Release Date(s)1992 (July 29, 2008)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: C+
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: D
Is it just me, or does it seem strange that Harrison Ford only played CIA analyst Jack Ryan twice on the big screen? Maybe it’s because four of author Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels have been turned into movies that it seems like there’s more of Ford as this character than there really is.
It could also be that Sony’s Air Force One seems to fit with these movies (Ryan actually became President in one of Clancy’s unfilmed novels). Or maybe it’s just that Ford seems to so completely embody the character. In any case, Patriot Games is the first of two Clancy films starring Ford, and it’s a good one.
Jack Ryan has retired from the CIA, and is a professor of history at the United States Naval Academy. As such, he’s been invited to give a guest lecture to British military officers in London, and he’s brought along his family for a little sight-seeing. While there, he thwarts an IRA splinter group’s attempt to assassinate members of the British royal family, killing the brother of one of the assassins (played by Sean Bean) in the process. Said assassin swears revenge against Ryan, then escapes British custody and goes after Ryan and his family back in the States.
The video quality of Paramount’s Blu-ray Disc is generally good, though not in the league of the best the format has to offer. There’s good color and contrast, adequate fine detail and light grain visible throughout, resulting in a nicely film-like image. There’s a little more dust and dirt visible than you’d like, however, and there’s mild compression artifacting visible throughout the film as well. It’s not distracting, but it does occasionally distract. Audio-wise, you get an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix of good quality, that matches the image quality well. It’s not a first rate surround mix, but it more than does the job given the nature of the film.
Patriot Games was previously released on HD-DVD with no extras, but the Blu-ray edition includes everything that was on the previous DVD... which is admittedly not much. You get a 25-minute featurette, Patriot Games Up Close, in pretty low, standard-definition quality, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer in high-definition. Again, it’s not much, but it’s more than the HD-DVD had, so it’s hard to complain.
Given that all four of Paramount’s Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan films are being released on Blu-ray Disc, fans should be pleased. This disc isn’t going to win any awards, but the film is worth having. I’d say if you can get these Tom Clancy Blu-rays on sale at a decent price, go for it.
- Bill Hunt