0

Jack Ryan, Ben Affleck, is an analyst for the CIA in Washington. When the Russian President suddenly dies, Jack is taken to Moscow by CIA director William Cabot, Morgan Freeman, to meet the new President, Nemerov, Ciaran Hinds; Ryan had worked on a profile of Nemerov, so he`s the CIA`s expert on the new man. Soon afterwards, a major crisis erupts when Dressler, Alan Bates, a fanatical Austrian neo-Nazi, purchases a nuclear device, an atomic bomb lost by the Israeli airforce during the Yom Kippur war. Dressler aims to explode the bomb in an American city in order to push the U.S. and Russia into a lethal nuclear war. Jack Ryan has undergone a transformation since we last saw him, played by Harrison Ford, in the two Phillip Noyce films, Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger; he`s much younger, not yet married, though he`s dating a doctor, charmingly played by Bridget Moynaham, and he`s a very junior member of the CIA. This story might, before September 11, have seemed like a fantasy; now the idea of renegade terrorists exploding a nuclear bomb in America doesn`t sound so fanciful at all, and for much of its length this film, directed by Phil Alden Robinson, (whose last, Sneakers, was a different kind of spy movie) is a real nail-biter. Affleck registers strongly as the hero who struggles against the odds to get his voice heard among the panicky cries for war, and James Cromwell makes an imposing President. Towards the end the film, though still exciting, gets a lot less convincing, but it`s certainly one of the better movies of its type.