Harrison Ford in action mode.The good thing about films based on Tom Clancy's books as that they're not nearly as dense. Clancy's novels are 75% technobabble, and the characters take a backseat to the new technology that no reader in their right mind would understand. But in movies, the technology is reduced to being the latest special effect, while the characters move to the forefront.
But the plot of Patriot Games fails us. CIA guy Jack Ryan returns, this time played by Harrison Ford rather than Alec Baldwin (I like Baldwin better). He singlehandedly stops an IRA terrorist attack in England and then becomes the target of a splinter group of the IRA. It's a revenge movie. Ryan spends the rest of the film on the run and in hiding from these terrorists, who eventually make it out to his home for one big showdown.
The technology scenes aren't handled all that well. We see hi-rez cameras showing a raid on a terrorist camp and a satellite photo revealing what appear to be breasts(!), but really it's not all that exciting. In the film's final reel, when terrorist invade Ryan's home, there's an extended sequence of the terrorist hunting the family with night vision goggles. The sequence is dark and muddy, completely devoid of action.
Among the actors, Ford's boring. He lacks the intensity that Alec Baldwin originated with the role, and he lacks the compassion that we need to see in order to believe him as a family man to his wife (Anne Archer) and child (Thora Birch). As the head terrorist, Sean Bean and Patrick Bergin aren't the least bit menacing. Just kinda dirty.There's a reason Clancy had his name removed from the film before it opened, you know.