The Sum of All Fears

Bomb Rating: 

I'm getting a little sick of seeing Morgan Freeman in the role of the wise older black man who teaches some young white person about life and the ins and outs of some particular profession. Despite being in prison in "The Shawshank Redemption," Morgan teaches Tim Robbins a thing or two. Morgan teaches Christian Slater about crime in "Hard Rain." He teaches Ashley Judd about psychological profiling in "Kiss the Girls" and does the same with Monica Potter in "Along Came a Spider." He teaches Ashley about military law in "High Stakes." And, of course, he teaches Brad Pitt about life and police work in "Seven."

In "The Sum of All Fears" he breaks out into a bold new role, teaching Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) to be a good CIA analyst. Somehow, it's present day, there's a missing nuclear weapon, and Jack Ryan has turned from a 58-year-old, Calista-Flockhart-dating has-been into Ben Affleck. While I'm tiring of Morgan Freeman in his usual role, I'm tiring of Ben Affleck in any role. Since he helped pilot "Pearl Harbor" into the drink, his career path has had a future appearance on "Celebrity Boxing" written all over it.

If Affleck's recent substance abuse problems stem from trouble handling fame, his troubles should be over any day now. As a casting choice to play a straightforward hero like Jack Ryan, Affleck is about as suited to the role as Carrot Top (woo-hoo! Second Carrot Top joke in two weeks!). If he's going to remain as Ryan, perhaps the next Clancy movie adaptation should center around political intrigue at the Promises rehab in Malibu.

To make matters worse, the series has been taken over by director Phil Alden Robinson, whose last two directing efforts were "Sneakers" and "Field of Dreams." Those two films just scream "action," don't they? As a chorus of presidential aides, analysts, cabinet members, and President Fowler (James Cromwell) himself, insists that the Russian President must be responsible for the movie's nuclear shenanigans, Ryan stands firm as the lone holdout. As is usual in Tom Clancy's works, it's the men of action, like Ryan, who are capable of making the world right while everyone else just waltzes their way toward nuclear annihilation. In Clancy's world, intellectuals -- people who think -- are idiots.

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