Towards the end of last year, I had the pleasure of introducing the second episode of my Let's Talk... series of articles by speaking upon my opinions of adapting the Jack Ryanverse series of books by Tom Clancy. In that article, I mentioned my absolute adoration for the 90s Tom Clancy trilogy of films. Now I've written about The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games previously, so we have only one film left to go.
Released in 1994, Clear and Present Danger has always been a strange film when compared to the other two. One part political thriller and one part military action film, I found Clear and Present Danger the most difficult of the three films to get invested in personally, though the film sees the return of a stunning cast, as well as the introduction of Willem Dafoe as John Clark, a character to actually plays a fairly significant role in the Tom Clancy universe.
Despite being a financial success, this film would mark the end of the Tom Clancy film series until the release of the failed rebooted franchise in 2002's The Sum of All Fears, which I don't have to tell you isn't a very good film and was clearly impacted by the cultural fallout from 9/11.
Which now that I think about it, could really be a summation of the entire Tom Clancy cinematic history. A franchise of excellent political and military thrillers, done in by the inexorable shifting of global politics that drive their stories into obsolescence.
At least...that's what I was going to say until the days leading into the January 6th Capitol Insurrection showed me that apparently a movie about a lone government official combating unconstitutional and illegal activities perpetrated from the very highest offices of government for a personal agenda weren't completely ridiculous. This review was delayed weeks by the change in my review format as well as the shifting sands of the American political climate. It all coalesced to make me reconsider my position on the relevancy of Tom Clancy in an age where internal clear and present dangers are very real and far more deadly than even fiction can come up with.