Patriot Games (1992) artwork

Patriot Games (1992)

6th January 2001

Whilst in London former CIA analyst Jack Ryan thwarts a terrorist attack making him a target in the eyes of the terrorist whose brother he killed.
Harrison Ford, Anne Archer, Patrick Bergin, Sean Bean, Thora Birch, James Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, Polly Walker, J.E. Freeman, James Earl Jones, Richard Harris
Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller
1 Hour 52 Minutes

Whilst attending a seminar in London, Jack Ryan witnesses an IRA assassination attempt on a member of the royal family. Not wishing to see innocent people being murdered he attempts to intervene, grappling one of the terrorist to the ground. In the ensuring melee before the police arrive he shoots one of the terrorists dead, as well as being injured himself.

Recovering in hospital he has become a national hero but opened up himself to a revenge attack by the IRA. One of the terrorists captured during the assassination attempt, Sean Miller, vows revenge for the death of his brother during the attack. However, Jack is not concerned as Sean is sentenced to a long stretch in a high security prison and heads back to America to resume his life.

Whilst Sean Miller is being transported to prison, the IRA attack the police convoy and free Sean. Now free Sean and his band of terrorist head for America where he is determined to take out his wrath on Jack and his family. When an attempt on Jack's wife and daughter fails to get the desired results, Jack becomes more determined to eliminate Sean and goes back to the CIA.

Although the picture is bright and colourful with a high bit-rate throughout the film, it suffers from almost continuous dust specks and tends to be grainy. I suspect that, yet again, Paramount have only made a token effort with this film in order to maximise profit from this back catalogue title.

However, the sound is a completely different matter. Although some of the Irish accents are dodgy to say the least, the dialogue is still crystal clear in the centre channel without need to keep correcting the volume once the action starts. But it is the extensive use of the surround channels that really makes this film shine. You can always tell when the ambient effects in a film are good when you keep turning your head to see what is going on behind you. The rumbling of the thunder as the storm approaches the Ryan house is tremendous and really adds to the suspense of the film.

As usual, Paramount have failed to produce the goods with this excellent back catalogue film. The fact that the only extra is the trailer shows the contempt they have for the consumer. Together with the poor picture it really takes the shine off what should be a classic film in everyone's collection.

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