Clear and Present Danger
Clear and Present Danger was a problematic laserdisc, this reviewer going through three copies to find one without defects on one side or another. The DVD avoids those problems and is a very clean presentation, with a good clear image and beautifully mixed and balanced sound, which even allows one to appreciate (through TV speakers) the subtle use of a portion of Khachaturian's Gayane ballet in one scene. There is a language selection, subtitles if one wants them, and a trailer, but no other special features. Coupled with the somewhat high list price, the purchase is a bit of a stretch given the absence of any bonus features. On the other hand, the movie is a good thriller, successfully linking action spread across an entire hemisphere, and utilizing superb stunt work and second-unit shooting featuring combat planes, cruise missiles, aircraft careers, Coast Guard cutters, and lots and lots of close-quarter fighting. All of this action takes place between the games of turnabout and deceit played around Harrison Ford's acting CIA director, Jack Ryan, and the various White House functionaries, right up to Donald Moffat's somewhat incompetent President (who resembles George Bush). The story, involving an escalating war between the United States and a Colombian drug cartel responsible for the murder of a friend of the President, is more complex than most yarns of this kind and more serious, although it's also a good deal stripped down from author Tom Clancy's original work. Clancy, incidentally, didn't like this movie or Harrison Ford's portrayal of Jack Ryan. His performance seems fine to this reviewer, and Willem Dafoe, Harris Yulin, Anne Archer, and others are superb. Sharp-eyed viewers will also spot Benjamin Bratt in a good supporting role.