Patriot Games (1992)

(Second viewing, On DVD, January 2003) While other adaptation of Tom Clancy’s novels have managed to keep a lot of the original flavour intact, this one steadily evolves into yet another gratuitous rainy-night thriller. The ending alone is enough to make fans of the original novel howl in betrayal, but at least the rest of the film is decent enough. (Though you’ll have to mentally deduct twenty years off Harrison Ford’s character as he play-acts a young father who’s supposed to be in his late thirties.) There is one too many coincidence, though. (Ooh, a flash of red hair…) Some of the political issues surrounding terrorism are explored, and despite the conventional mano-a-mano finale, the adaptation still manages to suggest a veneer of sophistication. Not bad, really. It’s enough to make you wish most thrillers were at least as well-crafted as this one. The first-generation DVD contains the film, the trailer and nothing else.

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