Clear and Present Danger (1994)

Clear and Present Danger (1994), directed by Phillip Noyce.

A close sequel to Patriot Games (1992). Same stars, director, composer, cinematographer. The IMDB shows 63 names in common between the two pictures.

Jack Ryan is now a Deputy Director at the CIA and barely prepared for the fierce politics involved. He's advising a President who wants to "take the gloves off" in the Colombian drug war, but who can't have his name attached to the nasty covert war he wants fought. Ryan is in to clean up the mess and blow the whistle, assisted by the mysterious John Clark (Willem Dafoe).

Larger scale than its predecessor but, like it, an expertly done action thriller. And like the first film it is more or less realistic until the final act with its improbable jailbreak (shades of the POW/MIA rescue genre) and rooftop shootout with a helicopter.

The ethical muddles are serious and pretty deep: the ugliness of covert wars and innocent lives sacrificed, how to operate in the gray zones in a democracy.

They deploy ships and planes to support this secret effort: I'm not seeing much plausible deniability. Ryan teams up with the cartel lord, which gave me pause. A comic element with the helicopter pilot.

Last appearance of James Earl Jones as Admiral James Greer.

Score by James Horner; I hear some Aliens (1986) in the incidental music.

Available on Blu-ray and looking better than Patriot Games (1992).