Clear and Present Danger (1994)

Ah, Jack Ryan movies. Never that great or exciting, but there is usually something vaguely interesting on the political level of the story. In this instance Alec Baldwin is already long gone and we’re in our second and final stage of the mild mannered, middle aged Harrison Ford version. Clocking in at almost two and half hours, the movie gives us plenty of sleazy political maneuvering, plot development and very little actual characterization or character development. It’s closer to watching a chess game than an actual dramatic story, it’s that impersonal. This all might sound rather dry and tedious to sit through for over two hours, but Noyce actually manages to make it entirely watchable with tight pacing and well timed action scenes. So instead of a terribly boring and long movie we get a rather mediocre paint by the numbers one. It’s got entirely well written scenes and moments but never really manages to make anything truly exciting out of the ingredients it was given to work with. The movie does have some very minor retro kitsch value in the “hacking” scene where we get a young Greg Germann play a computer expert, whose job is to sit in front of a computer, manually typing birth dates in different sequence in attempt to crack the password protected computer files, and he literally cracks the password in something close to two minutes after starting.  But that’s about it.

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