The Sum Of All Fears (2002)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  

USA/Germany, 2002.  Paramount Pictures, Mace Neufeld Productions, MFP Munich Film Partners GmbH & Company I. Produktions KG, S.O.A.F. Productions.  Screenplay by , , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .

In Israel, a nuclear bomb long thought lost in the desert sands has gone missing; in Russia the American CIA led by  is investigating the disappearance of three atomic scientists; in Austria a neo-Nazi () is at the head of a scheme to start a war between Russia and the USA that will allow his party supreme rule of the earth. These and many other plot wrinkles are uncomfortably pieced together in this wonky adaptation of Tom Clancy’s novel, one that has been rewritten from the original source to have its main character Jack Ryan now a novice at the CIA instead of the tired professional played by Harrison Ford, in order to accommodate the casting of young .  Unfortunately it hasn’t been rewritten well, so instead of exploring the possibilities available in seeing this character before he could confidently make choices in his line of work, it just comes off as a lame excuse to have the young superstar in the role. Affleck is sturdy in the lead (which was originated by Alec Baldwin), as is the entire supporting cast around him (, ,  and an excellent  as the Russian president are high points, while Bates performs with a stupid German accent that makes his dialogue impossible to understand every time he opens his mouth), but the film’s climax is weak.  The story is more complex and impressive than any other Clancy work, but with a far too-relaxed Phil Alden Robinson directing it too many notches short of white-knuckle tight, it’s a collection of great elements that doesn’t equal the sum of its parts.

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