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The Sum of All Fears
Based on the popular Tom Clancy novel, terrorists with a lost nuclear device devise a plan to detonate it at the Super Bowl, and make it appear to be a Russian plot. CIA analyst Jack Ryan must prove...  View more >

Starring Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell...  View more >

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Reviews Summary


Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

Jun 1, 2002
This was a very good movie with lots of action. The actors did a good job of making it not only beleivable but entertaining as well.
Jun 1, 2002
Affleck wasn't very good, but the film was solid. I found it to be interesting and suspenseful, and also far fetched at times.
Jun 1, 2002
Premise: European neo-Nazi terrorists get their hands on a lost nuclear device, and set about on their plans to use it at the Super Bowl. The plan is to disguise the attack as being caused by Russia, in the hopes of rekindling the Cold War. Luckily, young CIA analyst Jack Ryan is on the case...

The next installment of the famous films about CIA agent Jack Ryan created by Tom Clancy is brought to the big screen with a new face playing the famed CIA agent. Ben Affleck takes over for Harrison Ford who took over for Alec Baldwin. How does the younger Jack Ryan fare out? Read this review and find out.

The story goes that the character of Jack Ryan is much younger and just starting off at the CIA. He is recruited by Bill Cabot after the president of Russia dies and is replaced by a man the United States knows nothing about except from a report Ryan did a while back on him. After a bomb goes off during the Superbowl in Baltimore, Ryna must get the right information to the president before the United States starts World War III with Russia. Before this, I had seen some of the Jack Ryan films but have never sat down and read a Tom Clancy novel. So little was expected of me. The story holds together very well and much better then most films, probably because it was based on a best selling book and little was changed from it. It does afer better the story of Star War Episode II or The Scorpion King.

Ben Affleck, who has had series of unmemorable films, takes over for Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan. Affleck plays this role extremly well and proves those critics wrong about his range of acting. The emotions he expresses are better then any other film he has done including Pearl Harbor. James Cromwell also does a great job as the President of the United States who is faced with the decision of whether or not to press the button. The emotions are tense and fully expressed in this great thriller. Other actors are played very well but aren't expressed more in the film like Morgan Freeman's character or Jack Ryan's girlfriend. Other then that, the acting was pretty good but not great.

Overall, The Sum of All Fears does a great job of explaining the problems of the world to the American public, who generally don't care at all. The film does seem a bit controversal with India and Pakistan near nuclear war and the U.S. fighting terrorism but people forget the film was imagined years before the WTC Attack. This film may have gotten a lower rating if these events weren't taking place but not because the film does achieve anything. The Sum of All Fears awakens people to the real problems in the world and may influence people to join the CIA. Not better then the two blockbusters out this summer so far but a good popcorn film.

My Rating: **** out of 5
[--- Stay Away! ---]by  
Jun 2, 2002
Blah, blah, blah. This movie fell way below my expectations based on the movie trailer. Almost all of the special effects used in this film were shown in the trailer.

I was expecting a blockbuster type of movie that would transport the viewer into a "very possible" new world, so the viewing public would be able to imagine how much the world would change once the nuclear "Jeannie" was let out of the bottle. Instead, it was a long drawn out spy vs spy as the Russians and Americans became unwitting pawns to some quaso-nazi terrorist group. It was mostly unbelievable and trite.

Its too bad, much could have been made with this subject matter. Is James Cameron or Jerry Bruckheimer available?
[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jun 9, 2002
Affleck is entertaining to watch, and so is Leiv Schider (I think I spelled that wrong).

If you know anything about politics, or enjoy seeing movies in the grand scale of things, go see this movie. It's worth the money and time.
[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jun 9, 2002
This is already a great summer for movies! Star Wars, Spider-man, and now The Sum of All Fears. This isn't your typical dumbed-down summer action movie. In fact, it isn't an action movie at all. It's a very suspenseful political thriller. The violence is all tuned way down and there were only a couple of short-lived action sequences. All the rest consists of politics, speculation, and a sort of whodunit subplot involving a guy named John Clark.

This movie takes a lot of chances that a lesser movie wouldn't come near. It's a taut, riveting, and very engaging.
Jun 12, 2002
There are going to be plenty of spy movies between now and the new James Bond film "Die Another Day" which will be release in November.

"The Sum of All Fears" is based on the Tom Clancy novel starring Ben Affleck, as Jack Ryan. Only this time he played a young and inexperience Ryan, not the know-it-all Ryan which is played by Alec Bladwin and Harrison Ford. He is assigned to stop terrorists form sneaking a nuclear bomb into Baltimore and igniting a nuclear war between America and Russia.

The screenplay is very talky but the supense around that nuclear weapon is there. The film reminded us of the events of 9-11 makes this film very important to watch. Jack Ryan is a hero, just like Spider-Man, but without the special powers.
[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jun 17, 2002
That was the best and most thrilling movie I have ever need in my life created by Stealburg
[--- Wait for Rental ---]by  
Jun 20, 2002
The amount of butchering that was done to the original story line was unbelieveable. I can't believe Tom Clancy had anything to do with this.

I am sick and tire of being PC. I believe in calling a horse a horse and a dog a dog. No playing games. In the book it was Arab Terrorists not Neo-Nazi Terrorists, it was a disgruntled American Indian not a long shoresman who did the deed. So many other things that were changed or left out that ruined the movie.

Had I not read the book it still wouldn't have fared much better in my opinion.

Wait for it to come out on video and check it out of the library where its free.
[--- Wait for Rental ---]by  
Jun 26, 2002
The sum of all fears was a big disappointment. Uneven pacing and a story that barely resembles that of the book it's based upon. I should say I have read all of Clancy's books and this movie is so different then the book in many respects that it really shouldn't be called The sum of all fears, since it really isn't.

I thought the movie dragged very badly until the nuclear explosion scene. At that point, the pacing changed and the movie suddenly became very interesting. The sad part of that is this doesn't occur until the movie nears its end.

Ben Affleck does not work as Jack Ryan. I thought he was very unconvincing as a man who is supposedly very knowledgeable on world events and yet also was a former marine. (I can't picture Affleck playing Ryan as the president either in a future Clancy based movie.) I was not a big fan of Harrison Ford as Ryan but at times I actually longed for Ford to be Ryan in this movie.

Liev Schreiber as Mr Clark didn't work at all. What a big disappointment! Mr Clark of course is the fan favorite of any Clancy fan, and Schreiber looked totally out of place in this movie. Clark on the job is cold blooded, and Schreiber looks like a puppy dog while he's doing recon.

One question. How will the producers fit all the pieces of the Clancy universe together after turning a book that was in the middle of the series into the first? This would have worked after The hunt for red October. But my question would be since there's two other Clancy movies out there (in addition to this one) if they decide to make another how will they fit that movie into the series? Especially if the book is based after The sum of all fears? It makes no sense. The whole movie/book timeline is screwed up now and at least to me makes no sense.
[--- Good ---]by  
Jul 3, 2002
This movie has some pit-falls but excellent acting and action scenes had me sitting on the edge of my seat. The events that lead up to the attack were very clear and understandable.

From the beginning, the movie viewer could see how the scenario was set. After Sept 11, the scenes from the terrorist attack were downright chilling. The president in this film, like Bush, is seen on Air Force One deciding what action to take. The lack of trust, confusion and hesitation between Russia and the US was very tense.

The only failed part was with Ben Affleck, who played a young CIA historian, who had previously done a paper on who may have been behind the attack in Baltimore. It seemed odd that a young, inexperienced CIA man, unlike Morgan Freeman, would have such knowledge. Here he's surrounded by much older men, yet he walks in to make his point. It would have been more credible if an older man had played his part who had done investigative work for years. Also, his girlfried who was a surgical resident had too much time on her hands. Most residents I've read about don't have time carry on relationships outside the hospital.

All in all, though, it was a very good film. A little too intense for children under 14. What's frightening is that this very scenario could happen again.
Aug 26, 2002
What did they leave out of the movie? Felt like I was missing a whole sub-plot or storyline somewhere. The film seemed pieced together with little to tie it all into one whole film.

While I like the actors cast in the primary roles, the film never swept me up and made me care about them.

This one could have been so much better. (sigh)
Jul 21, 2003
How do you make a movie out of one of the longest Tom Clancy books ever? Easy, ignore all but the most basic elements of the book's plot, and that's just what this movie did.

One thing I can't understand is why the terrorists now had to be Nazi extremists. Do we really need to be politically correct everywhere? The original story may have hit a little closer to current events than some would like, but that's not the fault of the story, especially since it was written years earlier.

If you enjoyed the book, and especially if you remember much of it, don't see this film. If you do, just make sure to keep in mind that this movie has only a name and a basic plot in common with the book, and don't compare the two under any circumstances.

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