|Paramount Pictures | Release Date: May 31, 2002||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
As an evocation of danger, the movie seems threatening yet is nowhere near serious or intelligent enough to satisfy our current sense of alarm. [3 June 2002, p. 100]
Poor Affleck. He doesn’t just have to singlehandedly save the world from nuclear destruction, he has to erase our memories of Ford and Baldwin. That’s a tall order for any actor, and Affleck, an expert at playing cocky, callow yuppies, just doesn’t have the heft.
When Affleck keeps getting work, the terrorists HAVE won. With blank eyes and soft features, he has none of the gravitas of his predecessors, Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford, who saved the world with swagger. Affleck merely looks like a frat boy in over his head, which is perhaps the point.
And then there's Liev Schreiber as CIA operative John Clark. With less than 30 minutes of screen time, he's everything Affleck isn't - magnetic, clever, and delightful to watch. If only the filmmakers had possessed the courage to cast the splendid Schreiber instead of the feeble Affleck. Read full review
Feels awfully rushed, as Ryan flies from the Ukraine to Moscow to the Russian hinterlands and back to Baltimore to make sweet, sophomore agent love to his physician girlfriend (Moynahan). It has the feel of one of 007's globe-hopping adventures, but without any of that franchise's giddy sense of fun. Read full review
Film's real sticky wicket is that the bad guys not only threaten to nuke a major American city but do it — a conceit that might have been more amusing before terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center using hijacked commercial jets. Witnesses said the WTC attack looked like a movie; they didn't say it was a movie they wanted to see. Read full review
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