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DVD Review: Clear and Present Danger (Blu-ray)
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WordSlinger   |  
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Clear and Present Danger Blu-ray DVDClear and Present Danger
Blu-ray
Directed by Phillip Noyce
Starring Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer
Paramount Home Entertainment
Released date: July 29, 2008

Filmed almost immediately following Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger is the second of two Jack Ryan films starring Harrison Ford, but third overall and fourth in the series continuity. Confused yet? Don’t worry, it doesn’t really matter, aside from the fact that Ryan’s wife is pregnant in Patriot Games and their son is already a few years old in Clear and Present Danger.

The primary plot of the film revolves around a Mexican drug cartel, but given today’s political climate, the story can strike a deep chord with many people without looking for a literal representation. No, instead there are the ever-present themes of political corruption, double-dealing, secret government operations and abuse of power. In this particular case, we see a sitting President use the power of his office to settle a personal vendetta, paid for with the lives of American soldiers and promptly swept under the rug when things don’t go so well. Oh the irony. Overall, the story is better developed throughout CaPD than Patriot Games, and the characters are significantly more interesting.

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DVD Review: Patriot Games (Blu-Ray)
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WordSlinger   |  
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Patriot GamesPatriot Games
Blu-ray
Starring Harrison Ford, Anne Archer, Alun Armstrong, Sean Bean
Paramount Home Video
Release Date: July 29, 2008

Though Jack Ryan was first portrayed by Alec Baldwin in the most popular entry in the series based on Tom Clancy novels, I always associated the character with Harrison Ford‘s portrayal. Ford brings a strong sense of moral integrity to the character. This is most evident is Ford’s portrayal in Patriot Games. Through happenstance, an assassination attempt on a British Royal by a rogue Irish terrorist group is foiled by Ryan, who kills one of the attackers in the process. Sean Bean plays one of the surviving terrorists, whose brother is the man killed by Ryan. What ensues is a duel game of cat-and-mouse, with both characters hunting each other across the globe. Maybe it’s not the smash that Hunt for Red October was, but Patriot Games is a solid political and character driven movie all around.

Of the four Jack Ryan films, Patriot Games stands the least to gain from a high definition transfer. The story gives us a much more personal look at the life of Ryan than the other stories do, and the major conflict is driven by the rage-filled vendetta of a single man. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any action, just not the kind that looks that much better in hi-def. A punch is a punch after all, and unless seeing every hair on Harrison Ford’s knuckles counts as “better” then is isn’t much to be done with it. The picture quality is crisp and clear throughout, though. There are not instances where the visuals can wow you, but the quality is stellar throughout.

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