Summing Fears #sumofallfears

fears2Is a nuclear bomb more scary than Ben Affleck’s acting?  It could be, because The Sum of All Fears is one movie where Affleck isn’t all bad.  Unfortunately, the bomb nukes some people to create drama of the lowest order and Affleck goes to work cleaning up the remains, punching evil for greater box office justice.  

Yes, this movie has no point.  They try to stop the bomb but they can’t.  It blows up Baltimore but they gloss over the carnage and there’s little mention of the radioactivity, which must have infected much of the East Coast by the movie’s end.  It has a happy ending though, as Affleck farts out some dramatic lines in order to save the day from the Russians, who are typical generic assholes waiting to nuke somebody for threatening them.  It’s littered with other generic stuff to make this a finely tuned newage “thriller”.  Yay.

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I’m a smug bastard.

This movie stars Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan, who does a decent job, even though he plays a naive idiot tough guy know-it-all.  I prefer Harrison Ford, but Affleck works too, when he’s not fawning over his pseudo-girlfriend or acting like a 20-something hippy.  This movie takes place early in Ryan’s career, which is good for Affleck, because he gets to make the character his own.  I like his interactions with Morgan Freeman’s character, and that dynamic works.  They could have dropped 30 minutes from the beginning and started with the real plot, but Affleck has to fumble around for the first half of the movie in some sort of relationship drama.  

Bridget Moynahan’s character is pretty worthless and only exists to strengthen Affleck’s.  She whines and complains.  She doesn’t believe him when he says he works for the CIA, because they’re building Affleck as this major heroic super agent, who is “just an analyst”.  She also does the typical impatient girlfriend stuff, worrying and fretting over what he does in the field.  Fortunately, the relationship stuff disappears after a while and we get to focus on the Russian/US drama, which could end in nuclear war.

This movie is just an average outing for Affleck.  It’s got tons of generic action and drama if you like that kind of thing, but there’s nothing really unique about it that you can’t get from watching 20 other Cold War thrillers.  It has good acting, except for Bridget Moynahan, who fills the stereotypical girlfriend role and annoys me.  In the end, they beat the bad guys and the evil conspirators blow up in a ball of flame, thanks to a convenient deus ex secret agent assassination.  Not by Affleck mind you, because he’s just an analyst, and the new Jack Ryan needs to protect his image.

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