Sum of All Fears

Sum of All Fears

3.9 15
Director: Phil Alden Robinson

Cast: Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell


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The successful franchise of Paramount motion pictures based on novelist Tom Clancy's techno-thrillers featuring heroic CIA intelligence analyst Jack Ryan stages a much-publicized "do-over" with this action-adventure that recasts the character of Ryan as a rookie to the complex game of geopolitical warfare. Ben Affleck takes the reins from Harrison Ford as Ryan, a… See more details below


The successful franchise of Paramount motion pictures based on novelist Tom Clancy's techno-thrillers featuring heroic CIA intelligence analyst Jack Ryan stages a much-publicized "do-over" with this action-adventure that recasts the character of Ryan as a rookie to the complex game of geopolitical warfare. Ben Affleck takes the reins from Harrison Ford as Ryan, a greenhorn CIA historian and analyst who finds himself thrust front and center into the spy community's spotlight when Nemerov (Ciaran Hinds), a Russian politician on whom Ryan is an expert, suddenly becomes the leader of the former Soviet Union upon the current president's unexpected demise. Attached to the director of the CIA, Cabot (Morgan Freeman), Ryan insists -- contrary to the opinions of many high-ranking White House officials -- that Nemerov is not a warmonger. Meanwhile, a cadre of neo-fascists, led by Dressler (Alan Bates), plots the detonation at the Super Bowl in Baltimore, MD, of a nuclear device recovered from a long-ago Israeli fighter jet crash, a terrorist incident they intend to spark a war between the super powers, leaving them to conquer the world in the conflict's post-apocalyptic vacuum. The Sum of All Fears co-stars James Cromwell, Bridget Moynahan, and Liev Schreiber as covert operative John Clark, a character central to another series of Clancy's best-selling tomes.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Assuming the mantle previously worn by Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck becomes CIA agent Jack Ryan in this riveting spine-tingler based on one of Tom Clancy’s early novels. Sadly, The Sum of All Fears -- which depicts a terrorist’s nuclear attack upon an American city -- acquired unexpected relevance following the events of September 11, 2001. Ignoring the continuity established in the earlier Clancy adaptations The Hunt for Red October and Clear and Present Danger, Sum introduces Ryan as a callow intelligence analyst taken under the wing of a veteran agent (Morgan Freeman) when relations with Russia become strained to the breaking point. Unbeknownst to them, a nihilistic neo-fascist (Alan Bates) hopes to precipitate nuclear war by exploding a small atom bomb in a Baltimore football stadium -- and making sure that the Russians are blamed. The horrific consequences of this act are depicted realistically and in chilling detail, and Ryan races against time to prove that terrorists are behind the bombing. Sum’s script has some incongruities and relies on improbable coincidences, but director Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams) maintains such a brisk pace that you won’t be aware of them until the film is over. Affleck may strike some Clancy fans as being too boyish to play Ryan, but he’s believable in the role and additionally enjoys the backing of a terrific supporting cast that includes James Cromwell as the beleaguered President, Liev Schreiber as a cold-blooded CIA "spook," and Colm Feore as one of Bates’s associates. At times a grim and even frightening film, The Sum of All Fears is also a compulsively watchable thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat -- literally. Robinson supplies two full-length commentaries for the film on DVD, one with cinematographer John Lindley and another with author Tom Clancy. There are also two featurettes covering various aspects of the film’s production.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
A mostly successful effort to reboot Paramount's successful Tom Clancy franchise of high-tech political thrillers, this elaborate action hit is surprisingly gripping and effective for most of its running time, only fumbling with a poorly developed villain and a few regrettable clichés in its final act. Quickly becoming the American version of James Bond, the Jack Ryan character is here interpreted by the third actor in only four films, but it's a welcome surprise that Ben Affleck delivers his second good performance in the same year (after Changing Lanes). Affleck revealed a new vulnerability and emotional depth that will be welcomed by fans preferring Alec Baldwin's slightly nerdy take on Ryan over Harrison Ford's more seasoned tough-guy version. The script's conceit of returning Ryan to his young analysis-drone roots works quite well, emphasizing the character's fish-out-of-water qualities and making him a better stand-in for audience identification -- as well as giving the veteran Morgan Freeman something to play against as Ryan's wily fox of a professional mentor. A sequence involving a terrorist nuclear explosion on American soil is handled well effects-wise, and tastefully, out of consideration for real-world events only months before. However, the placement of the climactic blast at the film's midpoint, rather than later in the narrative where it belongs, serves to deflate the remaining tension. Scenes depicting the president's dickering with advisors over whether or not to launch a retaliatory strike smack of overly familiar Cold War vintage dramas such as By Dawn's Early Light, and it doesn't help that Ryan ends up grappling with a beefy neo-Nazi in a darkened Baltimore warehouse, a beat more reminiscent of a typical Barnaby Jones episode than an expensive summer blockbuster. Speaking of Nazis, Alan Bates as the film's proto-Hitler wannabe Dressler is never quite delineated clearly, showing up only occasionally to make demented fascist-apologist speeches and then disappearing for long stretches, his evil scheme never seeming realistic enough to create a palpable sense of dread. Nevertheless, the final payoff is satisfying and for most of the journey there, the filmmakers deliver the pulse-pounding goods, ensuring further Affleck-as-Ryan adventures will be in the offing.
Entertainment Weekly
Ben Affleck is more than a stand-in for Harrison Ford. Owen Gleiberman
Chicago Sun-Times
Director Phil Alden Robinson and his writers, Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne, do a spellbinding job of cranking up the tension. Roger Ebert
New York Observer
An exciting action blockbuster. Rex Reed

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Product Details

Release Date:
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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ben Affleck Jack Ryan
Morgan Freeman William Cabot
James Cromwell President Fowler
Liev Schreiber John Clark
Alan Bates Richard Dressler
Philip Baker Hall Defense Secretary Becker
Ron Rifkin Secretary of State Owens
Bruce McGill National Security Advisor Revell
Ciarán Hinds President Nemerov
Bridget Moynahan Dr. Cathy Muller
Colm Feore Olson
Josef Sommer Senator Jessup
Ken Jenkins Admiral Pollack
Michael Byrne Anatoli Grushkov
John Beasley General Lasseter
Jamie Harrold Dillon
Marie Matiko Actor
Sven Ole Thorsen Haft

Technical Credits
Phil Alden Robinson Director
Paul Attanasio Screenwriter
Cindy Carr Set Decoration/Design
Tom Clancy Executive Producer
Nicolas de Toth Editor
Marie-Sylvie Deveau Costumes/Costume Designer
Francine Gagnon Makeup
Martin Gendron Art Director
Jerry Goldsmith Score Composer
Isabelle Guay Art Director
Claude Lafrance Set Decoration/Design
Michele Laliberte Art Director
Celine Lampron Set Decoration/Design
Raynald Langelier Set Decoration/Design
Jean-Pierre Lavoie Set Decoration/Design
Stratton Leopold Executive Producer
John Lindley Cinematographer
Mindy Marin Casting
Andrew Neskoromny Art Director
Mace Neufeld Producer
Jeannine Oppewall Production Designer
Claude Pare Art Director
Michael J. Payne Sound/Sound Designer
Daniel Pyne Screenwriter
Charlotte Rouleau Set Decoration/Design
Patrick Rousseau Sound/Sound Designer
David Sardi Asst. Director
Al di Sarro Special Effects Supervisor
Rick Shean Set Decoration/Design
Neil Travis Editor
Tom Walston Sound/Sound Designer

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