Based on Tom Clancy’s novel, this espionage thriller tracks a sinister plot to draw the United States and Russia into World War III. When the Russian president (Ciarán Hinds) suddenly dies, world tension escalates. Coupled with missing nuclear scientists and the threat of a nuclear detonation on United States soil, young CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) must uncover who is behind the conspiracy.
Release date: May 31, 2002 (USA)
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Adapted from: The Sum of All Fears
Screenplay by: Paul Attanasio; Daniel Pyne
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures Studios
In 1973, during the Yom Kippur War, an Israeli warplane carrying a nuclear bomb is shot down. In 2002, a Syrian scrap collector uncovers a large unexploded bomb buried in a field in the Golan Heights. He sells it to a South African black market arms trafficker named Olson, who recognizes it as a nuclear bomb. He then sells it to a neo-fascist group led by Austrian billionaire Richard Dressler, whose aim is to start a war between the United States and Russia that will devastate them both, and leave a united fascist Europe to rule the world.
Just prior to this, in the United States, President Robert Fowler and his national security team, including CIA Director William Cabot, stage a war game scenario where Russian President Zorkin is overthrown in a coup and rogue generals launch a nuclear attack on the Americans. Shortly after the drill, Zorkin dies of a heart attack and is rapidly replaced by a seeming hardliner supported by the military, Alexander Nemerov.
CIA analyst Jack Ryan, who has studied Nemerov and believes him to be a reformer who merely talks like a hardliner to gain their support, is summoned by Cabot to accompany him to Moscow to inspect the top Russian nuclear weapons facility, in compliance with the START treaty. At the Kremlin, they meet Nemerov and his personal aide, former KGB agent Anatoly Grushkov. Nemerov requests they deliver a personal message to Fowler, asking him and the US to remain out of Russia’s war in Chechnya and let Nemerov stabilize Russia in his own way. During their investigation of the weapons facility, Ryan notices the absence of three scientists listed on the facility’s roster; Grushkov assures them the scientists are merely unavailable. After receiving reliable intelligence from a confidential secure informant (codenamed “Spinnaker“) inside the Kremlin disputing Grushkov’s assessment, Cabot sends operative John Clark to Russia to investigate.
Tensions between the United States and Russia increase when a chemical attack on Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, is reported during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Ryan tries to defend Nemerov by indicating that rogue military commanders could have ordered the attack instead, but his theory is disproved when Nemerov delivers a speech to the State Duma taking responsibility for the attack. In response, Fowler deploys peacekeepers to Chechnya. In Russia, Grushkov informs Nemerov that disgruntled Communist officers ordered the attack on Grozny, and Nemerov orders them removed from command, choosing to take the blame for Grozny rather than risk alienating more figures of his military.
Clark tracks the missing scientists to a former Soviet military facility in Ukraine, where Cabot suspects they are building a secret nuclear weapon that Russia could use without any method to trace it back to them. Ryan and his colleagues discern that a crate from the facility in Ukraine was flown to the Canary Islands, then sent to Baltimore on a cargo ship. Ryan warns Cabot, who is attending a football game in the city with Fowler, about a bomb threat. Thanks to Ryan’s warning, Cabot evacuates the president fast enough to get him out of the stadium before the detonation, but not fast enough for the motorcade to escape the bomb’s shock wave. The stadium is destroyed, though Fowler is evacuated by the Marines; Cabot is mortally wounded and left behind. Gathering his national security team aboard a Boeing E-4, they conduct a real-life situation similar to the film’s beginning but with far more confusion and heightened emotions from all those involved. In Russia, President Nemerov desperately tries to defuse the situation over the hotline, but must face American assurance of Russian culpability and his own generals’ desire to attack the US.
Immediately thereafter, a corrupt Russian Air Force general who has been bribed by Dressler sends warplanes to successfully attack a U.S. aircraft carrier, heavily damaging it; this further exacerbates tensions between Russia and the United States.
On the scene of the blast in Baltimore, Ryan learns from a radiation assessment team that the isotopic signature from the nuclear blast indicates it was manufactured in the United States Department of Energy‘s Savannah River Site, evidence which apparently exonerates Russia. Using Cabot’s recovered phone, Ryan contacts Spinnaker, his source in the Russian government. Ryan is informed that the uranium was produced in an American facility and was stolen by the CIA in order to be secretly given to Israel (until they lost it during the Yom Kippur War). In Syria, Clark tracks down Ghazi, one of the men who found the bomb, now dying of radiation exposure. He tells Clark that he sold the bomb to Olson, who lives in Damascus. Ryan’s colleagues at Langley infiltrate Olson’s computer and download files that implicate Dressler as the person who bought the plutonium and who is behind the nuclear attack.
Ryan is able to reach the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon using Cabot’s ID, and manages to get a message to Nemerov, using the personal rapport they had developed when they had met in Moscow and saying that he knows that Russia was not behind the attack. He asks Nemerov to stand down his forces as a show of good faith. Nemerov agrees to do so and Fowler follows suit. As Nemerov and Fowler sign an agreement to counter nuclear proliferation at the Kremlin, the participants in the conspiracy are tracked and assassinated: Olson is killed by Clark in his home in Damascus, the corrupt Russian general is gunned down by Russian agents, and Dressler is blown up in his car by Grushkov. Later, Fowler and Nemerov deliver joint speeches about their new initiatives and honouring the dead at the White House, as Ryan and his now fiancée Dr. Catherine Muller listen in. Grushkov, revealing himself to be Spinnaker, arrives and offers to continue the arrangement he had with Cabot with Ryan, to ensure the back channels between Russia and the United States always remain open. He also gives Catherine a present for their engagement, which they notably had not yet announced to anyone. When Ryan asks him how he could have known, Grushkov merely shrugs, smiles and walks away.
With the War in Ukraine and a the lose Nuclear Talk by Russia, this Movie comes at a very interesting time to RE-WATCH
So pop some Popcorn and Enjoy!