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(2002) (Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman) (PG-13)

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Drama/Action: A young CIA analyst attempts to prevent a neo-Fascist from starting WWIII by fooling the United States and Russia into believing each is prepared to annihilate the other.
Jack Ryan (BEN AFFLECK) is a 28-year-old CIA analyst whose 14-month stint with the agency would be unremarkable if not for his expertise on Alexander Nemerov (CIARAN HINDS), who's now in control of Russia due to the former president unexpectedly dying.

Unable to tell his girlfriend, Cathy Muller (BRIDGET MOYNAHAN), of his real job, Jack suddenly finds himself at the side of CIA director Bill Cabot (MORGAN FREEMAN) and traveling to meet Nemerov and his ex-KGB advisor, Anatoli Grushkov (MICHAEL BYRNE), who don't think unrest in Russia is of any concern to the U.S.

After visiting a nuclear research facility and noting that three of the scientists are missing, however, the agents' suspicions are aroused. Accordingly, Cabot gets in touch with government operative John Clark (LIEV SCHREIBER) to find out what happened to them and what they might be up to.

Little do they know that they're working for Richard Dressler (ALAN BATES) a wealthy European industrialist and neo-Fascist leader who's acquired a long missing nuclear warhead from South African arms dealer Olson (COLM FEORE). Convinced that he can sway people over to his ideology after anonymously starting WWIII by pitting the U.S. and Russia against each other, Dressler sets his plan into motion.

As the various agents continue to do their work, catalytic global events begin to occur that lead the superpowers ever close to all out nuclear strikes on each other. With U.S. President Fowler (JAMES CROMWELL) trying to figure out what to do, and working with the advice of Defense Secretary Becker (PHILIP BAKER HALL), Secretary of State Owens (RON RIFKIN) and National Security Advisor Revel (BRUCE McGILL), Jack races to find out the truth and prevent nuclear Armageddon from occurring.

If they're fans of anyone in the cast, Tom Clancy's novels or their adaptations, and/or thrillers filled with governmental/political intrigue, they just might.
For violence, disaster images and brief strong language.
  • BEN AFFLECK plays a young CIA analyst who finds himself caught in the middle of a bad situation that could potentially result in nuclear Armageddon. He uses some profanity as he races to prove his point and save the world.
  • MORGAN FREEMAN plays the CIA director who tries to figure out what's happening and prevent anything bad from occurring.
  • JAMES CROMWELL plays the President of the U.S. who must decide how to react to the escalating situation. He uses some profanity, some of which is strong.
  • LIEV SCHREIBER plays a CIA operative working for Cabot who infiltrates secure positions and kills one person.
  • ALAN BATES plays a wealthy European industrialist and head neo-Fascist leader who plots to start WWIII so that he can become the leader of anyone who survives.
  • PHILIP BAKER HALL plays the Defense Secretary who assists the President in his decision making.
  • RON RIFKIN plays the Secretary of State who does the same.
  • BRUCE McGILL plays the National Security Advisor who does the same.
  • CIARAN HINDS plays the new Russian president who ascends to that position when his predecessor dies and then finds himself embroiled in a worldwide crisis.
  • MICHAEL BYRNE plays a former KGB agent who's now Nemerov's advisor.
  • BRIDGET MOYNAHAN plays Jack's girlfriend, a surgical resident, who's initially unaware of his real job.
  • COLM FEORE plays a South African arms dealer who purchases and then sells a nuclear warhead.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this dramatic thriller that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 use of the "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue is present, while an unmarried couple is briefly seen fooling around.

    A nuclear explosion destroys part of a U.S. city (which could be rather disturbing considering the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist warnings), causing a great deal of property damage and presumably injuring and killing many people (we only see a few burned and/or bloody victims). Others are killed via gunfire, a car bomb, a throat slitting, etc. while missiles destroy a fighter jet and greatly damage an aircraft carrier (with more presumed deaths and injuries) and there are some bloody results.

    Those scenes and others could be unsettling and/or suspenseful to viewers, those responsible for such mayhem have extreme cases of bad attitudes, and a few characters drink and smoke (and the President of the U.S. makes a joke about smoking marijuana).

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

  • There's some talk about a Russian leader and his drinking.
  • People have champagne at a White House Correspondents dinner where the President is making jokes about getting votes. He states that he smoked marijuana back in Vietnam and then jokes that means he'll get the California vote.
  • Dressler drinks some sort of liquor.
  • We see a dead man with a little bit of blood on the side of his head and some nearby glass (from what appears to be a gunshot wound to the head).
  • John spots some dogs biting on a dead person's leg, and that person and another are bloody (one with some blood from the mouth, the other on his pants leg) and both appear to have been murdered.
  • The President has some blood on his hand and head after an explosion, while Ryan has some small cuts on his face.
  • We see some bloody people being operated on after a huge explosion. We later see more bloody and burned victims.
  • Ryan has some blood on his face.
  • Dressler obviously has both for being a neo-Fascist who attempts to start WWIII by causing the U.S. and Russia to believe each other is prepared to annihilate the other, all for his and his movement's own good. All of those who work with him also have bad attitudes, while a Russian officer lies about Moscow being nuked by the Americans so that his men will want revenge.
  • To keep his cover, Jack lies to Cathy about his current job and his past.
  • Olson is an arms dealer who pays bottom dollar to some lowly men who found a missile (but don't realize what it is or how much it's worth).
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • The President, Cabot and others meet in an underground bunker and discuss an oncoming nuclear attack. After a few minutes, we eventually realize this is just a drill.
  • John slowly makes his way through a factory at night, gun drawn. As he does so, soldiers show up at the facility, find signs that someone has broken in, and proceed inside. They then find and hold guns on him, but Ryan then shows up and holds gun on them. After a brief standoff, Jack persuades the men to lower their weapons.
  • In the aftermath of 9/11, some/many viewers may find a plot development where a nuclear bomb destroys part of a major U.S. city (along with the escalating danger and apparently likelihood of nuclear Armageddon as the two superpowers come close to attacking the other) as unsettling/disturbing.
  • A man has a heart attack.
  • Nuclear Missiles: Seen in a room and then being put onto fighter jets. Later seen in another facility, and one is used to destroy part of a city.
  • Missiles: Used to shoot down a fighter jet and later to hit an aircraft carrier.
  • Rifle: Carried by a guard.
  • Handguns: Carried by John and Jack in one scene.
  • Machine guns: Carried by military men.
  • Knife/Gun/Car bomb: Used to kill various villains.
  • Phrases: "Don't f*cking tell me to be reasonable," "If the sh*t ever hits the fanů" "This is too much g*ddamn bullsh*t," "Sucks," "Screw" (nonsexual), "Bastards," "G*ddamn right you're not" and "What the hell is going on?"
  • A guy has a tattoo on his arm.
  • The sudden detonation of a nuclear bomb might startle some viewers.
  • The print of this movie that was screened for us was noted as not having its final music (although everything else was complete), so it might have changed, but an extreme amount of suspenseful and ominous music was present.
  • None.
  • At least 1 "f" word, 10 "s" words, 3 slang terms for sex ("banging"), 7 hells, 1 ass, 1 crap (in subtitles), 1 damn, 1 S.O.B., 9 uses of "G-damn," 2 each of "Oh God" and "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "For God's sakes," "Jesus" and "Oh Jesus" as exclamations.
  • There's some talk about someone "banging" a Russian woman and the term is used several times.
  • We see Cathy in bed (showing some cleavage) with Jack when one of their pagers goes off. We then see them under the sheets as they rub their feet against each other and some kissing then follows that (with him kissing down toward her cleavage). They then do some more kissing and she crawls on top of him, but the pager distracts them and they stop.
  • A political analogy is made to sleeping with another man's wife (but that's it for the sexual part).
  • We see Jack and Cathy making out, but a ringing telephone interrupts them.
  • The camera briefly focuses on some cheerleaders' clothed butts during the Super Bowl.
  • Dressler smokes several times and Olson smokes once, while some minor/miscellaneous characters do the same.
  • None.
  • Whether someone or some organization could eventually pit two superpowers against each other and bring them and the world to the brink of war.
  • Terrorist activities - including nuclear related ones - and whether one should live in fear of them.
  • What choice you'd made if you were President and faced the situations that occur in the film.
  • How government organizations like the CIA work.
  • Neo-Fascist movements and their ideologies.
  • A missile slams into a fighter jet, destroying it and killing the pilot (we see the explosion, but no graphic death).
  • We hear that someone used a large amount of a nerve agent on the residents of a foreign city and injured or killed many of them (but we don't see any of that).
  • After a man says he wants out of Dressler's plan, we briefly see (in the background of a shot), another man strangling that man with a scarf (or something similar as we hear him struggling and gasping for air).
  • We see a dead man with a little bit of blood on the side of his head and some nearby glass (from what appears to be a gunshot wound to the head).
  • John spots some dogs chewing on a dead person's leg, and that person and another are bloody (one with some blood from the mouth, the other on his pants leg) and both appear to have been murdered.
  • Some soldiers hold guns on John, but Ryan then shows up and holds gun on them. After a brief standoff, Jack persuades the men to lower their weapons.
  • A nuclear explosion destroys part of a major city, resulting in many unseen deaths and a great deal of property damage. In addition, it knocks Ryan's chopper from the sky, injuring him and killing others (we see the dead pilot hanging out), and injures and kills some White House personnel.
  • Jets fire missiles at an aircraft carrier. Some are hit by defensive fire, but others hit the ship, resulting in huge explosions (and presumably many deaths).
  • Ryan crashes into a parked vehicle.
  • We see surveillance footage of buildings and planes being destroyed.
  • Jack finds a dead man and another man then comes up, puts a chain around his neck and slams him around as he tries to strangle him. Jack then drives that man backwards and elbows him. That man then hits and kicks Jack, and Jack kicks him in the leg. That man hits him again until Jack repeatedly hits him with some large piece of metal. Jack then somewhat strangles the man, trying to get info from him.
  • John slits a bad guy's throat (nothing horribly graphic).
  • A person chases another person through the snowy woods and shoots them dead (we don't see the impact, but do see the body fall to the ground). We then see more shots being fired (but don't see the impact).
  • A car bomb kills another bad guy and his driver.

  • Reviewed April 10, 2002 / Posted May 31, 2002

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