The Sum of All Fears (2002)

A lost nuclear bomb sends Jack Ryan on a cat and mouse game to prevent a terrorist plot to start Nuclear War.

An Israeli plane is shot down over Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War of 1974, all but the nuclear bomb aboard the plane is destroyed. Nearly 30 years later and the USA and Russia are on the brink of nuclear war due to Russia’s involvement in Chechnya and tensions between the countries are high.

Meanwhile, a scrap collector finds the forgotten nuclear bomb and recognizes his chance for riches after years of toiling away collecting scrap. We meet Olson, a South African arms dealer played by Colm Feore (City of Angels, Pearl Harbour) who sees not only the monetary value of such a device but also the political implications. Olson sells this the nuke to a fascist, terrorist group who are run by the billionaire, Richard Dressler, played by Alan Bates (Gosford Park, The Mothman Prophesies). Bates hatches a plan to bring both Russia and the USA to a devastating nuclear war with Bates’ organization ruling what is left.

Elsewhere Jack Ryan, played by Ben Affleck (Pearl Harbour, Dogma) accompanies William Cabot the CIA Director, played by Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby, Driving Miss Daisy) to Moscow to meet with the Russian President, played by Ciaran Hinds (Road to Perdition, Munich) and examine the nuclear weapons facility as per an ongoing treaty. It is during this examination that Jack Ryan notices the absence of three scientists’ that should be in the facility.

Using a confidential source, a possible location for the missing scientists’ is revealed and John Clark, played by Liev Schreiber (The Omen, Goon) is sent to undercover to find the scientists and uncover what is being planned. Uncovering the location and activities of the missing scientists’ worsens the tension between the two countries as it is suspected that Russia is building an untraceable nuclear bomb in secret. A bomb that the CIA believes will be deployed on American soil.

This triggers a frantic search for Jack Ryan and the CIA as informants and covert operatives try to track the movement of the secret bomb. Events escalate to the start of nuclear war with Russia initiating further attacks against the US. Ryan races against time while unknown strings are being pulled in the background. If he cannot discover the truth in time a devastating nuclear war risks bringing about the end of the world as we know it.

Based on characters created by acclaimed novelist Tom Clancy, the story is brought alive on the big screen by director Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams, Band of Brothers) who deals with the task of turning a complicated plot into a watchable story. Fans of Clancy and specifically the Jack Ryan series will enjoy the interpretation put forward as the story is carried brilliantly by the all-star cast. A very well made thriller the tension builds to a breaking point and the viewers’ delight, keeps building throughout until the combining plot points are resolved. Viewers will be shocked by the twists within The Sum of all Fears which don’t follow the usual pattern and make for an enjoyable experience from the opening scene to the credits roll.