affleck, married, and two kids. Also Jack Ryan in the book was DDI at the CIA, he was not an analyist in the book. I was so disappointed with this movie, they should of gotten someone else to play Jack Ryan instead of Ben Affleck....more info
- A good movie
I was very happy with Amazon and it's partner as to the speed and quality of how everything went smoothly. I received the DVD in a timely manner and was pleased at the price for the entire experience....more info
- Total disappointment.
Other reviews already written go into specifics about the film. So let me just add my two cents. The movie is awful. It is not anywhere in the same league as the other Tom Clancy novel films. It's boring, poorly paced, not true to the book, cliche, and all together lacking any depth or originality. I never felt on the edge of my seat or worried about any of the characters. The actors are excellent in other films (esp. Morgan Freeman) but in this film cardboard cut outs. Don't waste your time....more info
- Has some good qualities
I went into "The Sum of All Fears" expecting to be disappointed by Ben Affleck. I'm not really a fan of much of his dramatic work ("Changing Lanes" is an exception). I have not seen the other Jack Ryan movies, but I still didn't really think Affleck would make a credible CIA agent. So I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. It certainly isn't Oscar material, but he is very credible, which was more than I was expecting. The supporting cast is also quite good, especially the always impressive Morgan Freeman as Affleck's mentor and Ciaran Hinds as the Russian president. Speaking of the Russian president, I was impressed by the way the film portrayed him. Usually, foreign leaders in films are very one-dimensional. President Nemerov, however, is very well developed, with clear motivations for his actions. He is not the evil madman Hollywood commonly makes foreigners (especially Russians) out to be. In fact, he is arguably a better person than the film's American president. So I commend the writers for that. However, despite the acting and the good characters I did not really enjoy this film. Why? Because it's supposed to be suspenseful, and it's not. I know that Jack Ryan is trying to avert a major world crisis, but having him run around with a cell phone and type on computers does not generate much suspense. This is what a lot of the film, including the "climax" basically comes down to. The film is not deep enough to be a serious drama, so it needs the suspense and the action to deliver. Unfortunately, this does not happen. Although "The Sum of All Fears" does have some good qualities, it ultimately fails to deliver the basic needs of the genre, so I can't really recommend it. You could definitely do worse, but you could also do a lot better....more info
- Ben Affleck has a range of expressions from A to B
In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm a Clancy fan so I spent the $8 to see this movie in the theatre in order to get the full effect, despite no Alec Baldwin, no Harrison Ford, no James Earl Jones.
Ben Affleck's expression A is a slack-jawed "Duh!" I'm glad he found a use for his greatest asset, his jaw. His expression B is a "Deer in the Headlights" stare. He had no physical assets to back this one up. This is NOT the Jack Ryan I spent money to see....more info
- Politically correct Tom Clancy
I watched this the other night, and can't believe how politically correct it is. The bad guys are Austrians, Isrealis, and, indirectly, the U.S. military-industrial complex. I wonder what Tom Clancy thinks about that. Muslims are just innocent bystanders, and the liberals save the day, because war is all just a misunderstanding, or is caused by European nazis. This movie is shameless political correctness. The film is actually excellent, but I give it only two stars for the tired leftwing cliches. If they had filmed it based on Clancy's novel, it would have been great. I think Hollywood just copped out and got scared of portraying the Muslims as "the enemy", and so did what they always do: just turn the bad guys into white nazis. South Africans are no longer available, so they went to the "default": Austrians (guys, World War II is over). ...more info
- Not a bad thriller.
Action thriller set in 2002 in which a neo-Nazi terrorist group gets hold of a small Israeli nuclear bomb that went missing during the Arab-Israeli war of 1973 and uses it to try and trick America and Russia into nuclear war with each other, and the efforts of a CIA analyst played by Ben Affleck to prevent this nightmare scenario from happening. Not a bad thriller, with one particularly horrifying moment on which the whole film hinges, but it must be said I have seen films with `preventing World War Three' plots that had greater urgency (e.g. Crimson Tide starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman). Still, worth a look. ...more info
- Good plot, good film, hedious adaptation
Tom Clancy knows how to make vivid and realistic stories, because he walked in the halls of power and really understands about politics, the military and secret services. "The sum of all fears" is no exception, and shows how a determined partie with the right connections can begin a series of events that leads to a war with dire consequences. This film, although changing lots of plot, character and faction elements, keeps the main substance of the novel: Fear will tear us apart.
Especially in europe we believe that we live in a state of grace and permanent peace, but it's so fragile that we must cherish it. This film and novel is really a cautionary tale.
This Jack Ryan is a freshman in the CIA, not the hardened sub-director we're used to, and Ben Affleck fulfills the role quite well. Morgan Freeman is great as a top CIA executive; charismatic and with great leadership characteristics, easy stuff for such a good actor.
Secondary roles like the russian president and the american operative are also well played, leaving their mark.
The story itself as some "reality checks", like the secret services almost omnipotence, a walk in post nuclear bomb Baltimore, total discardance of nuclear Electro Magnetic Pulse (although the commentaries of Tom Clancy state that a small weapon probably would not knock out the entire network of com nods) or the fist fight with the big nazi (why????).
Good entertainment with a message. Common sense and wisdom must always be present in politics, especially when we have weapons that can destroy us all.
The extras in the DVD are quite good; explaining how was done the main scenes that required most special fx (like the effects of the explosion, or the A4 being shotdown); there are also interviews with the actors, and great commentaries from Tom Clancy (don't forget to watch this film a second time with the commentaries on - they should have hired Mr.o clancy as an adviser...the film would be better). Three stars for the extras....more info
- this movie delivers
As someone well versed in various kinds of literature, someone who has read (and enjoyed) almost all of Tom Clancy's novels, and as a professional videographer, I have to say, this is a great flick.
For those who are upset about the adaptation, what do you expect? When taking an 800 plus page book and condensing it down to a two hour movie, some things are going to change. The second and third Clancy movies- especially Clear and Present Danger - were also adapted to give Harrison Ford the action spotlight. But now that Ford is ageing, Paramount (who after all, is a business needing to turn a profit) needed to re-invent the franchise. The move to make it not just a new actor, but to show it as the start of Jack Ryan's career was cleverly done. Most of all, it held true to the idea of the book, that when we base our actions off of our fears and suspicions, our peace can be torn apart by a few depraved individuals.
This movie falls into the category of action/thriller. As such, not everything is true to life, but instead is designed for entertainment and suspense. And it delivers. For something in the action category it has a remarkably intelligent script. It's a little slow in the beginning for those who are looking for nothing more than explosions and shootouts, but it's worth it. It also has better than average cinematography compared to most action flicks. The effects are well done and not at all cheesy, as many action flicks have taught us to expect.
The acting is well-done, with a typically good performance by Affleck and a stellar performance by Freeman. The soundtrack is also fantastic, especially the rendition of the national anthem at the football game.
Bottom line, if you're a reader who expects movies scripts to be written like books, don't see this movie. If you accept that literature and movies are entirely different formats of entertainment then you'll probably enjoy this movie, and it is certainly worth owning...more info
- Read the book instead
Nobody writes military thrillers like Tom Clancy. A handful of the movies made from his novels are worthy of the original manuscript. "Hunt for Red October" is my key example.
If I had to sum up the problems for "The Sum of All Fears", I'd first mention acting. I really like Ben Affleck, but he simply doesn't define the role like either Alec Baldwin or Harrison Ford. Perhaps if he were cast in an earlier portion of Jack Ryan's life, he might have worked, but Affleck simply lacks the authority and competence inherent in Ford's manner--and being a MUCH younger man following Ford just seems out of sync.
This was also one of the rare roles where I saw Morgan Freeman as Morgan Freeman. Usually, he transports me to the place and time he's inhabiting in the character--not in this film.
The plot is interesting--but nowhere near as well done as the book. Just read the book. It's available here on Amazon and well worth the price.
- Latest Jack Ryan movie from Tom Clancy
This is the latest one of Tom Clancy's collection. I have always enjoyed his movies. This was one of the Tom Clancy books that I really enjoyed but the movie did not do it the book justice. It was a little more Hollywood then it needed to be. They should have worked off the past, it would have been much better. Still it is not all that bad, I have seen much worse....more info
- sum of all stars? zero!
Maybe no one noticed but towards the end of the movie when the Russian President and Jack Ryan are talking to each other through the computer, repeat is spelled "reapeat". On top of that, the acting was horrible...this movie didn't take itself seriously enough. Ben Affleck sucked as much as he did in this movie as he did in Pearl Harbor....more info
- Actors excellent! Script not so good.
I enjoyed the first hour or so of this film, but then it turned into a replay of War Games. The last 30-40 minutes jumped around and were so rushed that all that remained was the predictable outcome....more info
- Great Book
The Sum of All Fears is about soldiers in war. The book talks about the fear men have when they are in war. We never think about the fear men have when they're in a war. In The Sum of All fears soldiers were surrounded by friends and men dying around them. They worry about staying alive each second. They crawl from one ditch to another. Soldiers are always thinking about their families at home. The Sum of All Fears describes fears of men in all different countries in the Middle East like Israeli, Sea of Galilee. The first part is telling the time and places. Also what the men were doing. The soldiers were involved in Israeli held-Golan Height on Saturday the 6th of October 1973. These are soldiers recounting events.
My opinion of The Sum of All Fears is a very good book, for it lets us knowledge about the fears men had have while they in a war. To me a war is a long journey that soldiers go though and have no idea why. I had a first cousion that went into the army and came home after basic trainning then he went on assignment three day later was killed leaving a wife and new baby boy. Only the government knows what the real fight is about. While the media is give misleading information to the public. But The Sum of All Fears was able to let me know some of the things soldiers deal with day-to-day.
- Not The Best
Well Ben Affleck isn't nearly as bad in this movie than in the turkey-film Gigli, but this movie is pretty lame. It is a Tom Clancy-based thriller about nuclear threat. You know what it's like.
Altogether, it was not as "heart-pounding" or "edge of your seat" thriller. It was actually quite boring. No superb or dramatic acting here....more info
- What is the Worse Thing that Can Happen?
It appears that in 1973 Israel lost a jet that had a nuclear bomb but couldn't recover it. It is found and sold for salvage by someone who recognizes its value. Jack Ryan (played by a too young Ben Affleck) is working for the Director of the CIA and dating a surgical student. Ryan visits Russia to inspect nuclear decommissioning, and we see other events. A new premier comes to power in Russia. There is an attack on a city in Chechnya, and the US President Fowler wants to send in "peace-keepers" to occupy this rebellious province. A secret organization is found in a military base, and the CIA sends in an agent to investigate. They find the "package" is on a freighter bound for Baltimore. The Fascists want to provoke a war between Russian and America; if each knocks out the other a new world order will arise. A nuclear bomb explodes in Baltimore. Are you following this?
Next a report that an ICBM has hit Moscow, and the Russians plan to sink an American aircraft carrier in the North Sea (!). A de facto state of war now exists. But they find out the plutonium in the Baltimore bomb came from the US (its "DNA"). Jack Ryan drives to the warehouse to track the records. Ryan gets to communicate with the Russian Premier, and is able to halt the escalation to nuclear war. And so the World is saved once again. The "hotline" that was installed by JFK in 1963 proves its worth. The Fascist plotters are tracked down and neutralized. A new peace treaty is signed.
A long and complex novel can be translated to film. It is not simplified, too many details can complicate the story. To be plausible, a story should not have glaringly false details (like a nuclear attack). [What has poor Baltimore ever done to Tom Clancy?] Complaints about erroneous technical details (like EMP) are correct, but remember this is just a movie, like a cartoon.
- The Dividend of All Concerns
THUMBS UP FOR SO-CALLED "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS"
I hate people that go around complaining about "political correctness". I do it myself some, but I'm not a rightwing nut. It ain't all like the Drudge Report and Hannity etc. tell ya monkey. 6 stars for THE SUM OF ALL FEARS for it's "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS". Ohhh how dare a movie be critical of the military industrial complex. _OOOOOH_MY_GOD_ Israel looks not like a bunch of saints in a movie. What??? It didn't make Muslims look evil?!! The outrage. Anyway, at least this Tom Clancy movie has something going for it: it annoyed wingnuts. ...more info
- The film is good but...
it's about as different from the book as a film can get. Did the screenwriter even READ the book? I think not; there is very little they share other than the name and a bomb.
Despite that, I liked Affleck as a younger Ryan and I liked the story of the film. Comparing the two, however, is like comparing oranges and umbrellas....more info
- GOOD ENTERTAINMENT BUT WITH A SOBERING TOPIC
I've had this DVD on the shelf for a few years but never watched it. And the book is one of Tom Clancy's I'd never read. Having the three other DVDs of Clancy's books I kinda knew what to expect. But the movie was a pleasant surprise in its realism of just what a small detonatioin could do. And the subject is still a valid one today, what one deranged group with one device could achieve.
I noticed Tom Clancy was the producer, so he must have had some input to this movie. I have trouble with Ben Afflect playing Jack Ryan, but then I have never liked any of the actors that have filled that role. Don't ask me who could do it, but none of these actors would have been my choice.
For this movie the special effects steal the show, and one of the problems with putting a Tom Clancy on the screen was pointed out not only by some reviews here, but in the special features on the disc: the books are sprawling epics too large to be reduced to the screen. I doubt any other books will ever be filmed, unless Mr. Clancy becomes less "James Michener" like and reduces the number of pages in his books.
Overall, the film was both more and less than expected. More enjoyable and less pandering to what a fallout attack would bring. All in all for an action adventure film it does the job.
Semper Fi....more info
- Propaganda is hateful, epecially when it smells antisemitic
This film could have been a good one. It came out after 9/11 but before Iraq, at the time of Afghanistan. It is about the "final" confrontation between the USA and Russia. A nuclear terrorist attack is organized in Baltimore so that the USA may believe it comes from the Russians and may start the procedure leading to a full out nuclear war. From the very start the theory that is illustrated here is that terror in the world is organized by the Israeli secret services with the help of some western autonomous adventurers and with the complicity of the hard liners in the Russian and Ukrainian armies. Then the whole story is difficult to believe because of the total lack of real believable hard facts. The American president appears as quite manipulated by his own military personnel and his State and Defense Secretaries, without speaking of the CIA. The Russian president appears just as much manipulated but with maybe a little bit more nerve. The whole plot fails because a small CIA intellectual agent manages to speak to the Russian president directly via the red telephone and make him take the decision to halt his alert, a decision that the US president immediately imitates. How can we believe that. The Weapons of Mass Destruction are quoted in some remote small sentence somewhere unimportant but the propaganda is clear. The various actors of this plot are then eliminated one after the other in the most radical way possible. That's a shame in a way because the film is rather well made and acted but it is obvious war propaganda that supports the theory pretending the world is being manipulated if not controlled by the Israelis, a resurgence of sorts of the old hitlerian anti-semitism of old. I guess some believe that good old hate-theories can always be revived in a way or another, with a little bit of upgrading if necessary.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
- It ain't over yet
Even in this new era of Russian and American friendship
into which this film came, there are still atomic bombs on both sides.
Technically the handling of people in the bomb area in this film is very wrong : at the hospital and on the streets.
Everyone is taught that the ashes from the bomb are as deadly as the bomb itself. No one was doing decontaminations here.
The brinkmanship here was classic and the Jack Ryan as good as ever.
Tom Clancy is a very good spy/ suspense writer, he just doesn't seem to know that much about atomic bombs....more info
at first i thought that "red october" was destined to be the least plausible (scottish russians speaking english) and overall, most HOLLYWOOD clancy movie made to date. BOY was i wrong!!! BEN AFFLECK does an admirable job looking good for the camera. Huh? plot? We all know that the Jack Ryan character is always in the right place at the right time, and holds all the cards, and fights doggedly against impossible odds and unknown opponents, but this movie was such an obvious reaction to the attacks of 9/11 in such a patriotic and ignorant sense that only the recent COLLATERAL DAMAGE, TEARS OF THE SUN or AIR MARSHALL are more offensive....more info
- Why is this even a movie
It's as if the writers and directors had a good idea, started to write it down, fell asleep, then woke up and added ending credits.
The best part of this DVD is the commentary by Dir. Robinson and writer Tom Clancy. From the opening line:
"Hi, I'm Phil Alden Robinson, the director of The Sum of All Fears"
"Hi, I''m Tom Clancy, I wrote the book that Phil ignored"
I was hooked. Clancy spends the entire movie pointing out flaws, perhaps as revenge for changing his plot so badly. Other than Clancy's commentary, this movies was horrible. If they couldn't get Ford to play Ryan, couldn't they have at least gotten someone close to his age to make the movie closer to the book. There's a whole John Clark subplot in the book that would have made this movie 500 times better.
This really only deserves one star, but I gave it three because of clancy's commentary...more info
- An International Techno-Thriller
Jack Ryan, the hero of several of Tom Clancy's novels, is back at it in this movie about terrorism and global nuclear war.
In 1973, during the Arab-Israeli war, a lone Israeli pilot took off and flew toward the Arab lines. His cargo: one nuclear bomb. However, the plane is shot down, but somehow, the bomb survived. It is soon buried in the sand and left unnoticed for twenty-nine years.
Meanwhile, trouble has been occuring in other parts of the world as well. The President of Russia mysteriously dies, and a new President, Nemerov, (Ciaran Hinds) takes power. This move alerts the American CIA, especially director William Cabot (Morgan Freeman). Nemerov is known to be a wild card, and many are unsure of his motives. However, Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) isn't convinced about Nemerov. Ryan wrote a paper about Nemerov, and he seems to think that he is more conservative in his views.
Directed by President Robert Fowler (James Cromwell), Cabot and Ryan are sent to Russia to check on the status of their nuclear disarmament. Once there, they are given a tour of a Russian nuclear assembly plant. Many renowned Russian scientists work there. However, three have mysteriously disappeared.
Back in the Middle East, two men have managed to dig up the remains of the missing nuclear bomb. They sell them to a man named Olson (Colm Feore), who pays a mere [...] for the bomb. Immediately, the wheels are set in motion. The three missing Russian scientists and Olson have devised a plan to construct their own nuclear bomb, smuggle it back into the United States, and detonate it at the Super Bowl. The detonation would lead the United States to believe that, due to the instability of the Russian government under Nemerov, the Russians would be blamed for the detonation. Both the United states and Russia would destroy each other while the scientists and Olson sat by and watched.
However, Ryan manages to put all of the pieces together and is on his way to Baltimore when the bomb is detonated. A huge mushroom cloud covers the city, and many people are killed. As expected, President Fowler immediately suspects that the Russians are to blame and immediately orders a counter-strike. Thus begins a tense game of international chess; who will blink first? Can Ryan arrive in time to stop World War III, or will he be too late?
I found this to be a very exciting and entertaining movie. The story is thrilling and very well-conceived. The special effects are very good as well. The attack on the American aircraft carrier was one of my favorite sequences of the film. Morgan Freeman, Ben Affleck, and James Cromwell give fine performances. Although I appreciated Affleck's effort, I still think Alec Baldwin ("The Hunt for Red October") and Harrison Ford ("Patriot Games") did a better job as Jack Ryan.
I recommend this very good movie. Although I haven't read the book yet, I plan to soon to see how well the movie compares to it. If you're a fan of techno-thrillers, then don't miss this one....more info
- Good movie for a night in...
Although I had seen the movie before, it had been awhile. Overall, still a great movie with some pretty good names in it. (Ben Afleck, Morgan Freeman). Both are very good actors imo. Although this came out before HD was really mainstream, still not totally yet, the BD version was a very nice addition to the library. Not exactly a blockbuster on graphics, sound effects, etc., but none the less, a great movie. I am amazed every time I put in a BD to see the differences. AMAZING. Although, I am not an expert, I do have my fair share of knowledge on HD and the like, definately worth it to me. ...more info
- SUM ADDS UP TO GOOD ENTERTAINMENT
Not one of Ben Affleck's fans, I found his performance in this film one of the best I've seen him in; while some may have found him flat, I found his understated performance a perfect counterbalance for the hyperantics of James Cromwell and his assorted staff members; not saying they were bad, just that they had enough vinegar in them to carry the "oomph" factor. Affleck's reactions seemed genuine and controlled, and in this age of action heroes overacting, it was refreshing. Morgan Freeman is very good in this one, as well, with excellent support from Ciarin Hinds as the Russian president; Liev Schrieber as the cool headed American assassin; Alan Bates as the cold hearted perpetrator; and Bridget Moynahan as Ryan's soon to be wife.
The explosion in Baltimore is a shocker and spellbinding!
I liked this film a lot....more info
- Did it for me!
I am a huge fan for political/spy/government oriented thrillers (political science major), and I am nit picky about these type of films.
However, I have to say this is one of my favorite movies. I bought the book almost instantly and read it, and I still love it. I saw all the other Clancy movies and loved them too.
I love Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan compared to Ford, and Baldwin. He is a Rookie and really shapes the future Jack Ryan as seen in the first films. I have not seen the original Jack Ryan films until after this one.
Although there were some shady areas of the film, I got past them because you have to look at the film and story as a whole. This is a great film, and I actually was shocked that the Bomb went off and the aftermath was awsome.
Besides that, All the people who pick on how this film sucked need to shut up, and get that stick out fo your you know what! You will cause Paramount to not release another Ryan film and ruin it for the rest of us because you blable on about how it was the worst film. Please, I enjoyed it and I want to see more, so shut that hole in you face!...more info
- Sum of All Fears is the sum of all Spy Thrillers!
The Sum of All Fears takes place in the past when Jack Ryan is a young CIA analyst, getting his first taste of national intelligence and meeting high level people in the government. This movie has lots of action and some good humor between Affleck and Morgan Freeman, showing how Admiral Greer dies toward the end. The part where the American aircraft carrier gets attacked is great (along with the Russian fighters getting blown up). They threw in some romance and spy intrigue to the mix as well. Definitely worth your time and to add to your collection!
- Does not work
Sometimes films just do not work. The failure does not necessarily come from any huge blooper but a combination of lots of little weaknesses.
This is a film based on a book by Tom Clancy. Clancy is a writer who likes to fill his novels with lots of technical details. The details often give the impression to his less educated readers that they are somehow learning something about the real world. The way his books are constructed is that the plot is usually rudimentary and the appeal is the sense of realism and the level of detail.
This film is about a group who, try to start a war between what were once the superpowers by attempting to detonate a nuclear weapon in America and then blame it on the Russians. Jack Ryan Clancy's hero of most of his books is the key to whether the war is prevented or not. Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford have played Ryan in previous films. Here he is played by a youthful Ben Afleck. Afleck is clearly to young a person for the role. No one that young and low on the totem pole would be able to get the sort of access he does to important figures that he does in the movie. He is also in love with a 20 something model who is meant to be a surgeon. Again something which is simply improbable.
The move although having the veneer of technical knowledge is in reality set in fantasy land. If Israel lost a nuclear bomb in the Golan Heights in 1973 they would hardly leave it there. It is the sort of thing which would lead to a major military effort to prevent it falling into the hands of the Syrians. A President of the United States would act more rationally than the one portrayed in this movie as would a Russian leader.
Still not as bad as some others going around the traps....more info
- Good movie - bad, bad, bad choice of actor!
Like all Tom Clancy stories, this oe is a bit far-fetched! What the hell, I love Tom Clancy! There's nothing wrong with a bit of healthy escapism now and again, and this movie woud have provided apart from one thing - Ben Afflicted!!! What a poor choice as a replacement for Harrison! Ben cannot act at the best of times, but in a undemanding role such as playing Ryan, he is at his very worst!
I don't care for the lack of temporal continuity that "The Sum Of All Fears" now gives to the other titles in the series. I mean, if "Sum" takes place in the present, and Ryan is not married and has no kids, then how does he maage to have a family in the other three movies? Whose "clever" idea was it to try and fob that off on the audience? It's not like noone would realise, is it?
Final complaint - Ukranian soldiers of a certain age would easly be able to understand Russian, so when they are told to take off their boots, they would have known exactly what was being asked of them, and would not need it saying in Ukranian! Someone shuld have researched that one a little more. Oh, and yes, Afflek's Russian accent is appaling! Maybe it was his pronunciation the Ukranians were having trouble with!
Choose another Ryan - anyone will do (apart from Owen Wilson - Afflek's rival for the worst actor ever award!)....more info
- A B-flick masquerading as an A-flick.
For me, there is really just one problem with this film. Even if a film is illogical, I am still able to suspend judgement and enjoy a film for what it's worth. The problem with this film is Affleck who is just horrible in the role of Jack Ryan. This guy (the character that is) has a PhD?! Get serious! In my opinion Liev Schreiber (John Clark in the film) should have been cast as Ryan. He has great physical and mental presence and is by-far a better actor than the wimpy Affleck....more info
- Excellent Movie!
I saw the first two reviews of this movie and I'm very glad that I ignored them. I thought that this was an excellent movie, very suspensful, and a wonderful ending. Morgan Freeman and Ben Affleck do a great job as the head of the CIA and a young Jack Ryan. The only reason I can figure out that these people hated the movie is that they are hard-core Tom Clancy fans who like to be bored to tears when reading. If this movie had stuck 100% to Clancy's book it probably would have been 5 hours long. The man just goes far too much into explanation and you could probably cut out 200 pages of his books and still have a good plot. Once again, see this movie....more info
- This BD is best thrown in the garbage bin.
This is the worst transfer I've encountered. It's like something from Paramount's garbage bin that accidentally got made into BD. Noise galore from start to finish. Best avoid this BD. Hope Paramount will follow Sony's example and recall this title... ...more info