Clear and Present Danger (film)

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Clear and Present Danger
Clear and Present Danger film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPhillip Noyce
Screenplay by
Based onClear and Present Danger
by Tom Clancy
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyDonald McAlpine
Edited byNeil Travis
Music byJames Horner
Production
companies
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • August 3, 1994 (1994-08-03)
Running time
141 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$62 million[2]
Box office$215.9 million[2]

Clear and Present Danger is a 1994 American political action-thriller film directed by Phillip Noyce[3] and based on Tom Clancy's 1989 novel of the same name. It is a sequel to The Hunt for Red October (1990) and Patriot Games (1992). (All three movies featured Clancy's character Jack Ryan, though Ford only played the role in the last two.). It is the last film version of Clancy's novels to feature Harrison Ford as Ryan and James Earl Jones as Vice Admiral James Greer, as well as the final installment directed by Noyce.

As in the novel, Ryan is appointed CIA Acting Deputy Director (Intelligence) (DDI), and discovers he is being kept in the dark by colleagues who are conducting a covert war against a drug cartel in Colombia, apparently with the approval of the President. The film premiered in theaters in the United States on August 3, 1994, and was a major financial success, earning over $200 million at the box office.[2]

Plot[edit]

A United States Coast Guard vessel intercepts and boards the Enchanter in the Caribbean Sea. The Coast Guardsmen discover evidence suggesting that the ship's previous occupants, American businessman Peter Hardin and his family, were murdered by the occupying Colombian crew. Jack Ryan discovers through Hardin's computer that the businessman had connections to the Cali Cartel, and embezzled $650 million from them, who subsequently killed him for it under orders from drug lord Ernesto Escobedo. United States President Bennett, who was a close friend to Hardin, discreetly authorizes his National Security Advisor James Cutter to begin covert operations in Colombia to bring down the cartel.

Jack, now acting Deputy Director of Intelligence due to Admiral Jim Greer being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, asks for and is given increasing funding by Congress under the pretense that it is to be used to assist the Colombians. Jack is deliberately made unaware that the funding is being used to assemble RECIPROCITY, a special forces team recruited by John Clark. Ryan is kept from this knowledge by Robert Ritter, the CIA Deputy Director of Operations. Ryan is sent to Colombia by President Bennett to establish his earlier theory about Hardin with solid proof, so that the United States may seize the funds. However, the Cartel ambushes Ryan's convoy under discreet orders from Escobedo's intelligence officer, Colonel Félix Cortez. Jack survives the ambush, though several of his colleagues are killed.

With blame being placed on him for the ambush, Escobedo calls for a meeting with the other Cartel heads. RECIPROCITY finds out and orders an airstrike on the meeting, however, Escobedo's car is still approaching at the moment of impact, & he survives the attempt. Cortez finds out about American involvement in the attack, and brokers a deal with Cutter: Cortez will kill Escobedo and take over, then institute reduced drug shipments to the U.S. as well as allow their law enforcement to make regular arrests and influence public opinion that the United States is winning the drug war. However, Cortez requests in exchange for the location of RECIPROCITY, to establish his position in the Cartel. Cutter accepts Cortez's deal, and the team is overwhelmed by Cortez's mercenaries in the jungle.

Unbeknownst to Cutter, his conversation between him and Cortez was monitored by U.S. surveillance. The conversation is relayed to Jack, who then gains access to Ritter's computer and obtains evidence regarding the illegal operations taking place in Colombia. Ritter, however, warns Ryan that because he obtained the funding for the operation, he has therefore placed himself solely responsible, whereas Ritter and Cutter have been granted President Bennett's pardoning from any wrongdoing. Left with very little alternatives, Jack flies to Bogota alone, unaware that John Clark has been influenced by Cutter and Ritter of his perceived deception. Because of their mutual respect for Admiral Greer, who had recently died, John spares Jack's life after learning that both Ritter and Cutter have set them up.

Jack and John travel to RECIPROCITY's last known position and find Chavez, the team sniper. Chavez reveals that survivors including Captain Ramírez and several squadmates were captured, the remainder were killed. Ryan meets with Escebedo to inform on Cortez's deception, whilst John launches a rescue for the surviving soldiers. Escebedo is subsequently killed by one of Cortez's associates, and Ryan narrowly escapes with John and the prisoners. Chavez kills Cortez in the escape, returning to the United States. Ryan meets with and confronts President Bennett about the conspiracy in Colombia, before leaving to inform the Congressional Oversight Committee of what has happened.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

After completing The Hunt for Red October, John McTiernan had wanted to direct an adaptation of Clear and Present Danger, and departed from the production after an early script by John Milius was rejected in favor of Patriot Games.[4] Milius's first draft was more faithful to the original book than the final film, and he later added the sequence where Jack Ryan is ambushed in SUVs. He said that the original ending had Cortez going to Washington to kill the National Security Advisor, only to be killed in a mugging by drug addicts.[5] After Clancy's dissatisfaction with Patriot Games, he was reluctant to allow any further adaptations of his material, but acquiesced after negotiations with Paramount Pictures and a large financial deal. In March 1992, Donald E. Stewart was hired to rewrite Milius's script to provide greater screen time to Jack Ryan. After Clancy openly criticized the script, Steven Zaillian rewrote it further in an attempt to gain his approval. Milius was retained during production to provide consultation on the action scenes.[6]

Production[edit]

The film was shot in Mexico after the studio decided that filming on-location in Colombia was too dangerous, with Mexico City standing in for Bogotá and the Hacienda San Gabriel de la Palmas in Cuernavaca serving as a set for Escobedo's headquarters.[7] Ironically, the decision to produce the film in Mexico encountered further difficulties due to the outbreak of the Chiapas conflict. The film ran drastically behind schedule and over budget, and part of the footage shot in the United States was destroyed due to the 1994 Northridge earthquake. After negative results from test screenings, parts of the film were reshot using scenes written by Stewart and Zaillian.[6]

Music[edit]

Clear and Present Danger - Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by
ReleasedAugust 2, 1994 (original), January 1, 2013 (expanded version)
Length50:35 (original release), 98:38 (expanded version)
LabelMilan Records (original), Intrada Records (expanded version)
Jack Ryan soundtrack chronology
Patriot Games
(1992)
Clear and Present Danger - Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(1994)
The Sum of All Fears
(2002)

The film's musical score was composed by James Horner. Milan Records released an album featuring selections from the score on August 2, 1994.[8]

An expanded two-disc collector's edition was released in 2013 by specialty label Intrada Records. The new version now includes the complete score by Horner, remixed from the original scoring master tapes with cues appearing in the same order as they appear in the film.

Some parts of the soundtrack are based on the music from James Horner's soundtrack for Gorky Park, but played with different instruments.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The film received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a rating of 80% based on reviews from 44 critics. The site's consensus states: "Perfecting the formula established in earlier installments, Clear and Present Danger reunites its predecessor's creative core to solidly entertaining effect."[9] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average out of 100 to critics' reviews, Clear and Present Danger received a score of 74 based on 14 reviews.[10] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[11]

Noyce, who also directed "Patriot Games," manages to keep the complex story lines from snarling even though he relies heavily on crosscutting. The technique, which he uses ingeniously here, enlivens scenes that are technologically driven and potentially deadly.

—Rita Kempley, writing for The Washington Post[12]

Mick LaSalle, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, commented how it "delights in an almost boyish way in the trappings of power: rocket launchers and high-tech missiles, flags, ceremony and political double-speak."[13] James Berardinelli, who wrote for ReelViews, remarked, "Clear and Present Danger is all plot and no characters. The people running around on screen have about as much depth as the sheen of sweat on Harrison Ford's forehead. Jack Ryan is the most disappointing of all. He's disgustingly virtuous: a flawless fighter for good and justice, a Superman without the cape. I spent half the movie wondering if this guy was ever going to show anything to mark him as vaguely human."[14] In Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy, author Matthew Alford formulated a critique of the film, pointing out that supporting characters like Cutter and Ritter are pointedly squeamish about the use of force. He queried, "Where is this abundance of sensitivity from the US national security apparatus towards the people of Latin America in the real world?". He concluded, "The answers are all too obvious, except to a Hollywood hooked on schmaltz, willfully ignorant of reality and in thrall to power."[15]

Box office[edit]

Clear and Present Danger opened strongly at the U.S. box office, grossing $20,348,017 in its first weekend and holding the top spot for two weeks. It went on to gross an estimated $122 million in the U.S., and $94 million in foreign revenue for a worldwide total of $216 million.[16]

Year-end lists[edit]

Accolades[edit]

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Sound (Donald O. Mitchell, Michael Herbick, Frank A. Montaño and Art Rochester) and Best Sound Effects Editing (John Leveque and Bruce Stambler).[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ "Clear and Present Danger (12)". British Board of Film Classification. August 15, 1994. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Clear and Present Danger (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  3. ^ "Clear and Present Danger". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  4. ^ "Revisiting Patriot Games: The First Jack Ryan "Reboot"". Den of Geek. March 26, 2015. Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ a b "Harrison Ford takes on Tom Clancy...again". EW.com. Archived from the original on April 30, 2021. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  7. ^ "Cool Movie Sets: 'Clear and Present Danger'". EW.com. Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  8. ^ "Clear and Present Danger - Audio CD". Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  9. ^ "Clear and Present Danger". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  10. ^ "Clear and Present Danger". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 13, 2020. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  11. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com. Archived from the original on December 10, 2019. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  12. ^ Kempley, Rita (August 3, 1994). "Clear and Present Danger". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  13. ^ LaSalle, Mick (February 3, 1995). "Ford Vs. the Cynics in 'Danger'". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  14. ^ Berardinelli, James. "Clear and Present Danger". ReelViews. Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  15. ^ Alford, Reel Power, p. 91
  16. ^ "Clear and Present Danger". boxofficemojo.com. Archived from the original on July 29, 2019. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  17. ^ Turan, Kenneth (December 25, 1994). "1994: YEAR IN REVIEW : No Weddings, No Lions, No Gumps". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  18. ^ Lovell, Glenn (December 25, 1994). "The Past Picture Show the Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- a Year Worth's of Movie Memories". San Jose Mercury News (Morning Final ed.). p. 3.
  19. ^ Hurley, John (December 30, 1994). "Movie Industry Hit Highs and Lows in '94". Staten Island Advance. p. D11.
  20. ^ Elliott, David (December 25, 1994). "On the big screen, color it a satisfying time". The San Diego Union-Tribune (1, 2 ed.). p. E=8.
  21. ^ Mills, Michael (December 30, 1994). "It's a Fact: 'Pulp Fiction' Year's Best". The Palm Beach Post (Final ed.). p. 7.
  22. ^ Craft, Dan (December 30, 1994). "Success, Failure and a Lot of In-between; Movies '94". The Pantagraph. p. B1.
  23. ^ Carlton, Bob (December 29, 1994). "It Was a Good Year at Movies". The Birmingham News. p. 12-01.
  24. ^ "The 67th Academy Awards (1995) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved October 23, 2011.

External links[edit]