A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The government is corrupt, but a few people in it have integrity and act in good faith based on their principles.
Positive Role Models
Jack Ryan is surprisingly brave under fire, given that he's not armed throughout the film, even though he often puts himself in harm's way for the good of others. Other political operatives consider him a "boy scout" and naïve because he threatens to expose their corrupt schemes. The president orders a covert, illegal war, pretending that he didn't order it so it can't be traced back to him. His staffers conduct the war, indifferent to how their acts put patriotic soldiers in danger.
Violence & Scariness
Soldiers and cartel mercenaries shoot people and fire missiles at cars and vans. Bodies mount up in the wake of shootings and explosions. A motorcade of officials is attacked by snipers. Several are shot dead.
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"F--k," "s--t," "ass."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The Colombia drug cartel members make millions processing, smuggling, and selling heroin and cocaine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Clear and Present Danger, a 1994 film based on novelist Tom Clancy's 1989 CIA thriller, is a cynical look at U.S. government corruption. The war on drugs, the billion-dollar drug industry, its murderous cartels, and a secret, illegal military plot hatched by a U.S. president to garner good PR all play roles in a deception that only one honest man, CIA deputy director Jack Ryan, can fix. Drug processing factories are shown, and lots of armed cartel henchmen shoot at each other. They engage with clandestine American soldiers in gunfire and missile warfare. Bloodied shooting victims are seen. U.S. government officials casually accept the deaths of innocent children as "collateral damage." Soldiers and cartel mercenaries shoot people and fire missiles at cars and vans. Bodies mount up in the wake of shootings and explosions. A motorcade of officials is attacked by snipers. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "ass." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Clear and Present Danger is a generic shoot-'em-up that is politically all over the place and a good 20 minutes too long. Our credulity is meant to be stretched, as the hero is a gun-less CIA wonk who willingly runs into life-threatening situations. On the one hand, the U.S. government players (president and advisers) are self-serving and cynical, but on the other, Ryan, another government employee and political appointee, is the only guy with a conscience in the whole story. So the government is at fault but the government also solves the problem.
Ford is great, as always, at using facial muscles to express worry, and that talent is perfectly applied here because Ryan has much to worry about. He also does a good job at outrage, Ryan's other prominent emotion, over the president's callous willingness to abandon wounded captured soldiers to their terrible fate in the hands of the cartel. Still, many other movies about clandestine military ops are far more sophisticated and nuanced than this.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.