Patriot Games was either a masterpiece or close to one. If you don’t like this movie chances are you probably would not like any movie involving similar topics. It is that good.
Made in 1992, this is the second of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series of books to make it onto the big screen. The first was The Hunt for Red October, which was also a great film but in a completely different sort of way.
This is one of the few movies where you are plunged lightning fast into the plot. Right as it opens,with Ford and his family on vacation overseas, we expect lots of expository dialogue and a slow scene, or at best some moderate buildup. Instead (spoiler alert) there is an attack on Lord Holmes by the IRA right next to him and his family.
In a singular moment of heroism he overtakes the terrorists and saves the day, getting shot in the shoulder in the process..
In the process he also killed one of the terrorists, an 18 year old whose brother lived on, was tried and found guilty. He swore revenge.
The plot goes from there, and is all very well done. The only part I was not sure was a masterpiece level bit was the very end fight. Up until that point it is gold though. Some scenes like the highway chase(you will know it when you see it) etch themselves onto your mind. Bravo.
Harrison Ford is great in the lead role of Ryan. Here he adds to his list of iconic roles, along with Indiana Jones and Han solo. James Earl Jones adds quite a bit with his presence. The whole movie is well cast and acted beyond expectations.
I also thought it was very well directed,and while I may not have liked the end fight I thought it had a cute ending after that, a decent breather after what had been a lot of carnage. Very well done and appropriate score as well. The score was truly a high point. It enriched the entire film.
Three and half out of four stars and a great ride, very suspenseful. The side shot of Jack’s wife on the highway saying everything is fine while the van inches into frame outside her window…. the shot of the terrorist walking up the stairs in the dark… these things were about as good as movies like this get. Great, great film.