Phillip Noyce directs the third entry in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series, a reasonably entertaining techno-thriller for those capable of untangling the plot. Harrison Ford once again stars as the CIA analyst, who here is both elevated to director of intelligence and forced to turn operative when he uncovers a questionable presidential directive regarding a Colombian drug lord. Clancy's right-wing fantasy world has been given a slight twist to the left here at Ford's behest, and one guesses that liberal writer Steve Zaillian and Genghis Khan-worshipper John Milius worked separately. Presumably based on some of William Casey's more lunatic schemes while head of the CIA, the film is a festival of double-crosses and backstabbing in the corridors of power, and throbbing action scenes in the Colombian jungle as the superhuman protagonist tries to save the surviving troops from a blown clandestine operation. Noyce keeps things moving at a steady clip, and does a fine job with the complex action sequences, but there are few surprises here beside the script's criticism of unauthorized covert operations. Despite the cardboard nature of the characters, the distinguished cast, which includes James Earl Jones, Willem Dafoe, Harris Yulin, Donald Moffat, and Henry Czerny, adds to the film's quality.
by Michael Costello review