Clear and Present Danger (film)
|Clear and Present Danger|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Phillip Noyce|
|Screenplay by||Donald E. Stewart
|Based on||Clear and Present Danger
by Tom Clancy
Joaquim de Almeida
James Earl Jones
|Music by||James Horner|
|Cinematography||Donald M. McAlpine|
|Editing by||Neil Travis|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||141 minutes|
Clear and Present Danger is a 1994 film directed by Phillip Noyce, based on Tom Clancy's book of the same name. It was preceded by the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October and the 1992 film Patriot Games, all three featuring Clancy's fictional character Jack Ryan.
As in the novel, Ryan is appointed U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Acting Deputy Director and discovers that he is being kept in the dark by colleagues who are conducting a covert war against drug lords in Colombia, apparently with the approval of the President of the United States.
A U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat stops a suspicious yacht, finding that an American businessman and his family have been murdered by several men operating the craft. The murdered man happens to have been a close friend of the President of the United States. President Bennett (Donald Moffat) learns that the man was murdered because of his ties to a drug cartel, having skimmed over $650 million from the cartel. The President tells James Cutter (Harris Yulin), his National Security Advisor, that Colombian drug cartels represent "a clear and present danger" to the U.S., indirectly giving Cutter unofficial permission to take down the men responsible for his friend's death.
Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) is appointed Deputy Director (Intelligence) when his friend, mentor, and boss Admiral Jim Greer (James Earl Jones) is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Upon his appointment, Ryan is asked to go before the U.S. Congress to request increased funding of $70 million for ongoing Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operations in Colombia. Congress approves the funding, with Senator Mayo (Hope Lange) demanding Ryan's word that no troops or black-ops will be used.
Needing to keep an unwitting Ryan out of the loop, Cutter turns to the CIA's Deputy Director for Operations Bob Ritter (Henry Czerny), who secures a document giving him permission to act as he sees fit to take down the cartel. Ritter assembles a black-ops team with the help of John Clark (Willem Dafoe). The team inserts itself in Colombia, with Clark running logistics from Bogota, Colombia, and Captain Ricardo Ramirez (Benjamin Bratt) leading the ground force in a search-and-destroy mission against various cartel gangs, their equipment, and hidden drug lab facilities.
The head of one of the drug gangs, Ernesto Escobedo (Miguel Sandoval), is enraged at having lost over $600 million as a result of the freezing of assets, and has his intelligence officer, Félix Cortez (Joaquim de Almeida), take care of the problem. Cortez, a former colonel of Cuban military intelligence, has an unwitting contact inside the U.S. government — Moira Wolfson (Ann Magnuson), a secretary to U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Emil Jacobs. Cortez feigns romantic interest to discover that Jacobs is visiting Colombia to negotiate with the local attorney general concerning the frozen money.
Unaware of these covert dealings, Ryan finds himself caught in the middle of an assassination attempt on Jacobs, which only Ryan survives. Cortez travels to the U.S. and kills Moira to cover his tracks. Cortez's real motivation is to cause distrust among the leaders of the cartel (as none of them know who ordered the ambush of the FBI Director). Cortez believes he can assume control of the cartel following the gang war that will result.
In retaliation for the assassination of Jacobs, Cutter orders an air strike on a villa where the cartel's leaders are supposed to meet. The bombing is mostly successful, killing a large number of the cartel leaders and fooling the media and other observers into thinking that the destruction was caused by a car bomb set by a rival drug lord. Escobedo and Cortez avoid the bombing, but innocent women and children are killed in the action, much to Cutter's dismay. The situation is exacerbated when Ryan and Cortez independently discover that the United States was responsible for the bombing.
Cortez brokers a deal with Cutter. Cortez will assassinate Escobedo and take over the cartel, then reduce drug shipments to the U.S. and allow American law enforcement to arrest some of his workers at regular intervals so as to make the U.S. appear to be winning the drug war. In exchange, Cutter will shut down all operations in Colombia and allow Cortez to capture and kill Clark's soldiers. Cutter agrees and orders Ritter to get rid of all evidence of their operations and cut off the troops in Colombia from all support.
Ryan is told about the meeting between Cutter and Cortez. He hacks into Ritter's computer account and discovers Ritter's and Cutter's work in Colombia. Ritter notices Ryan's presence on the computer while Ritter is deleting all of the files, and the two men confront each other. Ritter tells Ryan that he has written permission from the President to do anything necessary to defeat the Cali Cartel, and so does Cutter. Ryan will be the scapegoat for what has happened since he doesn't have that protection and was responsible for the funding from Congress that made the Colombian operations possible.
Greer succumbs to cancer. As the funeral takes place the black-ops team is ambushed in Colombia. Ryan goes to Colombia to find John Clark and save the soldiers. Ritter and Cutter find out about this and tell Clark that Ryan was responsible for the operation's shut-down. Clark almost kills Ryan before Ryan convinces him that Ritter and Cutter are responsible.
Clark hires a local retired American pilot and Ryan buys an aging Bell 412 helicopter. They fly to where the soldiers were attacked and find the squad's scout/sniper, Domingo Chavez (Raymond Cruz), who tells them that two of his unit members are imprisoned and the rest are dead. Ryan visits Escobedo's mansion and tells him what Cortez has been doing. Enraged, Escobedo accuses Cortez of treachery. One of Cortez's men kills Escobedo and henchmen, but is shot by Chávez. Ryan, Clark, and Chávez rescue the prisoners, kill Cortez, and escape.
Ryan confronts the President, who tries to convince Ryan that he now holds "a chip in the big game" — by being in the loop of what happened, Ryan can use the President for special favors; otherwise Ryan and Admiral Greer become the scapegoats. Ryan tells the President that he intends to blow the whistle at a Congressional Oversight Committee session despite the damage it could do to his career. He walks out of the Oval Office and begins his testimony to Congress.
- Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan
- Willem Dafoe as John Clark, known as callsign "Variable" in the film
- Joaquim de Almeida as Col. Félix Cortez
- Miguel Sandoval as Ernesto Escobedo, leader of the Cali Cartel
- Henry Czerny as Bob Ritter, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Deputy Director for Operations
- Harris Yulin as James Cutter, National Security Advisor
- Donald Moffat as President Bennett
- Benjamin Bratt as Captain Ramírez
- Raymond Cruz as Domingo Chávez
- James Earl Jones as Vice Admiral Jim Greer, CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence
- Tom Tammi as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Emile Jacobs
- Tim Grimm as FBI agent Dan Murray
- Anne Archer as Dr. Caroline "Cathy" Ryan
- Ann Magnuson as Moira Wolfson, Assistant to the Director of the FBI
- Belita Moreno as Senior Special Agent Jean Fowler, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force Commander
- Reg E. Cathey as Sergeant Major
- Jaime Gómez as Sgt. Julio Vega
- Dean Jones as Judge Moore
- Greg Germann as Petey
- Ted Raimi as Satellite Analyst
- Rex Linn as Washington detective
- Thora Birch as Sally Ryan
- Ellen Geer as Rose
- Hope Lange as U.S. Senator Mayo
- Colleen Flynn as Coast Guard captain
- Reed Diamond as Coast Guard Chief
John Milius says he wrote the first draft and later wrote the sequence where Jack Ryan is ambushed in SUVs. He says the original ending had Cortez come to Washington to kill the National Security adviser, only to then be killed in a mugging by drug addicts.
The final honors at Arlington National Cemetery are not complete for what a U.S. Navy Admiral would receive. The portrayal lacked a bugler.
As of May 11, 2013, the film maintains an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Segaloff, Nat, "John Milius: The Good Fights", Backstory 4: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1970s and 1980s, Ed. Patrick McGilligan, Uni of California 2006 p 310
- Arlington National Cemetery:: Ceremonies
- Fox, David J. (1994-08-08). "A 'Clear' Triumph at Box Office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
- Welkos, Robert W. (1994-08-16). "Weekend Box Office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-11.
- "The 67th Academy Awards (1995) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- Clear and Present Danger at the Internet Movie Database
- Clear and Present Danger at Box Office Mojo
- Clear and Present Danger at Rotten Tomatoes