The Sum of All Fears | Chicago Reader

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Ben Affleck replaces the increasingly craggy Harrison Ford as CIA analyst Jack Ryan in the fourth feature adapted from Tom Clancy's best-selling techno-thrillers. Screenwriters Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne stick to Clancy's surefire formula—building tension from the political infighting behind a worsening crisis—as a rich neo-Nazi (Alan Bates) initiates a nuclear catastrophe that forces the U.S. and Russia to the brink of Armageddon. The prescient nuclear-terrorism scenario may cost you some sleep, but the cliched relationships (among them Affleck's grudging friendship with superior officer Morgan Freeman) turn this into a bombastic case study in military gamesmanship. Character actors James Cromwell, Liev Schreiber, and Ron Rifkin mimic their real-life counterparts with relish; Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams) supplied the passionless and perfunctory direction. 119 min.

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