Tom Clancy, arguably the nicest bestselling author friend the military-industrial complex could have asked for, has passed away at the age of 66, news outlets are now reporting. And while I could never get through one of his techno-espionage thrillers, I’ve sat through pretty much every movie adapted from them. Here’s what’s up with those.
Clear and Present Danger
Rented the VHS of this as a kid because of the title, fell asleep around when James Earl Jones starts talking about his pancreatic cancer. Blah blah South American drug cartel, excuse to extend American empire. Move on.
The Sum of All Fears
All the horrible gravitas of Morgan Freeman and James Cromwell and a super serious Ben Afflex is somewhat offset by the fact that the terrorists actually succeed in nuking the Super Bowl. But the main result is that it gets really windy in Baltimore.
Okay, for real? I have trouble telling this one apart from the other Harrison Ford one. But we can recall that it has something to do with the U.K., and Ireland, and there’s not a big transgender reveal (that’s another movie with “game” in the title). Also, one of Sean Bean’s best onscreen deaths—he’s, like, impaled on an anchor and then blown up. Amazing.
Never even saw this, because it was a TV movie, but I love the terrible 1990s cyber-novel font. Also, Scott Baluka starring, with Judge Reinhold as the bad guy? Automatically makes the top tier.
The Hunt for Red October
Does anything else even come close? When I think of the claustrophobic tension between Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman…no, wait. This was just about how Scottish an accent a Russian character can possibly have.