The works of Tom Clancy have long been held as the pinnacle of Cold War and post-Cold War era political thrillers. While the works of Tom Clancy are known these days primarily for the Rainbow Six series of video games; during the 1990s, audiences were gifted with a trilogy of very high quality films. Filled with A-cast celebrities and featuring the highlights of late Cold War era politics and intrigue, the Jack Ryan trilogy, as it might sometimes be known, all started with 1984's The Hunt for Red October.
NOTE: I consider Sum of All Fears and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit to be reboots and not sequels.
Based on Tom Clancy's debut novel of the same name, the book and film achieved phenomenal success and catapulted Clancy to international notoriety. Clancy's masterful integration of hardcore science fiction and political thrillers created a tense exploration of the minds of two men. One, an infamous Soviet submarine Captain, and the other a former US marine turned CIA analyst. The struggle to understand each other's motives outside of direct communication and in direct contrast of the interest of their respective home nations create a true sense of thrill and anxiety.
But does the film hold up after nearly 30 years? Are the performances as good as I remember them from when I was growing up? And is the story just as exhilarating with the Cold War now only a fleeting memory in the mind of most moviegoers?
- Directed by John McTiernan
- Produced by Mace Neufield Productions
- MPAA Rating: G
- Running Time: 135 Minutes
VISUALS - 6/10
SOUNDTRACK - 8/10
CHARACTERS - 8/10
STORY - 6/10
FINAL THOUGHTSThis will not be the last time I discuss the Tom Clancy novels, or even the series or characters as a whole. I adore this franchise and will absolutely go out of my way to sing its praises or promote my own interpretations of the future of the franchise.