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"You see this? That's your new target, unless it's not big enough."
—John Clark

¡Jack Ryan must investigate the murder of a life-long friend of the POTUS in relation to what appears to be a drug cartel in Columbia, only to be pulled into a war illegally started by the US government.

Written by Tom Clancy with a film adaptation starring Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, Benjamin Bratt, Joaquim de Almeida, and Henry Czerny.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Duo
  • Action Survivor: Jack Ryan.
  • Armchair Military: When the operation starts to unravel and people not cleared start to figure it out, one person states rather bluntly that if the CIA had actually bothered to include the organizations they were suborning, the operation would have run smoother, would not have been discovered, and would've been a hell of a lot more deniable, basically a screed against the Armchair Military that set up the operation in the first place.
  • Ascended Extra: Many side characters from the previous novels are brought back as main characters. Ritter, John Clark,
  • Badass: John Clark.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Ernesto Escobedo tries hard to be The Dreaded and Wicked Cultured, but he really acts like a Psychopathic Manchild with Suicidal Overconfidence and a penchant for brutal Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: "How dare you, sir!"
  • Canon Foreigner: Sipo, Cortez’s loyal right hand man from the film.
  • Coast Guard: USCGC Panache, a definite Cool Boat, plays a very prominent role in the book. In the film it's an unnamed Coast Guard cutter.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Dan Murray is killed during the ambush.
    • Moira Wolfe gets a Neck Snap from Cortez.
    • Escobedo and Cortez are both killed in the climax.
  • Deceased Fall Guy Gambit: In the movie, the President threatens to do this to Admiral Greer. In the book, John Clark does this successfully to Admiral Cutter.
  • Demoted to Extra: Jack Ryan and James Greer are both sidelined and out of the action for most of the novel. Ryan is both in the dark and at a N.A.T.O conference for the first two acts while Greer spends the novel in a hospital for pancreatic cancer. This is averted in the film, at the cost of doing this to Judge Moore and Emil Jacobs.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Escobedo does this to every slight against him. The men who killed his father had their families killed in front of them before they were murdered. A businessman who embezzled his money has his wife and daughter raped in front of him before they were executed. The U.S. government catches the hit men who did so and gets a confession? Murder the Director of the FBI and the American ambassador! The last one bites him in the ass hard.
  • Dirty Cop: Detective Sergeant Ernie Braden moonlights as a burglar for the cartel, taking evidence. It’s less that he does it for the money and more that he’s Stopped Caring.
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: This exact line is said by Clark when the pilot Larson walks up behind him without warning first. Actually incredibly stupid of Larson, since Clark just killed four heavily armed mercenaries.
  • Drugs Are Bad
  • Even Evil Has Standards - Cortez has the mindset of a professional intelligence officer, so while he mostly has a lot of Pragmatic Villainy moments, he does show genuine disgust with the methods used by the Cartel to intimidate their rivals (even paraphrasing Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil at one point in the book).
  • Every Helicopter Is a Huey: Justified in the film by Rule of Symbolism.
  • Everything Is Online: Mocked. After Cortez and Ryan both start to suspect that a car bombing was actually caused by a missile, they research the issue. Ryan, the Deputy Director of the largest intelligence organization in the world, has to pull an all-nighter alone looking through Jane's Armaments. Cortez just searches a slick, high-tech database.
    • Inverted in the original novel, where the cardboard cover of the book is how Cortez figures out how the bomb didn't leave any traces.
  • False-Flag Operation
  • Friendly Sniper: "Ding" Chavez, who becomes a major recurring character.
    • Only in the movie. In the book, he's a reconnaissance specialist.
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: Which is interpreted differently in each version. In the movie, it exists to protect Ritter from the consequences of his actions. In the book, it's to protect the CIA as a whole.
  • Gilligan Cut: Jack Ryan knocking on Escobedo's door.
  • Hauled Before a Senate Subcommittee
  • Hollywood Hacking: Averted.
  • Hundred-Percent Adoration Rating: Jacobs.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Admiral Greer, we hardly knew ye.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: "What the hell is this..."
  • Large Ham: Escobedo in the film, as things start to go pear-shaped.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol
  • Literary Allusion Title: the "Clear and present danger" clause in law. Title Dropped in the book. Interestingly, it is related to the First Amendment freedom of speech provision and has little, if any, relevance to the plot.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Sipo from the film is this to Cortez, serving him loyally through the film and leading the assault on the convoy and murdering Escobedo before being anticlimactically shot by Clark.
  • Neck Snap: Moira, in the film.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Braden gets quite messily shot up by hit men with machine guns.
  • Odd Friendship: Alan Trent, a gay Democrat from Massachusetts and Sam Fellows, a Mormon Republican from Arizona.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Ritter in the film, before blowing up the loca of the cartel meeting, gives one while munching on a carrot.


  • Psychopathic Manchild: Cortez notes this about Escobedo, who acts sophisticated but has a poor temper and lashes out with violent punishments against those who enrage or sin against him. This is less so in the film, where he’s more cocky, but he still has moments.
  • Puppet Gun
  • Recurring Extra: A case of recurring of two films. A technician and a bodyguard who previously appeared in Patriot Games show up again here. For the bodyguard, it’s a case of Back for the Dead.
  • Rescued From Purgatory: ...sort of
  • Revised Ending: Or, in the movie's case, reversed ending. The book ends with Ryan agreeing to keep the whole operation secret (which causes him trouble years later), Cutter Driven to Suicide and the Administration protected. The movie ends with Ryan angrily telling off the President, then spilling everything to a Senate committee.
  • Running Gag: "Plus change."
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place: Ryan, once again.
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: Initially this is what Ramon and Jesús are suspected to be.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Emil Jacobs is killed during the ambush. As he is Demoted to Extra in the film (though he still dies), this status is given to Dan Murray.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Played straight for once, when Larson shoots out the lock at an airplane strip where Colonel Johns's chopper lands to refuel before heading out to Panache. Though it is slightly Justified in that he uses five rounds to do so and specifically aims to separate the lock mechanism from the door.
  • Smug Snake: Ritter in the film subverts this, as he proves himself to be instead a Downplayed Magnificent Bastard. Escobedo, however, plays it very s straight.
  • Spy Speak

 Chavez: "The chicken is in the pot."

Clark: "Cook it."


  • The Cartel
  • The Cavalry: after everything goes to hell, Ryan and Clark help organize a rescue for the troops left behind on the ground. The book goes into much further detail, with the Pave Low, their MC-130 support, Larson's King Beech, and the Panache all playing big roles.
  • The Starscream: Col. Cortez
  • Title Drop
  • Villainous Breakdown: Escobedo begins to go through one during the American assault on his operations.

Escobedo: Whoever did this is DEAD! DO YOU HEAR ME? DEAD!

  • Western Terrorists
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The drug cartel intelligence officer Felix Cortez snaps Moira Wolfe's neck after getting from her the information his employer desired.
    • This is in contrast to the book, where she's left alive, but made unavailable due to Escobedo using the information that Cortez had collected for an attack on a US delegation visiting Colombia. After the US discovers the source of the leak and gets her cooperation in capturing him, his returning to the US would have resulted in being arrested.
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