27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2007
Oh dear. Why do so many people have to analyse films so deeply. I always thought they were supposed to entertain, not invite intellectual analysis. The Sum of All Fears is excellent entertainment. What does it matter if bits are unbelievable? Surely, a fictional story is a vehicle for the imagination. As for anti-Semitism. P-lease.... Everyone I know who has seen this film has been delighted with it. It has great tension and often leaves you breathless. The actual nuclear incident breaks into the film with a shocking surprise, even though there is a considerable build up to it. It comes out of nowhere, just as it would in real life. Incidentally, the respective presidents are well portrayed. The 'halo' of advisers, good and bad, certainly exists in real life. I doubt that many decisions are actually unique to these individuals. Highly recommended entertainment to be enjoyed with a beer and a good selection of snacks.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2004
Films like 'The Sum of All Fears' often get an unfair press, reviewers moaning about poor characterization, over-emphasis on visuals, plot-holes and other such things, when all the time these movies - techno-thrillers, as they're often known - are just doing what they supposed to be doing: entertaining the audience on quite a basic, bubble-gum level. This latest cinematic re-working of a Tom Clancy novel - starring Morgan Freeman, Ben Affleck, and a whole host of other 'name' actors - succeeds admirably on that level. Although at times it's a little dumber than it needs to be (making Jack Ryan a lot younger than he is in the book is part of the problem), most of the time it has the right blend of wit, excitement, tension, and explosions to carry the audience through.
Affleck is competent when he needs to be, and does a good job as Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin was better, though, in 'The Hunt for Red October'), but the real star of the show is Liev Schreibner (playing special ops agent John Clark) who in his limited screen time completely inhabits his role, and turns out a fantastic performance. Schreibner is one to watch. The other performances are all good, but the script isn't really asking a lot of top-class actors like Morgan Freeman or James Cromwell, and what they squeeze out is dependent on the scene they're in. But 'The Sum of All Fears' isn't about the actors - it's about the drama, the excitement, the thrills and spills. Even though the plot isn't all that complex, it seems like there is a lot happening, and as long as you don't think about it for too long, it holds itself together.
'The Sum of All Fears' doesn't match the sheer quality of 'The Hunt for Red October', and lacks the charisma of 'Clear and Present Danger', but it is nevertheless a pretty good adaptation of the lengthy (highly recommended) Tom Clancy novel. If you're looking for a bit of entertainment, give it a go. (Additionally, Tom Clancy's audio commentary with Phil Alden Robinson points out a lot of the factual inaccuracies and plot holes present in the movie, but it's worth listening to for amusement value alone - Clancy obviously doesn't like the liberties taken in adapting his novel, and Phil Alden Robinson spends a lot of being corrected and sounding apologetic.)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2009
It would seem that haven read many other reviews on this movie I was probably luckier than most by having not read the book so I came to it with no preconceived ideas. For a good old fashioned thriller that has you gripped from start to finish you could do worse than watching this on a wet sunday afternoon. The air strikes on the US aircraft carrier are stunningly done as is the nuclear explosion that u really know is coming but it is still a huge surprise when it does. Usually in these situations a James Bond type comes along and difuses the bomb in the nick of time. Theres none of that here. I found all the actors likeable yes even Affleck carried off the role of Jack Ryan ok for me but for me the star of the show was the Russian spy who ended the film with a lovely touch. A very pleasing couple of hours. Highly recommended. 4/5
on 14 September 2011
The movie is very good, looking into the way the Americans would react to a nuclear bomb in Baltimore and blaming the wrong country, and only one guy, Jack Ryan, knows the truth, and battles against the odds to get the information to the President.
Although this is a prequel to Hunt for Red October,Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, it requires no knowledge or previous viewing of any of them to understand this film (although it is an interesting sidebar to compare characters in this film to those in the other three films), and doesn't have any actors playing the same parts.
From the box, "Ben Affleck is ready for action, commanding the role of CIA agent Jack Ryan in this thrilling adventure based on the Tom Clancy bestseller. America's Cold War fears are realised after the President of Russia dies and is succeeded by a man with a cryptic past. But East-West tensions erupt when the CIA suspects that renegade Russian scientists are developing more nuclear weapons. Mobilised into action by CIA Director William Cabot (Morgan Freeman), Jack Ryan (Afleck) follows a danger-ridden trail to a shocking conclusion: terrorists plan to provoke a war between the US and Russia - by detonating a nuclear bomb at a championship football game! Costarring James Cromwell and Liev Schreiber, The Sum of All Fears adds up to the year's most explosive entertainment.
Special Features on the DVD include a documentary "A Cautionary Tale", highlighting casting and production of The Sum Of All Fears, and "Visual Effects", a documentary on the Carrier Attack, the shooting down of the A-4, the nuclear blast on the Hospital, the nuclear blast on the Motorcade and the Helicopter crashing in the nuclear blast. There's also a Theatrical Trailer.
Subtitles come in the form of English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Swedish and Turkish, with audio in English and Czech (5.1 Dolby Digital). There's also an English Commentary by the director Phil Alden Robinson and Cinematographer John Lindley, and a second commentary by director Phil Alden Robinson and novelist Tom Clancy, both in 2.1 Surround and with English subtitles.
on 6 June 2011
This is an okay movie. I would not disagree with anything the other reviewers have said about the acting Everyone from Affleck through Freeman and Cromwell to Hinds and Schrieber do pretty well with the lines they are given. The plot is a bit daft and the use of Euro Neo-Nazis still seems odd but whatever the Studio wanted I suppose (Maybe someone thought that show an Arab terrorist atrocity in U.S soil would be too unrealistic?) Like a lot of thrillers it is a great view if you let yourself get carried away with it but pretty poor if you leave your brain in high gear. The USAF happily blitzs Russian forward bases while a rogue Russian Bomber Regiment somehow locates and attacks a Carrier Group and nobody (apart from Jack of course) ever wonders if this is a bad thing. You really don't want to ask how the Russian radar can immediately locate US B-2 Bombers which were designed to prevent that very thing either.
I would have given the film three stars if it was not for the Tom Clancy commentary which is a hoot. You can almost see the director (doing co commentary) wince as he introduces himself as the man who "wrote the book they ignored". The commentary is great for his REALLY dismissive view of the Nazi plot line (he had a downer on Austria for some reason) and yet equally informative in the way anyone who has read any of his novels would expect.
On the whole a decent thriller which is great with a beer as one reviewer said.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Sum of All Fears is directed by Phil Alden Robinson and adapted to screenplay by Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne from the novel of the same name written by Tom Clancy. It stars Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Ciaran Hinds, Liev Schreiber, Bridget Moynahan and Michael Byrne. Music is scored by Jerry Goldsmith and cinematography by John Lindley.
Film is the fourth film to feature the character Jack Ryan (Affleck). It is set in present day 2002 but with Ryan younger than in the other films and at the start of his career in the CIA. Plot is Cold War themed and finds America in a sweat when it is found that renegade terrorists have a nuclear weapon in their possession; just as a new supposed radical president takes up office in Russia.
Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's futures, and we are all mortal.
2002 saw two great thrillers released that starred Ben Affleck, one was Changing Lanes, the other was this Jack Ryan based effort that attempted to reboot the series. Coming a year after the September 11 attacks and featuring a plot involving terrorists using a bomb that America supplied the Israelis in the 70s during the Yom Kippur War, it was material too close to the bone for some critics. Yet the film did well at the box office in the States and including Worldwide takings it garnered well over $100 million in profit. Impressive figures considering it's not an action blockbuster, it relies on brain over brawn and leading man Affleck was on the back of Pearl Harbor and bearing the brunt of critical scorn.
Each day we lose a little bit more of our separate, sovereign ability to determine our own futures... and each day the world comes a little bit closer to that terrible moment when the beating of a butterfly's wings unleashes a hurricane God himself cannot stop.
Comforted by the superb cast around him, which also includes the likes of Colm Feore, Phillip Baker Hall and Alan Bates in support slots, Affleck proves perfect for the material to hand. Without doubt he's no Harrison Ford, in the same way Moynahan is no Anne Archer, tough boots to fill in the roles of Jack and Cathy Ryan respectively, but in a re-jig of Ryan the character, we now have the arrogance of youth dressed up in slacks and t-shirt, a smart brained youngster beginning his CIA career at a perilous time, a time that thankfully is devoid of jingoistic flag waving, but of adult political sensibilities. Affleck's Ryan as a character is as refreshing as the writers' responsible attitude is.
You dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. You dropped the bomb on Nagasaki. Do not lecture me on Chechnya!
With shades of the Cuban Missile Crisis and a Fail-Safe like finale, The Sum of All Fears rounds out as a nail biter of a thriller. Dig deeper and some implausibilities surface, but we are asked to tune into the paranoia and get in deep with the characters trying to avert global catastrophe, to decry the film's cerebral thriller qualities is churlish. The Jack Ryan parts of the film involving Cathy the girlfriend are the least interesting, but here's the thing, young Jack Ryan is just one of the components making up a far bigger whole. The film isn't solely a Jack Ryan movie. The source novel was a door stopper, so inevitably much as been excised from it, and inevitably fans of the book have been vocal in their displeasure; though we would have needed another hour of film to even get close to Clancy's big block of fiction. So in place is a picture that is uncompleted in structure and story telling and comes in at under two hours running time. It's credit to director Robinson that The Sum of All Fears engrosses from start to finish.
It was hoped that the reboot would herald the start of a run of more Jack Ryan based movies, but in spite of the great box office, this didn't materialise. But that is in no way any marker to the quality of the film, or its standing in the Jack Ryan series. Judge it on its own merits and ideas and the rewards are many, especially on a second viewing. At the time of writing Jack Ryan will return to the big screen in December 2013, titled simply as Jack Ryan, with another young actor, Chris Pine in the role of Ryan. Undoubtedly that will be high on action, such is the way of drawing in the young dollars at the multiplexes these days. But if it has half the tension and brains of Robinson's picture then we will be blessed. If not? Then there's an even bigger reason to treasure Jack Ryan's 2002 version. 7.5/10
on 31 January 2013
Firstly let me say that this is one of my favourite films. So to get it as a special edition was very pleasing. This is an extremely good political and espionage thriller in the true tradition of Tom Clancy. The plot goes like this.
As those in power around the globe face up to the challenges of a new world order, in Washington CIA Deputy Director Jack Ryan is putting everything into a plan that could finally bring peace to a Middle East still suffering from the ravages of war. But too many groups have invested too much blood to allow the plan to succeed – the terrorists have one final desperate card to play. With one terrible act the world is plunged into nuclear crisis.
His dreams of peace shattered, Ryan is confronted with a situation he has never dared to imagine: with the world standing on the brink of war, what do you do if the US President is incompetent to deal with the greatest crisis of all?
A very tense and exciting if not gripping film, buy it.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The first thing that everyone knows about this film is that we have the third reincarnation of Jack Ryan. And this can be a bit disturbing to some people.
We've had the hammy Alec Baldwin and the heavyweight Harrison Ford. Now for film 4 we have the pretty but not that convincing Ben Affleck.
This caused a dilemma for the director and led to a wholesale script rewrite. Out have gone the Arab terrorists of the book and are replaced by a neo-Nazi group of Europeans. Evidently we can't offend Arabs but Europeans are open season for Hollywood. The film still centres on a nuclear bomb being smuggled into the US and used to destroy a city.
The other problem for the film makers was the need to reinvent Ryan as a younger character to accomodate Affleck. As such they have used it to show some of Ryan's earlier life and to include the meeting and courtship of his future wife.
The film is an engrossing thriller but not a blood and guts action movie. There is a strong cast and a good, well told story.
Does Affleck cut it as a young Jack Ryan? I think that depends on your view of him. I think he's a liitle too wooden but this is a good addition to the series. Let's hope he gets another chance.
on 7 January 2015
This is one of my favourite films anyway having bought the DVD edition some time back. Why they have taken so long to release the Bu-ray edition though bewilders me.
In Blu-ray the Sum of All Fears really comes to life not only in the picture quality but also through the increase and crispness of the dynamic sound that the ageing DVD format cannot match.
It's a great drama too as a European fascist terror group acquire a nuclear bomb with a strategy to force all out war between Russia and the USA. Enough said but this film is worth keeping in your collection.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2004
Possibly the best adapted Clancy book, although great liberties are taken with the novel and the plot. Somehow, it hangs together far better than "Patriot Games" or "Clear and Present Danger".
I have to admit to enjoying this movie, up to a certain point. That point became obvious when I realised that, for all the well-rehearsed action scenes, the pivotal point of the movie-the tension which should build up and up during the time when Ryan hi-jacks the "hot line" to the Kremlin-just didn't work. It felt flat and routine. Maybe a closer allegiance to the novel, in which Ryan is under suspicion and out of favour with his own side, would have helped to make this a more dramatic movie, or at least to have added some much-needed tension in its final quarter.
All of that being said, this is a well scripted, generally well acted and engaging film. Had it moved me a bit nearer to the edge of my seat, I would have given it 4 stars. Try it and see what you think-at the very least, it is entertaining escapism.