If Clear And Present Danger suffers from anything it is that it is overlong. As much as I like the film and its plot, there are times when I find myself checking the running time again to see how much longer the film is. There are also an incredible number of characters on both sides of the fence to keep track of: Ryan (Ford), Greer (Jones), Clark (Defoe), Ritter (Czemy) , Escobedo (Sandoval) , NSA Director Cutter (Yulin), Felix Cortez (Almeida), Ryan’s wife (Archer), Moira (Mangnuson), FBI Director Jacobs (Tammi) and the list goes on.
CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Ford) takes over as Director of Covert Ops for the Company when his mentor Greer is stricken with cancer. The President, upset over the slaughter of a friend’s family by the Escobedo drug cartel, launches a covert military operation of which Ryan is unaware. When potential leaks make their operation a liability the President shuts it down, leaving the military officers on their own. Ryan has to save the abandoned soldiers and uncover the plot.
You’re offered a choice of a Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 tracks. Once again you won’t find much of a difference between these tracks. If anything I found the Dolby Digital track a little more constant. Highs are crisp and often dynamic. Lows rock at times but don’t interfere with dialogue or other important sounds. I wouldn’t call the surround mix aggressive, but there are times as in the explosive ambush in Cambodia that the mix serves well to place you squarely in the action. Gunfire pings ala Saving Private Ryan abound. James Horner provides another killer score which is placed perfectly throughout the film.
Clear And Present Danger is presented in its original theatric aspect ratio of 2.35:1. No question this is the best transfer of the three original Ryan films. I couldn’t find any evidence of film artifacts or specks. The print was clean at all times. Colors were near reference. Lighting is used as an integral part of the film. Like Hunt for Red October, it gives you clues as to where a scene is taking place. These subtle lighting schemes are handled with great skill and care on this transfer. Blacks were particularly impressive and quite rich in detail and depth. I’d like to also comment that in all of the Ryan films an exceptional job is done in their handling of layer changes. You will have to look very carefully to find it on any of these discs. I wish more studios would pay attention to this detail.
Once again the only extra of note is a half hour collection of interviews with cast and crew. Only the trailer remains in addition. Menus are simple and quite easy to navigate.
I picked up all four Ryan films in the special edition boxed set. Overall I think it’s an impressive set, but one can’t help but wonder why more features weren’t provided. I fear that terms like Special Edition or Collector’s Edition are beginning to loose significance.This was also Paramount’s first experiment with DTS, unfortunately a little late. There is very little difference any longer, and many studios are opting for more bonus material and forgoing the DTS track. Still films make great additions to any DVD collection. Who better than Clancy gives us “that old Potomac Two-Step”?