I’m still very much a believer that, outside of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford can give off memorable and brilliant performances. He did somewhat in The Fugitive and moreso in Regarding Henry, so his performance as the Tom Clancy book hero, Jack Ryan, is surprisingly one of his best.
The often-forgotten Patriot Games is a surprising hit and has swiftly become one of my favourite movies of all time. With all the right components of a 1990s action movie, with a little bit more of a stretch in-between these action scenes. A solid blend of Under Siege tier action and The Fugitive level writing.
Possibly the best selling point of this movie for anyone would be the cast. Harrison Ford leads us as Jack Ryan in a truly superb performance, along with Samuel L. Jackson and James Earl Jones in some minor roles, and a villainous turn from Sean Bean as we’ve come to expect. The late Richard Harris shows up for a brilliant performance ever so briefly also, with a lot of his screen time leading to some excellent scenes throughout.
What surprises me the most about this movie is the direction. My main problem with 90s films in general is their lack of unique flair and general conformity. However 1992 seems to be an outlying year, with this movie being at a similar standard of direction to Of Mice and Men and Army of Darkness. A unique flair is more than enough, with several enjoyable shots throughout leading to some excellent tense and well-built scenes.
Many of my superiors working in this field wrote Patriot Games off as a standard American action movie, with what it lacks in action not exactly being sought after – after all an action movie should have action in it to the very end. But for me this build-up of tension, the use of the camera and even the sub-plots revolving around police investigation are what really makes this an incredibly, borderline perfect movie.
The strengths of Harrison Ford’s leading role, along with some superb direction from Phillip Noyce make Patriot Games a resounding entry into not only the Tom Clancy collection but the action genre as a whole. A brilliant piece of film for those that were fans of The Fugitive but wanted less Tommy Lee Jones and more of Harrison Ford threatening the Irish.