Run time: 117 mins
In Theaters: Friday 5th June 1992
Box Office Worldwide: $178M
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Mace Neufeld Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 8
IMDB: 6.9 / 10
Director: Phillip Noyce
Screenwriter: W. Peter Iliff, Donald Stewart
Starring: Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan, Anne Archer as Dr. Caroline "Cathy" Ryan, Patrick Bergin as Kevin O'Donnell, Thora Birch as Sally Ryan, James Fox as Lord William Holmes, Samuel L. Jackson as Lt. Cmdr. Robby Jackson, Polly Walker as Annette, J.E. Freeman as Marty Cantor, James Earl Jones as Adm. James Greer, Sean Bean as Sean Miller, Richard Harris as Paddy O'Neil, Alex Norton as Dennis Cooley, Hugh Fraser as Watkins, David Threlfall as Inspector Highland, Alun Armstrong as Owens, Berlinda Tolbert as Sissy, Hugh Ross as Barrister Atkinson, Gerald Sim as Lord Justice, Pip Torrens as First Aide, Thomas Russell as Ashley, Jonathan Ryan as Jimmy Reardon, Andrew Connolly as Charlie Dugan, Keith Campbell as Ned Clark
Turns out it doesn't matter much. Ford is of course a talented action/adventure hero, maybe the best ever. It's too bad that this Jack Ryan adventure has less epic-ness than Red October; it's written small, with Ryan caught up in an IRA attack on British bigwigs. After capping off a few of them in an impromptu streetfight, Ryan finds his family hunted down in America. Eventually -- of course -- he has to save them (using his litany of superspy tricks and tactics).
It ain't exactly saving the world, but Patriot Games's earnestness belies its ultimate simplicity and smallness. It isn't until a second viewing that you realize how you've been had a bit -- or maybe, it isn't until The Crying Game through the ultimate spin on the IRA movie so successfully to make any other film on this topic come off as pretentious. Patriot Games is at least a story well-told and impeccably produced. I can stand a little preaching as long as it's well-made. So many IRA films are preachy and ugly, so Patriot Games is actually a bit of a relief.
Sean Bean was actually early in his scowling bad guy phase when Patriot Games came out, a stereotype he's yet to shed. Anne Archer's eyebrows alone are worth half a star; as Ryan's doting wife, she's mopey and hard to relate to. It's a wonder Jacko tried to save her at all.