Year Released: 1992
Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Starring: Harrison Ford, Anne Archer, Sean Bean
(R, 117 min.)
Genre: Action and Adventure, Drama, Mystery and Suspense
“You get him. I don’t care what you have to do, just get him.” Cathy Ryan
Tom Clancy. Harrison Ford in his heyday. Free on Amazon Prime. What’s not to like? Take a trip back a few decades to a world a little more sane. A narrative not preachy, not edgy, and completely devoid of the nihilism that seems to have taken up permanent residence in today’s Hollywood.
Where the bad guys are just that – criminals, murderers, or terrorists instead of inept, corrupt, and evil members of our own government.
Where a man can fight crime without devolving into a drunk, dissolute loner.
A man who loves his wife and family, who love him right back with total loyalty and devotion. No crazy uncles in the attic – not even a dysfunctional odd relative in the whole clan.
Where the closest we get to an uncle is the avuncular James Earl Jones relinquishing his Darth Vader menace to coax his favorite CIA analyst back into the fold.
Once again Ford plays the scholar/warrior he brought to life as Indiana Jones. Jack Ryan (Ph.D.) is the ideal Renaissance man, putting down his lecture notes to take out a few IRA type assassins in London. But not without incurring the undying wrath of the brother (Sean Bean) that survives.
The film is fast paced with great action, not the least of which is the internecine war for power within the IRA itself, where the killings are just as swift and brutal for their own as their sworn enemies. One of the most lethal and heartless of the bunch a certain beautiful redhead with deadly seduction techniques.
When the surviving assassin in England somehow escapes during a prison transfer, Admiral Greer (James Earl Jones), Ryan’s former boss at the CIA, makes a personal visit to Ryan’s house to inform him of such. Mrs. Ryan (Anne Archer) cannot even summon a welcoming smile for this genial man, who appears more like an angel of death to her. His short speech is full of reassurances, one whose current irony was lost on the original 1992 audience.
“There’s never been a terrorist attack on American soil,” her purrs. Oh, the lost innocence as we hear those words today. And those words will be doubly wrong.
When the Irish vendetta comes up close and personal, Cathy Ryan finds a hardness in her heart that is raw and primitive, and possibly not acceptable by today’s politically correct standards. The surgeon who saves lives has no qualms about taking them now:
“You get him. I don’t care what you have to do, just get him.”
Ryan’s seaside New England house, perched on a hillside overlooking the Atlantic, is a pristine American jewel to domesticity. But the tea there for visiting minor English royalty soon becomes a battle royal, complete with a harrowing thunderstorm and sudden loss of electric power, as prelude to some deadly agents not on the guest list.
In a film awash in blood, fire, and bullets, there is still an innocence. It is a world where terrorism on our shores is still an aberration. A world where family is foremost, where duty and loyalty command us. Where a patriot has a chance at winning the futile games of war.
It all starts in London, where former analyst Jack Ryan, who has turned in his CIA credentials to become an academic, plummets back into action once again.
Leaving the staid lecture hall where he has just given a talk about theoretical danger, Dr. Ryan finds himself right in the middle of the real thing. A group too radical even for its IRA brethren is staging a political assassination on some minor English royalty right there in front of him – and his wife and daughter who are walking to greet him.
Without a thought Ryan springs into action, grafting a little of his Indiana Jones panache onto the role a young Alec Baldwin played 4 years earlier.
Of course, Ryan is an instant hero, his name blasted across the headlines. All the fame and glory Indiana always talked about. But as we soon find out, those two elixirs have their downsides, too.
But let’s not get into the reign of terror about to descend on our accidental hero. Instead, let’s celebrate him with the “inevitable English dessert,” English Trifle jazzed up with some unexpected fresh raspberries and sherry drizzle.
From Different Drummer's own Appetite for Murder: A Mystery Lover's Cookbook. Enjoy!
English Trifle with Fresh Raspberries and Sherry Drizzle
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk, or
3 egg yolks, beaten
3 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 package ladyfingers
2 tablespoons sherry
2 cups raspberries
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons toasted, slivered almonds
Mix 1/2 cup sugar, the cornstarch, and salt in a 3-quart saucepan; gradually stir in milk. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil and stir 1 minute. Stir at least half of the hot mixture gradually into egg yolks. Stir back into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in margarine, vanilla, and almond extract. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
Split ladyfingers lengthwise into halves. Layer half of the ladyfingers, cut sides up, in 2-quart glass serving bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the sherry. Layer half of the raspberries and half of the cold egg yolk mixture over ladyfingers; repeat. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, but no longer than 8 hours.
Beat whipping cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in chilled bowl until stiff; spread over dessert. Sprinkle with almonds unless you favor arsenic-spiked candies.