Clear and Present Danger is a 1994 film directed by Phillip Noyce, based on the book of the same name by Tom Clancy. It is a sequel to the 1992 film Patriot Games. It is the last film to feature Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan and James Earl Jones as Vice Admiral Greer, and the final one directed by Phillip Noyce.
The discovery of the murder of an American businessman, Peter Hardin, and his family, outrages U.S. President Bennett, Hardin's personal friend. When Hardin is found to have been connected to a Colombian drug cartel, from which he skimmed over $650 million, Bennett tells James Cutter, his National Security Advisor, that the cartels represent a "clear and present danger" to the United States, tacitly instructing him to use force against the men responsible for his friend's murder. Jack Ryan, appointed acting Deputy Director of Intelligence after Vice Admiral Jim Greer is stricken with cancer, asks Congress for increased funding for ongoing CIA operations in Colombia, believing the funds to be for advisory purposes only.
Keeping Ryan in the dark, Cutter turns to CIA Deputy Director of Operations Bob Ritter to take down the cartel. Ritter assembles a black operations team code named RECIPROCITY with the help of John Clark. The team inserts itself into Colombia, with Clark running logistics and Captain Ricardo Ramirez of a SF-ODA team commanding the squad on the ground in clandestine search-and-destroy missions against the drug cartel. Meanwhile, Bennett sends Ryan to Colombia to investigate Hardin's cartel connection.
The cartel leader responsible for Hardin's murder, Ernesto Escobedo, is enraged when the U.S. attempts to claim the $650 million that was stolen from him, and has his intelligence officer, Félix Cortez, try to retrieve the funds. Bennett sends FBI Director Emile Jacobs to meet Ryan in Colombia and negotiate for the money, and when Cortez discovers this, he plans an ambush, engineering it so that suspicion will fall on Escobedo. Ryan barely escapes the ambush by cartel hitmen, but the remainder of the entourage is killed. Escobedo then summons a meeting with other cartel leaders, which Clark's team hits with an airstrike, but Escobedo is late arriving and survives.
Cortez discovers the American involvement in the strike, and meets with Cutter to broker a deal. Cortez will assassinate Escobedo and take over the cartel, promising to reduce drug shipments to the U.S. and allow American law enforcement to make regular arrests to make it appear as if the U.S. is winning the drug war. In exchange, Cutter will shut down all U.S. operations in Colombia and allow Cortez to hunt down Clark's soldiers. Cutter agrees and orders Ritter to get rid of all evidence of their operations and cut off the troops in Colombia from all support. Ryan is played a recording of the conversation between Cutter and Cortez. He hacks Ritter's computer and discovers the conspiracy unfolding in Colombia.
The Reciprocity team is ambushed in Colombia by Cortez's mercenaries. Ryan arrives and convinces Clark to allow him to help. They find the team's sniper, Domingo Chavez, who tells them that Ramirez and a squadmate have been captured and the remainder have been killed. Ryan visits Escobedo's mansion and shares his intelligence on Cortez. Enraged, Escobedo confronts Cortez, but is killed by Cortez's associate. Ryan, Clark, and Chávez rescue the prisoners, kill Cortez, and escape.
Ryan confronts the President and tells him he intends to inform the Congressional Oversight Committee about the conspiracy despite the damage it could do to his career. As he walks out of the Oval Office, Cutter asks to speak with him, but Ryan ignores him. Ryan then begins his testimony to Congress.
- Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan
- Willem Dafoe as John Clark
- Joaquim de Almeida as Félix Cortez
- Miguel Sandoval as Ernesto Escobedo
- Henry Czerny as Bob Ritter
- Harris Yulin as James Cutter
- Donald Moffat as James Bennett
- Benjamin Bratt as Ramírez
- Raymond Cruz as Domingo Chavez
- Jaime Gomez as Julio Vega
- James Earl Jones as Jim Greer
- Tom Tammi as Emile Jacobs
- Tim Grimm as Dan Murray
- Anne Archer as Cathy Ryan
- Ann Magnuson as Moira Wolfson
- Belita Moreno as Jean Fowler
- Dean Jones as Judge Moore
- Greg Germann as Petey
- Thora Birch as Sally Ryan
- Ellen Geer as Rose
- Hope Lange as Mayo
- Patrick Bauchau as Enrique Rojas
The film received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a rating of 80% based on reviews from 45 critics. The site's consensus states: "Perfecting the formula established in earlier installments, Clear and Present Danger reunites its predecessor's creative core to solidly entertaining effect."
Rita Kempley, writing for The Washington Post, commented "Noyce, who also directed 'Patriot Games,' manages to keep the complex story lines from snarling even though he relies heavily on crosscutting. The technique, which he uses ingeniously here, enlivens scenes that are technologically driven and potentially deadly."
As in the previous film Patriot Games, Clancy was less than pleased with the movie due to script changes. He favored John Milius’s initial script, which was written before Patriot Games started production and closer to the book. However, when Donald Stewart was hired by Paramount Pictures to rewrite the script due to Ryan not being the central character, Clancy lambasted the new screenplay as “really awful” and criticized its technical inaccuracies. “First things first,” Clancy continued, “Clear and Present Danger was the No. 1 best-selling novel of the 1980s. One might conclude that the novel’s basic story line had some quality to it. Why, then, has nearly every aspect of the book been tossed away?”