tek's rating: ¾

Patriot Games (R)
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This came out in 1992, but I didn't see it until 2023. It's based on a book by Tom Clancy, which I haven't read, and is a sequel to "The Hunt for Red October", which I'm pretty sure I did see at one point (long before I started reviewing movies), but should probably watch it again sometime. While the main character, Jack Ryan, was originally played by Alec Baldwin in "Red October", in this movie he's played by Harrison Ford. I think most of the movies in this franchise are more or less spy movies, but while there's some amount of CIA work involved here, I consider this one more of an action movie.

In this movie, Ryan is retired from the CIA, and now teaches at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. He's married to a doctor named Cathy (Anne Archer), who I guess was named Caroline in the first movie (played by Gates McFadden, but I think she's meant to be the same character, despite the different name, which is weird). They have a young daughter named Sally (Thora Birch). At the start of the movie, the three of them are in London, and Ryan intervenes in a terrorist attempt to kidnap a member of the royal family, Lord William Holmes. He kills two of the attempted kidnappers, and Sean Miller (Sean Bean), the older brother of one of the men Ryan killed, is captured by the London police. (But he eventually escapes.) It turns out that Miller is part of a rogue cell of the IRA, led by Kevin O'Donnell, which also includes O'Donnell's lover, Annette (Polly Walker). Members of the cell later try to kill Ryan and his family, in revenge for the death of Miller's brother, but they fail, despite seriously injuring Cathy and Sally. Miller returns to the cell's base in North Africa to prepare for a future attempt to kidnap Lord Holmes, but he remains obsessed with getting revenge against Ryan. Meanwhile, Ryan returns to the CIA to try and find Miller. The movie's climax comes when Lord Holmes visits the Ryans at their home, which I thought was an awfully convenient (read: contrived) plot device that brings Miller and O'Donnell's two targets together, but whatever. It worked well enough.

I don't want to say any more about the plot, I guess, but of course the good guys win in the end. There are lots of characters I haven't mentioned. Friends of Ryan's include Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones, reprising his role from the first movie) and Lt. Commander Robby Jackson (Samuel L. Jackson), and there are various other people he works with in the CIA. We also see a bit of the London police interrogating Miller and later cracking down on the IRA after Miller's escape. And there's a representative of Sinn Fein, Paddy O'Neil (Richard Harris), who denounces the attack on Ryan's family and insists the IRA wasn't involved. In fact, early in the movie the IRA sends a team to kill O'Donnell over his attempted kidnapping of Holmes, which was unauthorized and deemed too radical, but of course they failed. Anyway... yeah, there's just a lot of characters and a lot of stuff going on. I found it to be a reasonably interesting movie, if a bit dated, now. I'm glad to have finally seen it, but I don't feel the need to ever watch it again. Still, I wouldn't mind seeing more of the films in the Jack Ryan franchise.

action/adventure index

Ryanverse franchise
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movies: The Hunt for Red October * Patriot Games * Clear and Present Danger * The Sum of All Fears * Shadow Recruit * Without Remorse
series: Jack Ryan