There's good news and bad news regarding "The Sum of All Fears", the latest movie from the book of the same name by Tom Clancy. This one stars Ben Affleck, recently named 'The Sexiest Man Alive' by People magazine in the role of Jack Ryan, a role previously played by Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin. The big question everyone asked when they found out Affleck was taking over the role was, "Can Affleck cut the mustard as Jack Ryan?" The answer is no. That's the bad news. Affleck still looks as though he belongs in a Kevin Smith movie and it is obvious he is more suited to roles that he had in 'Pearl Harbor' and 'Armageddon' where he wasn't required to put the film on his shoulders.
The good news is, Affleck is surrounded by such an amazing cast, including the always good Morgan Freeman as DCI Chief William Cabot, James Cromwell as the President, Ron Rifkin as the Secretary of State, Liev Schreiber as John Clark (played by Willem Dafoe in 'Clear and Present Danger') and a host of other character actors that make this a taut and exciting thriller.
Although the character of Jack Ryan is about 25 years younger, the story takes place in the modern day world. Ryan is merely dating his future wife Cathy, and Ryan himself is just a guy who works at the Russia desk in the CIA. When the current Russian President dies suddenly of a heart attack, a new President (played by Irish born Ciaran Hinds) takes over. Ryan just happens to be an expert on President Nemerov, so he is brought in to advise the President on the situation in Russia, which at the time revolves around Chechnya.
The commercials and trailers would have us believe the bomb was the climax of the movie, but it actually goes off in the United States midway through the movie. The special effects detailing the possible effects of such a bomb going off are stunning and quite scary. This was a small bomb, and one shudders to think if a full fledged nuclear missile were to strike the United States. The bomb is detonated for the sole purpose of starting a nuclear war between Russia and The United States. The man behind of all of it is 'Dressler'(played by Alan Bates) a man whose father was a member of the Nazi Party and seeks a return to that era. He figures if the two largest super powers in the world were to destroy each other, it would leave him an opening. The character of Dressler is not some raving lunatic. He's a man that dresses in $2000 suits, eats fine food and drinks fine wine. He gives speeches to world dignitaries. This makes his character all the more compelling because the most dangerous criminals are the ones we least suspect.