Clear and Present Danger (1994)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, James Earl Jones, Benajmin Bratt, Raymond Cruz, Joaquim de Almeida, Miguel Sandoval, the mom from George Lopez, Clark Gregg, and Rex Linn
Grade: A

It’s a shame we never got Harrison Ford in a third Jack Ryan film. This formula just worked.


In the South Caribbean, the U.S. Coast Guard spots a ship by the name of “Enchanter – Mobile”. It’s being driven by a group of unidentified Colombian guys. One of them has blood-stained clothes. As the Coast Guard gets on the loudspeaker to tell them they are going to board their ship, the guy pulls out a flag to try and waive them off, but they board them anyway. Following this, the senior chief calls in for a video camera because something serious has gone down.

At CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, Admiral James Greer (Jones) tells CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Ford) he needs to make the incident in the Caribbean his first priority and to be discreet about it. Not knowing the details, Jack goes right to work. Later, he goes to the White House. He presents his findings in the Oval Office to President Edward Bennett (Donald Moffat), his advisors, and Greer about what happened, showing the video camera footage of the incident in question while laying out the details. Apparently, Peter Hardin and his family were murdered on their yacht. The two men in question surrendered after a brief attempt to outrun the Coast Guard. All they know about the men is that they have a half dozen arrests for drug trafficking in Bogota, Colombia, and they have suspected ties with the Cali Cartel, not Medellin. This is a big deal because Hardin was friends with President Bennett, and he’s deeply affected by this. When CIA Deputy Director of Operations Bobby Ritter (Henry Czerny) tries to pass it off as murder with no real intention, Bennett shuts him down pretty quick because of his ties with Hardin. During this meeting, Greer starts coughing heavily but tells Jack he’s fine when he asks after the meeting is over. Following everyone’s exit, Bennett invites National Security Advisor James Cutter (Harris Yulin) back into his office. Bennett talks about how he promised the American people they would stop drugs from pouring into this country. Cutter points out that they are by supporting Colombia’s efforts against the cartels with equipment and such, but Bennett cuts him off because it hasn’t accomplished anything. He wants to stop these cartels at all costs.

This is where he hits us with the line, “These drug cartels represent a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States”. Basically, he wants Cutter to get something done.

In Cali, Colombia, we see the house of Ernesto Escobedo (Sandoval), a rich and powerful drug lord. Coming to visit him is Col. Félix Cortez (de Almeida). Almost immediately upon entering Escobedo’s property, Cortez flips out on Escobedo for killing Hardin and his family. While in his private batting cage, Escobedo argues Hardin was a thief who had it coming. Plus, he didn’t want Hardin’s kids growing up and attempting to avenge their father’s death. He does look a little bit startled once Cortez tells him that Hardin was a friend of the President of the United States. However, he shrugs it off as no big deal after this initial shock. Acting as Escobedo’s counsel, Cortez explains that Escobedo needs to listen to him more and act more with his brains instead of his balls. If Cortez decides to quit, Escobedo may end up dead because Cortez’s information is what’s keeping him alive. Before Cortez leaves, Escobedo asks who his contact is this time around, but Cortez doesn’t say, so Escobedo correctly assumes it’s a woman.

Back in America, we see Jack and his family. Along with his wife Cathy (Archer) and daughter Sally (Thora Birch), he now has a young son named John as well. Interrupting things is a phone call from the hospital to see Greer. At the hospital, Greer tells Jack he has a very aggressive case of pancreatic cancer. They might be able to operate, but things aren’t clear at the moment. Because he wants to stay in the loop but can’t work during this timeframe, he wants Jack to take over his job and become Acting Deputy Director of Intelligence. Ryan is reluctant but accepts the job. At work, Bobby Ritter is told of the news that Jack is taking over as a provisional appointment until Greer recovers (if he recovers). He is told to bring Jack up to speed over their aide to the Colombians because the first thing Jack has to do is brief the oversight committee to hopefully get another $75 million to them for this project. Bobby seems annoyed with having to work together with Jack and heads straight to his office. When Jack gets into Greer’s office, secretary Margaret tries to take some of Greer’s things down, but Jack tells her to leave it. In Cutter’s office, Bobby explains to Cutter that Jack is a “boy scout” and how it’s going to be hard to sweep certain illegal practices under the rug with him being the acting Deputy Director. Cutter doesn’t seem too worried and just tells Bobby to leave Jack out of it. Bobby agrees but also asks for a copy of President Bennett’s authorization of this new action against the cartels because he doesn’t want to be the one who’s blamed if everything comes out. Though Cutter says that Bennett doesn’t know about it, Cutter agrees to get Bobby his authorization since it’s technically his idea.

Turning to his computer behind him, Cutter types up a letter on behalf of Bennett (and unbeknownst to Bennett) to officially authorize Bobby to conduct operation “Reciprocity”. The purpose is listed as conducting “paramilitary operations against the Cali Cartel”.

In Panama City, Panama, Bobby meets up with John Clark (Dafoe) and offers him the job to go after the cartel. Seeing through the bullshit and knowing that the highest of officials didn’t approve of something this corrupt, Clark accepts the job. However, he wants the money in his account before he moves an inch, a COMSAT link, and an insertion team of twelve men who understand discretionary warfare. They need to be Special Ops people and Spanish-speaking. Bobby agrees to all of his terms. At Dulles Airport in Washington D.C., Cortez flies into town and meets his unknowing contact, Moira (Ann Magnuson). She’s head-over-heels for him, but he doesn’t give a flying fuck about her. They go to a restaurant where Cathy is with a few of her colleagues. She sees Moira and Cortez, but when Cortez sees Cathy, he changes his tune and convinces Moira they should leave to get intimate instead. He exits to call a cab as soon as Cathy approaches the two to greet them because she knows Moira. Apparently, Moira works in the FBI in the director’s office. Cathy asks about Cortez. Unaware of Cortez’s true identity, Moira refers to him as “Señor Roberto Landa” and says he looks like a Latin Jack Ryan. Back at CIA Headquarters, Jack comes to the conclusion that the Hardin killings weren’t about piracy. The suspects also had plane tickets for Miami to Bogota for the morning after the murders. After he discusses the possibility of Hardin being dirty and the suspects getting the electric chair with his team of FBI Agent Dan Murray (Tim Grimm), DEA Agent Ralph Williams and another, we cut to Jack having a worker named Petey (Greg Germann) hack into one of Hardin’s files. He figures it out pretty quickly, and Jack presents his findings at FBI Headquarters.

Apparently, Hardin received a large infusion of foreign investment capital, which he invested in 20 major shopping centers from Ft. Worth to Atlanta. It was strange because in the middle of the recession, he posted record profits. However, according to the IRS and the stockholder statements he was giving them, the shopping centers weren’t doing nearly as well. Actually, they were, but he was just skimming the lion’s share of the profits ($650 million) and putting it in numbered accounts in Luxembourg, Panama, and the Cayman Islands. He was laundering money for his partners in the Colombian drug cartels, and they eventually killed him for it. He relays his findings to President Bennett and his advisors in the Oval Office, and it shocks Bennett to his very core. All the advisors say they’ll downplay Bennett’s friendship with Hardin to the press, but Ryan suggests the opposite because it won’t give them a story to dig for. At Fort Hunter Liggett in California, John Clark adds members to his special ops team, along with Captain Ramirez (Bratt). Clark is thoroughly impressed by sniper Domingo Chavez (Cruz), and Clark and Ramirez bring him back to their office to ask him some questions. They tell Chavez about their team and how he could be gone for up to six months. If Chavez doesn’t die in the mission that they want him for, he’ll have his choice of assignment in special ops. Once Chavez accepts, we see Bennett on television saying exactly what Jack told him to say to the media. Jack is happy for himself, but his family doesn’t give a shit.

Ryan goes to the oversight committee to collect the funding for helping Columbia curtail the cartels. Things seem to be going well, but Senator Mayo (Hope Lange) asks how he thinks additional funding will help advance this program from the “utter failure that it is”. Jack points out that the findings they have clearly states their assistance is limited to “supply and advice only”, but Mayo counters by comparing their request for supplemental antidrug funds to Vietnam, which seems like a massive overreaction on her part and Jack reacts accordingly. She doesn’t think he’s given their committee all the facts, but he says otherwise. Then, she makes Jack promise the escalated funds won’t be used for any covert military action. Jack gives her his word.

Little does he know, the rest of the government did not seem to get that message.

Addressing his team in the helicopter before they land, Clark tells everyone to get rid of dog tags or anything that can be used to identify them. Clark drops them in Colombia and flies off. Back home, Bobby lets Cutter know the mission is in effect. Later, Jack meets with Bennett and some of his advisors in the Oval Office. After shaking hands with Bennett and some guy taking a picture of it and leaving, they ask if the $650 million (“and change”) is still in Hardin’s offshore accounts. It is, so Bennett says they should go and get it because it’s worth ten times this amount in political capital. However, Jack reveals this connection with Hardin and the cartels is technically just a theory of his. The money is for sure there, but who Hardin was working for is still unclear. They would have to establish who he was working for before they seize the money, so Bennett tells him to go do this. Of course, this means that Bennett wants Jack himself to go to Colombia to figure it out. Jack tells Greer of the news, and he laughs at Jack’s predicament. However, Greer does say to look up John Clark if he runs into any trouble in Colombia because they go way back. Before Greer goes in for another chemotherapy treatment, he tells Jack to watch Bobby like a hawk. In Colombia, Ramirez is on the ground with the team, and they spot cocaine being loaded on some planes. Sitting in a building elsewhere in the country, Clark gives him the green light to blow it up. Soon after, Jack takes a plane to Bogota, Columbia. Upon arrival, he is greeted by DEA Special Agent Jean Fowler (Belita Moreno). She gives him some basic information about Escobedo and his intelligence officer. They don’t have a picture of him, but they know he exists.

Of course, this is Cortez, and he is back in Colombia hanging with Escobedo at his place.

This is where Escobedo gets the news of another one of his planes being blown up, so he tells Cortez to find out who is doing this. After Escobedo leaves, Cortez tells his underling Sipo (Jorge Luke) that he sees this as an opportunity. Jack enters some building and meets with Clark for the first time. He tells Clark he’s positive that Hardin was tied in with the cartels and its definitely drug money, but he can’t prove it at the moment. Clark asks why Jack is telling him all of this, so Jack admits he was told that Clark is well aware of the scene in Colombia. He also name drops Greer and how he has terminal cancer. Having the utmost respect for Greer, Clark asks Jack if he likes coffee. Since he does, he tells him to try the “Lindo brand”, as it’s some sort of code Clark is relaying to him without actually saying it. Later that night, Jack calls Bennett and says Hardin’s partner was Escobedo. It’s not a theory this time. It’s a fact. Like any other drug lord, Escobedo was running legitimate businesses as well, and Hardin was working with these businesses. One of these businesses was importing coffee and he was overpaying for it ($6,200 a pound). This is good news. However, the DEA there feels the Colombian government would want the seized funds or at least a large portion of them. Bennett refuses this and tells Jack to relay the message that the money is property of the United States, but Jack doesn’t know anything about being a negotiator. So, Bennett sends FBI Director Jacobs (Tom Tammi) to Colombia to speak with their attorney general because he went to school with them.

After Ramirez and the team take out an underground drug facility and Escobedo and Cortez see the aftermath, Jacobs leaves for Colombia and suggests the hard-working Moira take some days off. Moira calls Maiquetía, Venezuela, and Cortez’s secretary answers. She patches in the call to Cortez, who is still in Colombia. Moira asks Cortez if he’s free in the next couple of days because her boss left the country, and he tells her he’ll call back. Meanwhile, Bennett makes a statement that an investigation by the Department of Justice has identified several bank accounts from Luxembourg to the Caymen Islands used for laundering drug money “on an unprecedented scale”. In cooperation with five foreign governments, they have taken the necessary steps to seize over $650 million. They’re also going to seize 20 real-estate joint venture investments in the U.S. which were the primary agencies in the laundering operations. The media asks to speak to Jacobs, but he says Jacobs is directly involved in the investigation and isn’t available for comment. Watching on television is Jack, and he can’t believe it. At the same time, Escobedo watches the press conference and flips out as well because Bennett is trying to claim what he thinks is his money. Cortez watches too, though he’s plotting something. He plans to go to Washington to “tie up some loose ends”, but he tells Sipo about where the Department of Justice’s plane will probably land and their likely route afterwards. As Cortez calls in to Moira, Jacobs arrives to Colombia with his advisors, and they head into a group of SUVs with the ambassador and Jack. In some log cabin, Cortez meets with Moira and kills her.

Back in Colombia, disguised as the local police escort, Sipo kills a cop and takes his spot in the escort of Jacobs, Jack, and the rest of the U.S. officials. He leads them down a specific road and the cartel attacks with RPGs and machine guns from the rooftops. Jack tries to lead them out alive, but he’s the only one who survives the attack. Over the phone, he tells Cathy he is coming home, but we know his involvement in this mission won’t be over just yet as the corruption surrounding it goes much deeper than he anticipated. Bennett is told of the attack and can’t believe it. He sees this as the cartel directly challenging the sovereign power of the United States, and he’s not going to take this lying down.

My Thoughts:

Clear and Present Danger is just as good as Patriot Games, but it’s a much different movie in comparison. From the energy to the villains, to the action, to how everything is paced, the contrast in styles between these sequels is evident, especially in a back-to-back watch. In Clear and Present Danger, we bring the character back into his element, the offices of the CIA. The analyst is back. Though it may not be the more straightforward actioner Patriot Games was, the thought-out and calculated presentation of the analyst and the situations he finds himself in is the heart of the character Tom Clancy created. It may be a bit more tedious to watch unfold in this third movie of the series, but it’s a much more accurate representation of the Ryanverse. The importance surrounding the politics of the situation supersedes the action at times. As a result, you’re going to think one of two ways. Either you will wholeheartedly see Patriot Games as the superior movie in terms of entertainment value, or you’ll appreciate the different direction Clear and Present Danger takes, you’ll like the slow build for what it is, and you’ll accept and enjoy the fact that this sequel is much more accurate in representing the character. Truthfully, until Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan starring John Krasinski, this sequel was arguably the best adaptation of Clancy’s novels.

First and foremost, Jack Ryan is a CIA analyst with an intelligent mind and a desk job. He only turns into a globe-trotting action hero the world needs when his hand is forced, and he sees wrongdoing in front him. It’s where his characterization of being called a “boy scout” begins, something that we hear again notably at the end of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. In some reviews of this franchise, this term has become a criticism of the character. Having a protagonist with this internal gut instinct to always do the right thing no matter the consequences has seemed to be criticized as unrealistic by a lot of reviewers over the years, but this isn’t fair. Wanting the character to have depth doesn’t mean that the hero needs to have a dark side. Unfortunately, everyone has become so jaded in their world views that they want every movie protagonist to do something bad. This doesn’t always have to be true when creating a compelling character. You can still make a hero with plenty of faults and weaknesses without sacrificing his moral compass in the process. Admittedly, it’s a hard thing to make work, but if enough factors come to play, it can succeed. In this case, we got the right actor to win over the audience through and through, the right circumstances to make his reactions believable accompanied with previous knowledge of the character, and the right amount of corruption around him to make Jack look like an authentic good guy in a high-ranking position in government, even if this type of person may not exist in most real-life situations. With Jack, he’s just as compelling as he struggles mightily trying to fight those who want him to accept their wrongdoings as a means to an end.

He is the personification of hope.

Jack Ryan exemplifies this hero archetype that is very hard to do in the modern era without being corny. In fact, Harrison Ford does it so well, the audience doesn’t groan at his “boy scout” antics that wouldn’t be out of place in a Jimmy Stewart movie from the 1950s. If anything, we cheer Jack as he refuses to let things slide or take a step back to any sort of corruption that undermines his beloved United States, with the one’s in the highest form of power being the guiltiest. Hell, he even lets the President have it at one point!

Honestly, that scene alone makes me want a third film in Ford’s Jack Ryan movies because the fallout stemming from this massive moment and the ending combined with it warranted a follow-up.

Despite the amount of desk work involved this time around, it’s such an awesome portrayal that it only adds to Jack Ryan’s cinematic legacy. He makes this tag of being this “boy scout” a heroic, arguably cool thing. Standing up to government officials on the wrong side of the law is awesome to see because we rarely see it in real life. Sure, it gets him into trouble more often than not, especially with those that are higher on the totem pole, but Jack’s moral compass is stronger than almost any protagonist in the history of the film and television world. It’s not the character being a “white knight” or less three-dimensional, this is just who Jack Ryan is. When the spotlight is shone on this crucial part of the character’s personality, you get some of the best work of the character. This is why Clear and Present Danger and Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan are the best representations of Tom Clancy’s famed character. Working in the government with law enforcement and intelligent agencies while being the lone guy who refuses to work side-by-side with corruption of any kind becomes a trademark of the character, and it starts with Ford’s no-nonsense, all-American approach in Clear and Present Danger. His biggest strength is also his biggest fault, as his refusal to take shortcuts that could involve anything illegal or problematic stall him at continued impasses. Again, this could be a particularly cheesy trait for almost any movie hero but not Jack Ryan. He makes you want to be better a man, a better person. You find yourself giddy when Jack tells Bobby he’s going to prison, though in person if you heard this, you’d probably groan.

This is the power of Tom Clancy’s hero, as well as Harrison Ford’s movie star charisma that he showcases in every almost every role he has.

When Sylvester Stallone mows down fifty people in a jungle, people watch and think, “Wow, that was badass!”. When Harrison Ford’s Jack Ryan points out the recording of the phone call (“The machine is still on Moira”) as the potential voice of the killer (Cortez), you want to become smarter and more analytical to your approach in daily life because Jack does so in such a compelling way. Then again, maybe we’re just impressionable people. I don’t know, but the fact that I was just as impressed from Jack Ryan’s ability to read a situation right before the iconic cartel attack shows you how different this type of action hero is. Jack can notice any small detail that no one else seems to see. He’s clued in at all times. Before the aforementioned shootout, he notices a disguised Sipo looking out of place and sees the strangers close by react as if there were about to be an impending attack. There is a reason Jack is this high up in the CIA. He may be the best analyst we’ve ever seen put to film. Don’t get me wrong, Jack still has his moments when he turns into the action hero that we know he has within him. Going into Escobedo’s compound unarmed, with no help, to tell him of Cortez’s ulterior motives is one of the ballsiest things the character could do at his age. Hell, going into Colombia with just John Clark’s assistance for a rescue mission only furthers this.

On a side note, in a film almost humor-less, Jack trying to attack Clark when he entered the room because he didn’t know it was him was a small but perfect tension-breaking scene that really completed the production in an under-the-radar move.

Willem Dafoe was solid. Taking a break from playing villains, Dafoe still contains that wickedness about him, but it’s needed for the role of John Clark, the human weapon they send in to do the dirty covert jobs no one else wants to do. When looking at the character description, Dafoe really fits the bill because of the unpredictable aura he gives off, where you’re not sure which side he could land on depending on the situation. Despite whom he seems like at first, John Clark shows his true colors. He still knows right from wrong. Clark is very much the definition of never judging a book by its cover, a term we can refer to a lot regarding certain characters in this film. You never know who seems to be helping or hurting the situation, as certain politicians involved change colors in front of your eyes like a chameleon depending on the scenario and the goal. Basically, we are reminded throughout Clear and Present Danger, that the world is gray. To do good, you may have to do a little bad, and the officials involved insist on this notion to get things done. Jack Ryan is the only person who refuses to sweep things under the rug, which is why he scares those in power. They can’t get away with the usual bullshit they’ve been doing for years with someone as smart as Jack snooping around. What’s weird is that we’ve been so desensitized to government corruption over the years, that many won’t consider this crucial element to the story a big deal until watching this film all the way through. It’s a reminder to the American people how far we have strayed from the path of good over evil. It has become commonplace to scheme and do shady things when it could be avoided more often than not.

As Ritter points out to Jack, the world has become too gray. It’s not black and white, but Jack Ryan refuses to accept this and will work by his lonesome if he has to. If he has to take the long way or go to Colombia by himself to right the wrongs of his co-workers, he will do it. It’s messy, it’s dangerous, and it’s far from easy, but it is possible to do the right thing while holding the interests of the American people in high regard. Many have forgotten this fact after years of seeing the opposite front and center, but this is a very American-proud action film that reminds audiences that having a clear conscience and unshakeable morals will always be worth it, no matter the cost. This foundation laid down by Harrison Ford is what makes Jack Ryan a hero’s hero. In addition, there are reminders as to why it’s so difficult just as well, and you get particularly tough moments when a cartel house is bombed and thirty are killed (a lot of them being bad individuals), but women and children are included as well. This is far from an easy job, and surreal moments like this remind the viewer of what could happen if the people in power are wrong.

Joaquim de Almeida is solid as the mysterious former Cuban intelligence officer and former ally of Puerto Rican terrorist group, the Macheteros. Admittedly, I’m not sure if he’s very good at playing a smooth villain, or if his slicked back hair does all the work for him. It’s hard to tell. Even so, Joaquim de Almeida has a penchant for playing bad guys because of the slimeball energy he possesses, so much so that secondary villain in Escobedo doesn’t trust him. Speaking of which, Miguel Sandoval was pretty memorable as the Colombian drug lord too. Truthfully, he’s got the perfect look for it, and he’s surprisingly charismatic in the role. His contentious partnership with Cortez becomes an intriguing one, with layers added to it in almost every scene. Also, I loved his reasoning for killing Hardin and his family. His logic is actually airtight for a villain. He argues that he doesn’t want them coming back to avenge their father when they get older. Honestly, I can’t even argue with this somewhat paranoid idea. Escobedo has clearly seen just as many action movies as I have because I’d assume the same thing in his shoes. James Earl Jones’s final turn in the role of James Greer was another great one. Though the character is dying, his involvement in the story is crucial to Jack Ryan’s development as a character as he doesn’t have his mentor to lean on anymore to back him up. Greer’s situation forces Jack to become stronger in his will to do the right thing, despite not doing so could put less pressure on himself and the dying Greer who still tries to be the hopeful, guiding light for Jack even though he’s on his deathbed. It adds to Jack’s ultimate test he faces as a protagonist, facing off against the wily team of Cutter and Bobby.

For a moment, you can feel a bit of the regret because his life may be in danger as he states, “I’m afraid if I dig any deeper, no one’s gonna like what I find”. However, he’s reminded of his oath and how important his word is by the wise Greer. It’s going to be hard, but the truth is never easy. Someone has to do it. Otherwise, the corruption will only dig deeper. If Jack has to be a one-man army behind the scenes instead of in the field, then he’ll do it. Then again, he’ll go in the field too if he has to.

Whatever it takes to do what’s right. It’s the motto Jack Ryan lives by.

Though I hold some criticism for the amount of politicking compared to action in this film, I can’t say that it’s not uneventful or boring. First of all, the race between Jack and Bobby, as Jack tries to print Bobby’s restricted files that he tries to delete at the same time, is one of the best scenes in the entire film. How they manage to get your heart racing while both characters sit behind a desk is a testament to how underrated the direction by Phillip Noyce was along with the performances from our cast. The meeting between Cortez and Cutter was also massive when you consider the plot of the film as a whole, with Cutter basically being faced with selling out his own people in Clark’s team just like how Richard Harris’s Paddy was in Patriot Games and initially refused. Again, it’s just a conversation, but the implications are world-turning, especially with Cortez handing an offer out on a silver platter that could help Bennett win over his people until his term as President is up, with him promising to reduce cocaine shipments by half and allowing for regular quotas on major arrests they can take credit for.

Clear and Present Danger is the most “Jack Ryan” of all the Jack Ryan movies. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on what mood you’re in. Though it has taken me a bit, I have to come to respect that Jack isn’t a one-man action hero in the traditional sense. He’s a much different character than we thought coming out of this film’s predecessor. In Patriot Games, the action was very intense and a family affair. Here, the focus is entirely on Jack and his family is barely in it, despite how important they seemed before. Even so, we don’t miss it because of how carefully constructed this story of Colombian cartels and their involvement in the American government is handled. With this being said, this sequel doesn’t really hit its stride until an hour in. Action movie fans be warned. There is a heavy political focus, a lot of office talk for an action thriller, and a lot to keep track of in the first half of this film. If you’re not paying attention, you will get lost in a hurry. Thankfully, Harrison Ford keeps things interesting when it was in danger of losing us in the first forty-five minutes. Once the first major action sequence hits though, it’s electric, as the slow build makes this scene feel momentous. In the second half, the movie starts firing on all cylinders, setting up a big finale that is well worth the wait. Yes, in total, the story is a bit convoluted in terms of details, with an overabundance of supporting characters and competing allegiances being thrown at onscreen as we try to keep up, but all the pieces eventually come together.

As long as you didn’t lose interest during the slower pace of the first half, you start to make all the connections as to why the buildup and length of the film was so important. It may not be as action-driven as the previous film, but both Ford-led Jack Ryan movies should be given their flowers as very different and gripping assignments for our beloved protagonist. When you take a step back and analyze the situation much like Jack would, you’ll start to realize how well done Clear and Present Danger is through and through.

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