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The Sum Of All Fears  

Paramount - 3 Stars

A nuclear bomb explodes at a football stadium in Baltimore during the Super Bowl and CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) has a few hours to save the earth from World War III in the action thriller The Sum of All Fears. A group of terrorists is trying to get the U.S. and Russia to battle each other and Ryan must stop them before it’s too late. If he fails a nuclear war between the two superpowers is imminent.

Very loosely based on the bestseller novel by Tom Clancy, this is the fourth film based on the Jack Ryan character and Affleck is the third actor to play him.

In this movie, Ryan is young, has a pretty girlfriend and is a low level CIA employee who is an expert on Russia. He is especially familiar with a high level soviet official by the name of Nemrov (Ciaran Hinds). When Nemrov unexpectedly becomes president, Ryan is called to the forefront by CIA director William Cabot (Morgan Freeman) to advise him on this new leader.

To keep you guessing for a while there are various subplots to this story that complicate things but tie in along the way as the film progresses. Some work better than others.

That brings us back to the book and the mistakes made altering many of the original elements. One major ridiculous change from the novel probably done for all the wrong reasons is replacing the composition of the terrorists from Arabs to neo nazis.

If you are looking for a credible movie about a possible modern terrorist scenario than you are barking up the wrong silo.

Scenes like when Ryan is at or close to ground zero after a nuclear blast and doesn’t get radiation poising and is able to still use his cell phone can be hard to swallow.

With acceptable but uninspiring acting, fluent pacing, some good humor and a few thrilling incidents, this film rises above average but not by much.

As entertainment, The Sum of All Fears has its tense and suspenseful moments that director Phil Alden Robinson cunningly executes but to really enjoy this film you must throw reality out the window.

Gil Benzeevi

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