Sum Of All Fears

2 out of 10


Adds to Zilch

Hats off to Paramount! Who could have guessed that a nuclear terrorist thriller could be turned into a classic piece of surrealist high art? Based on the book by Tom Clancey, the film replaces the Arab terrorists villains with YET ANOTHER bunch of rich neo-Nazis, leaving us wondering, just who is in charge at Paramount, the fascist-obsessed Mel Brookes? Planning to takeover the world by causing a thermonuclear conflict, these boneheads have decided to wait until the tension of the Cold War has subsided and try their plan during the unparalleled, current era of peace and understanding between the Superpowers. Even more bizarrely, they intend on doing this by blowing up Baltimore, and, having visited there myself recently, I have to conclude that anyone who selects Baltimore as a first strike target can`t be all bad!

And if you think Baltimore looks familiar, don`t be surprised, with aerial shots of Montreal and the US President attending a Montreal stadium, filled with cheering francophone's, backing a Montreal football team, the whole film becomes just weird.

Backed by special effects that were apparently thrown together in a back room at Walmart, Director Phil Robinson and his team clearly demonstrate their understanding of the effects of a nuclear explosion and international diplomacy are on par with my own understanding of brain surgery, so clearly needed by whoever gave this tosh the go ahead at Paramount HQ. For instance, given the proximity of the hospital to ground zero, the light from the explosion alone would ignite all the patients well before the impact from the pressure blows in all the windows.

From now on, the film makes less and less sense, as it suggests that neither America would have very little interest in providing anything more than token resources to find out who had done this and instead, US President Fowler hunkers down with a supporting cast of has-been and never-were clapped out actors, rustled up from the nearest Beverly Hill retirement home.

With little or no help, its up to Jack Ryan to save the world. Understood to be against Tom Clancey`s wishes, in the past adaptations of his books, Harrison Ford has played Jack Ryan, and brilliantly too, but here, Paramount has cast Ben Affleck to stumble around the screen, a wooden gate post pretending to be an actor and permanently looking as if he can`t remember who`s bed he`s just got out of.

Again, this flick twists sharply in a surrealistic turn, with Jack Ryan able to run around in a snowstorm of highly toxic, radioactive fallout with no ill effects, whilst an Arab, who has the bomb in his tent for a couple of days, becomes immediately terminally ill, and dies in hours.

To paraphrase the disclaimer at the end of the movie, "Any similarity between this film and an action thriller is purely coincidental."


Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett