DVD Review
Clear and Present Danger
Clear and Present Danger poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published June 5, 2003
US Release: August 3, 1994

Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Starring: Harrison Ford , Willem Dafoe , Thora Birch , Benjamin Bratt

Running Time: 141 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $121,985,000
9 of 45
A popcorn ride done skillfully
Clear and Present Danger, Harrison Ford?s finale in the Jack Ryan collection, ends his run with enough excitement and suspense to call it a night. The project may not be as well constructed as Hunt for Red October in filmmaking, but it sure does entertain and keep consistent engagement.

Of all the Ryan installments this is my favorite, as it takes a rather simple idea and carries out very nicely. Where Patriot Games was rather fundamental in structure but still proving to be entertaining, Clear and Present Danger is backed up by solid performances all around and a director (Phillip Noyce) who strays away from the more Hollywood look he gave the previous tale.
This is what you may call a popcorn ride done skillfully, as the faces in the cast are recognizable and very watch-able, the story is well paced, and even if the ending in a nutshell is a no-brainer the entertainment value is what matters. And here, I was being thrilled all the way through.

When one of the president?s friends is murdered, an investigation needs to go down to track down those who are responsible. With Jack Ryan?s (Ford) good friend, Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones), getting deeply ill, Ryan is appointed Deputy Director of Intelligence, which sends him looking into the mystery of the murder that needs unfolding. With ties that lead to the Colombian drug cartels, Ryan collides with a military operative (Willem Dafoe), already planning an attack on such cartels.

Having given Red October a strong B+ rating, declaring Clear and Present Danger my favorite could spark an interesting little discussion. But the truth is, Red October didn?t impress me greatly with the story whereas its production was fairly top notch. With Clear and Present, the story is more fun and even with the lack of excellent execution I find it more exhilarating. The film grabs attention from the get-go, which adds to my ongoing theory that the better flicks tend to open up with a bang, not letting go until the ending credits roll.

Though this installment might be missing the real spot-on tone of October?s introduction (or overall), it?s easier to watch, as the story moves right along with Red October carrying a few slow segments. Ford is better in the leading position than in Patriot Games, showing more ease in the role and definitely a notch above Alec Baldwin?s presence in the first Ryan edition. It?s almost a sad thought to think Ford very likely will never return to the hero position of this franchise, but as long as they keep producing the films in quality, that?s all that really matters. Clear and Present Danger is thrilling and a fun little spy game, which is definitely what these types of flicks are meant to be.

DVD Features:
- 'Behind the Danger' - New Cast & Crew Interviews
- Theatrical Trailer
- Widescreen

Audio Features:
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound + DTS
- English subtitles
- Spanish subtitles
Lee's Grade: B
Ranked #9 of 45 between Ace Ventura (#8) and The Ref (#10) for 1994 movies.
Lee's Overall Grading: 3025 graded movies
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