Saturday, June 27, 2015

Film Review: Patriot Games (1992)

Patriot Games (Review)
United States/1992
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...engaging, suspenseful, thrilling, well-balanced, and well-paced."

Retired CIA agent Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) is thrust back into action when he stops an assassination attempt on Lord Holmes of Britain.

Patriot Games follows Jack Ryan after he suddenly bolts into action and stops the assassination attempt. Of those responsible, Sean Miller (Sean Bean) is captured and Sean's brother is killed by Ryan — the others escape. So, Ryan testifies against Miller and believes it's over. However, Ryan has angered Sean, and Sean's out for blood. Concurrently, Sean's cell, which has splintered from the Irish Republican Army, set out with their goals of capturing Holmes for ransom. In order to protect his family and thwart their plans, Ryan returns to the CIA and leads a suspenseful investigation. It all leads to a very memorable and thrilling climax. The ending was also charming.

Patriot Games is a great political action film. The film has a great balance of narrative, suspense, and action. Consequently, you have a very entertaining and well-paced film. The plot, particularly the characters and their motives, kept me engaged. It develops very well and uses political turmoil to create something suspenseful and exciting. The film isn't reliant on big, computer-generated blockbuster action set pieces, either. Instead, the film opts for blazing shootouts, a few roaring explosions, and many thrilling and suspenseful chase scenes. I really don't have many complaints. Sure, somethings could be better, but I otherwise enjoyed it as a whole.

Harrison Ford is great as Jack Ryan. Ford has charisma and strong screen presence. Sean Bean is also very strong as the relentless antagonist. I loved some of the dialogue and I disliked some. "Tits" is my favorite line, while I felt Thora Birch, who plays Ryan's daughter, had inauthentic dialogue. Maybe I'm inexperienced or unenlightened, but she certainly doesn't sound like any 10-year-old I've ever met. The cinematography is great and the music is excellent. Director Phillip Noyce crafts a suspenseful and engaging action film — a film with brawn and brains. He takes a smart political narrative and creates an explosive and exciting thriller.

Overall, Patriot Games is a great political-action film. It's engaging, suspenseful, thrilling, well-balanced, and well-paced. It's not a nonstop boom-and-bang film, but there is hardly a dull moment. Top this meticulous story-action balance with Harrison Ford and Sean Bean's strong performances and you've got yourself one great flick. I haven't read the book, but, unless you're a hardcore fan, I have zero issues recommending this film for movie fans. Give it a go.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood, some sexuality.

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