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The Sum of All Fears Review
By Shawn McKenzie 06/02/2002
You know what's weird? I had no idea that
there was still a fear that movies were traumatizing people post-9/11 until the
day before I saw The Sum of All Fears. I honestly thought America had
moved on from being scared of a movie. When Collateral Damage and Big
Trouble were finally released after both being pushed back from their
original dates because of their terrorist content, I thought maybe the fear was
over. I guess I was wrong.
The truth is, there has been terrorism in movies for decades. There has also
been American landmarks being fictionally destroyed for decades too. Was anyone
traumatized when the aliens blew stuff up in Independence Day? What about
all the oversize monster movies of the 50's, 60's, and 70's destroying
landmarks? Did anyone really need therapy after them?
I hate to sound insensitive, but when did people above the age of 7 stop
separating fiction from reality? Come on people...IT IS JUST A MOVIE! It's
escapism. I personally think last year's Freddy Got Fingered was more
disturbing than The Sum of All Fears. Sure, there is really terrorism
going on in the world, but if a movie (that had been worked on before 9/11)
really bothers you that badly that you think it shouldn't be shown ever, you
might have bigger problems. I would get some professional help and talk out your
If you were going to have any problem with The Sum of All Fears, it would
be as a Tom Clancy fan. You might be complaining about them changing the
villains from Islamic extremists (in the novel) to Neo-Nazis. You might be
whining that they mess with the Jack Ryan timeline. Then you would have to suck
it up after you realize that Tom Clancy himself is an executive producer!
In case you are not a follower of the books (I'm not) or the movies (I am), here
is what the movie is about. When the president of Russia suddenly dies and is
succeeded by a man about whom little is known, tension increases as old fears
ignite new paranoia. Director of Central Intelligence Bill Cabot (Morgan
Freeman) recruits a young analyst from the Russia desk, Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck),
to supply advice to him during a nuclear arms inspection. Soon after the capital
of Chechnya is leveled by a nuclear bomb. America is quick to blame the
Russians, and mistrust escalates despite Ryan's insistence that there is an
independent terrorist at work. When those terrorists successfully detonate a
second bomb outside Baltimore during the Super Bowl, America and Russia are
prepared to go to war...unless Ryan can get the president the needed proof to
stop the missiles from being launched!
Now, for the nitpicky Clancy fans, here is the problem. In the world of Jack
Ryan, the events in The Sum of All Fears take place after the previous
three stories (The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and
Clear and Present Danger), but the movie puts Jack Ryan in the present time
and before the events of the first three movies. Confused? I was a little as
well, but since Clancy liked Affleck for the Ryan role, it obviously had to be
reworked to take place in a younger time in Ryan's life, since he is much
younger than either Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October) or Harrison
Ford (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger.) I, as a fan of the
movies, forgive this disruption, because I am an Affleck fan (mainly because I
am a Kevin Smith fan) and Affleck is very good in this movie.
If you put the controversy aside and look at the movie on its own merits, it is
a very exciting flick. Even if you do know what will happen in the movie (via
the trailer that gives away the biggest climactic scene), it still keeps you on
the edge of your seat. As I stated before, Affleck's performance in this movie
is excellent, and actually rivals that of Ford. His chemistry with Freeman,
Bridget Moynahan (as his soon to be wife Cathy), and Liev Schreiber (as John
Clark) rivals Ford's with James Earl Jones (as Admiral James Greer), Anne Archer
(as Cathy), and Willem Dafoe (as John Clark.)
If you are mentally stable and want to see a genuinely thrilling Jack Ryan
movie, check this movie out. Affleck in The Sum of All Fears won't put
you to sleep the way Baldwin did in The Hunt for Red October. You'd have
to be disturbed to watch that movie again!
Check out the first three Jack Ryan
movies on DVD:
Buy these items at
SEE THIS MOVIE!
Catch this movie at the theater if you can...
Wait until it comes out on video...
Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...
Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!
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