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Overall Rating
2.95

Awesome: 3.67%
Worth A Look35.78%
Average: 27.52%
Pretty Bad: 18.35%
Total Crap: 14.68%

8 reviews, 61 user ratings


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Sum of All Fears, The
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by EricDSnider

"I've seen sum much better action thrillers."
3 stars

"The Sum of All Fears" is a quaint film. It makes the Russians bad guys, and uses Nazis (well, neo-Nazis) as foils, too. It's about a nuclear bomb. The technology and the presence of Ben Affleck will assure you of its modernity, but otherwise, you'd swear you were watching a dour, forgotten James Bond flick.

In fact, it is the latest Tom Clancy story centering on CIA agent Jack Ryan (previously played once by Alec Baldwin and twice by Harrison Ford). Jack is now much younger and does not have a family; instead, he has a girlfriend (Bridget Moynahan) who is a nurse and who does not know what Jack's real job is. She thinks he's a historian, and she wonders what historical emergency could possibly beckon him so early in the morning.

Jack is an expert on the new Russian president (Ciaran Hinds), who seems to be making threatening overtures in the direction of the United States. Simultaneously, a nuclear bomb lost during a 1972 Israeli-Egyptian conflict has found its way onto the black market. Russian scientists seem to be missing, too, apparently constructing a secret bomb. It all connects -- or occasionally doesn't, which is not to the movie's credit -- and Jack Ryan's in the middle of it.

The heart and soul of the film is Morgan Freeman as CIA director John Cabot. When he is no longer a strong presence in the film, his absence is felt. I am not a knee-jerk Ben Affleck detractor -- I think he's a good actor when he wants to be -- but he's lost here. His role is underwritten; he seems like a guest star in his own film. He gets beaten up once, and that's about the extent of his action-hero maneuvers.

Freeman, meanwhile, is cool and respectable. I don't know why this Oscar-nominated actor keeps doing meaningless stuff like this (he was just in the Ashley Judd non-thriller "High Crimes"), but in a way I'm glad. If the choice is between Freeman in garbage and Freeman in nothing, I'll take the Freeman in garbage.

Not that "The Sum of All Fears" is garbage. It does a few major things right, like the finely overwrought war-room sequence these movies always have, with serious actors like James Cromwell and Philip Baker Hall and Bruce McGill saying things like, "We can't bomb the Russians, dammit!" There's also a spectacular and harrowing sequence in which a football stadium is bombed, though it may be that such an event with real-life counterparts ought to be treated with soberness and terror, not reduced to a throwaway plot point like it is here.

Surely this is the least of the Jack Ryan films ("The Hunt for Red October," "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger" being the other three). Its climax is dull -- beware of films that think people typing at computers is exciting -- and there is little of wit or style anywhere to be found. Thirty years ago, it would have been groundbreaking. Now it's just tired.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5927&reviewer=247
originally posted: 06/01/02 02:52:25
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User Comments

1/24/11 JM Synth Deathly Dull. Too dry to be any fun, too silly and thin to be anything substantial 1 stars
5/27/08 PAUL SHORTT A LESS THAN THRILLING THRILLER 1 stars
1/11/07 Ole Man Bourbon I know that I saw "Sum of All Farts," but I can't remember a single thing about it. 1 stars
2/14/06 R.W.Welch Okay plot and execution though Affleck is no H. Ford. 3 stars
2/13/06 Anthony The Highlight of this film is the credits 1 stars
8/17/05 ES 'Hey let's ruin the upstanding line of Jack Ryan movies by adding Affleck!'= ok! 1 stars
3/25/05 me Being a reader of Clancy, I was severely underwhelmed by this, but the book was merely okay 2 stars
3/22/05 Landshark blows hard, thankfully the young Jack Ryan era is a short one 1 stars
3/16/05 R.W. Welch Somehow this stuff doesn't quite work without H. Ford. 3 stars
2/22/05 Captain Craig A good spy flic. Especially if you like Ben. 4 stars
10/29/04 Theresa Wagner Making Jack Ryan younger was a mistake but it shows where he got his start. It's an ok movi 3 stars
7/06/04 patrick Affleck lousy, thumbs up 4 Freeman,Mcgill 4 stars
5/31/04 Nobody If it weren't for Affleck's terrible acting, might have been good. 2 stars
6/26/03 cochese Unrealistic. I hate Affleck, but I tolerated him in this one. 4 stars
6/23/03 Jim Improves on the book, which was good but meandering 4 stars
6/03/03 spacecowboy The last 15 minutes were absolutely beautiful. 4 stars
3/17/03 G-man last 45 minutes- awsome, but no good in first hour 4 stars
1/17/03 y2mckay mediocre adaptation of the novel, Ben Affleck the weakest link as usual. 2 stars
12/02/02 Elizaveta Good riveting story - puts the Sept. 11 stuff into perspective 4 stars
11/18/02 Spanky what a letdown. never said "yeah right" so much in a movie 2 stars
11/17/02 snowconehead The book it ain't, but at least there was some nazis died 4 stars
10/29/02 Natalie Stonecipher Good overall edge-of-seat thriller; some subplots incomprehensibly contorted. 4 stars
10/08/02 3man Unrealistic and a lame ending. 2 stars
9/28/02 Digi just not thrill enuf 3 stars
9/27/02 John McNew A bit convoluted, but undeniably effective 4 stars
9/09/02 Monster W. Kung Decent storyline, lame "feel good" ending, too much mumbo-jumbo moralizing. 2 stars
9/08/02 viking Tom Clancy's novel was chilling. This borders on the ridiculous 3 stars
8/18/02 mickey The Jews of Hollywood strike again. This film is utter rubbish. 1 stars
8/06/02 sarahfar88 Jurg is right , they had Bush in mind when they wrote the part for Fowler, go read the book 2 stars
8/05/02 Jurg As unbelievable as flying pigs, as politically correct as the Bush-administration. Crap! 1 stars
7/23/02 Bueller At least Morgan Freeman is making better script decisions since "Hard Rain". 3 stars
7/05/02 Jethro Twenty Cornflake Good stuff when the bomb explodes but mostly dull and contrived. 3 stars
7/01/02 Darrell A real snoozer with very little action. This one will be out on video REAL soon! 1 stars
7/01/02 Michael The explosion scene is awesome!! Ben Affleck and Morgan Freemen were great together. 4 stars
6/29/02 robsv Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan... What's next? Matt Damon as Indiana Jones? 1 stars
6/27/02 Girl 9 Only TWO HOURS TOO LONG!! Only a bit better than crappy. 3 stars
6/22/02 Stephen Hubbard One of the worst scripts I've ever had to sit through. I actually walked out be4 the end! 1 stars
6/22/02 Kever This movie is a fucking can of cat piss. 1 stars
6/14/02 spaceworm Cigarette machines? In a stadium? Since when? 4 stars
6/14/02 TJ Good action flick, but much unbelievable BS. Survive shock of nuclear blast?! 3 stars
6/13/02 frosty Del, you're retarded. Look up the definition of terrorist. 4 stars
6/13/02 Del Give me a break... the real terrorists aren't Neo-Nazis... what bullshit 1 stars
6/13/02 Andy Propaganda bullshit but an ok flick… Nice cinematography. 3 stars
6/13/02 bob Better than some other recent movies 4 stars
6/12/02 FrayLo it's a political thriller, so don't go expecting bond style action 4 stars
6/11/02 Obi Wan Another fine Clancy showing!! I would like to see a movie on Clark w/Schreiber! 5 stars
6/09/02 Jason Taylor This movie rocks! You clowns are doing a relative comparison instead of an absolute one! 5 stars
6/08/02 Viper First half was good, the plot really builds up, then falls apart in the second half. 4 stars
6/07/02 I/O Error Besides from Affleck's less than phenomenal performance, well worth watching. 4 stars
6/07/02 Kyle Here's a nice piece of shit! 1 stars
6/05/02 Todd Pollard Well made adventure 5 stars
6/05/02 Mortis Good if not better than HRO - Looks like the Affleck haters are jealous-poor ugly guys 4 stars
6/05/02 cleansparks I could have done without the pointless romance, but otherwise well done 4 stars
6/04/02 Nick2k alright. not intense like the other. what's with the chronology of these movies though? 3 stars
6/04/02 David A. Intelligent espionage movie. The most exciting part is the depiction of a nuclear explosion 4 stars
6/04/02 Film Dude I refuse to see another Ben Affleck movie as long as I live. Pearl Harbor, now this... 1 stars
6/04/02 Film Guy Messy movie. Ben affleck what where you thinking 1 stars
6/04/02 Blackops does not follow the book, and its Ben Affleck, need i say more. 2 stars
6/04/02 Brad Moynahan Fantastic 5 stars
6/03/02 strider3700 I've seen far worse shit this year. Affleck doesn't even completely suck like normal 4 stars
6/01/02 Kriperace Why did the ragheads get turned into neo-Nazis? 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  31-May-2002 (PG-13)

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