Patriot Games (1992)
Harrison Ford, Sean Bean, Anne Archer
intelligence agent behind him, former CIA analyst Jack Ryan
(Ford) is caught
terrorist attack on
Holmes, a member of the
Family. Ryan helps
Holmes' assailants and
hero. However, Ryan's courageous act marks him as
Sean Miller (Bean) whose brother he killed. Now Ryan must return
assignment of his life:
his wife (Archer) and daughter (Thora Birch).
installment in the Jack Ryan series replaces Alec Baldwin with
Harrison Ford, a much more bankable star. Patriot Games
continues the life and work of the CIA analyst previously on a
mission to find a Russian submarine in The Hunt for Red
October. In actuality, however, Patriot Games is a
prequel and for the sake of simplicity and Ford’s casting the
film plays like a sequel. Tom Clancy’s novels tend to run at
great lengths and usually book to film adaptations leave out or
compress information. The script by W. Peter Iliff and Donald
Stewart is tightly paced in structure, but the film tends to
slow down at two or three spots. Despite that minor weakness,
director Phillip Noyce (Dead Calm) takes the script and
orchestrates a very decent thriller involving action, drama, and
now involves Ryan and his family personally, which gives off a
sense of importance and urgency. Ford plays the character with
much sincerity and carries the film on his shoulders. The
relationship with his family plays very well so when the
subsequent danger they are faced with intensifies, so does the
emotion for the viewer, in my case at least. The technology used
in the film to track an IRA militant group is pretty neat,
especially the accuracy of it. A lot of Patriot Games is
a cat and mouse game between Ryan and Miller, which is where
most of the excitement comes from. The film has its share of
moments including several clever and well-executed scenes.
twenty minutes, which involves the climactic boat chase, are too
predictable. The cat and mouse formula, if you want to call it
that, is reduced to mere action based on impossibility. It
should be noted that two different endings were filmed. The
alternative ending involving Ryan and Miller fighting on large
rocks in the middle of the stormy sea instead on a burning,
speeding boat. Common sense dictates fighting on a speeding boat
is impossible, so what is wrong with fighting on rocks?
Anticlimactic is the reason, but rocks make more sense.
Nevertheless, Patriot Games is a smart thriller. Its
cat-and-mouse approach works and creates excitement. If you like
The Hunt for Red October, you might enjoy this one to an
extent, but it depends on the individual.
out of 10
comes in an all-new anamorphic widescreen transfer from
Paramount. The print looks as clean as can be, without any major
discrepancies or faults. Some minor dirt spots are visible at
times. Darker scenes are handled well and daylight scenes always
shine. The color palette is very effective as dictated by many
different locations, whether it is the desert, the CIA
headquarters, Ryan’s house, etc. I noticed no artifacts or
compression problems. This transfer is clear and mostly clean.
8 out of 10
presents Patriot Games in two different tracks, English
Dolby Digital 5.1 and English DTS Surround. Both tracks are
impressive and use the speaker system. Explosions make the
difference here, but while there aren’t many, they still come
across as exciting and round. The dialogue is loud and clear.
James Horner’s film score comes across in great strides as the
rear speakers pick up. The final action/chase sequence will make
your front speakers jealous. While these instances occur, the
overall surround usage is lacking. Patriot Games offers a
good presentation with its share of moments. Also included is
the audio option of French Dolby Digital Stereo.
out of 10
Up Close – The main attraction are the all-new cast and crew
interviews. Harrison Ford joins Phillip Noyce and Producer Mace
Neufeld as they reflect on the production. Behind-the-scenes
footage is also included, as well as an explanation on an
alternate ending. It is interesting to watch and is worth
checking out right after finishing the film. Up Close
runs approximately 26 minutes.
get the Theatrical Trailer, but that’s it. It would have been
nice to hear Phillip Noyce talk about this film as John
McTiernan did on The Hunt for Red October release, but I
guess the documentary speaks for itself in a one-sided sort of
way. In addition, English and Spanish subtitles are available.
The menus are somewhat animated and navigation is easy. The
116-minute feature is organized into twenty-two chapters. This
DVD is the definite version of Patriot Games and I think
the subtitle Special Collector’s Edition signifies just that,
despite the lone special feature.
5 out of 10
is exciting and tense most of the time. Harrison Ford and Sean
Bean create very relevant characters and emotions. Phillip
Noyce’s direction and a smart script make this an intriguing
drama with moments of good action. The video and audio transfer
comes in a good presentation and despite only one special
feature the DVD is recommended. Rent it.
Overall DVD Rating: 7 out of 10
(not an average)