The Sum of All Fears is a 2002 American action political thriller film directed by Phil Alden Robinson, based on Tom Clancy's novel of the same name. The motion picture, which is set in the Jack Ryan film series, is a reboot taking place in 2002. It was later followed by the 2014 reboot, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Jack Ryan is portrayed as a younger character by Ben Affleck, in comparison to John McTiernan's The Hunt for Red October starring Alec Baldwin, along with the film's subsequent sequels, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, both of which starred Harrison Ford and were directed by Philip Noyce. In the latter film, the character John Clark was portrayed as an older version by Willem Dafoe. Here in Sum of All Fears, a younger version of Clark is played by Liev Schreiber.
The film was a co-production between the motion picture studios of Paramount Pictures, Mace Neufeld Productions, MFP Munich Film Partners, and S.O.A.F. Productions. On June 4, 2002, the original motion picture soundtrack was released by the Elektra Records music label. The soundtrack was composed and orchestrated by musician Jerry Goldsmith.
The film premiered in theaters in the United States on May 31, 2002, grossing $118,907,036 in box office revenue. Its worldwide theatrical run ended with a total of $193,921,372 in business. Considering its production budget of $68 million and related marketing costs, the film was considered a major financial success. It presently holds a 59% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with generally mixed critical reviews. Critics noted similarities to the pre-Die Hard scenario film Black Sunday and a rip-off titled Time Bomb aired as a 2006 CBS telefilm.
In 2002, a Syrian scrap collector uncovers a large unexploded bomb buried in a field within the Golan Heights, and sells it to a South African arms dealer named Olson (Feore). Olson recognizes it as an Israeli nuclear weapon that was lost when the A-4 Skyhawk carrying it was shot down during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He later sells it to a secretive far-right cabal seeking to impose a white supremacist world order, led by Austrian billionaire and neo-Nazi Richard Dressler (Bates). Dressler's aim is to transform Europe into a united fascist superstate. He intends to start a nuclear war between the United States and Russia that will devastate them both.
CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Affleck), is summoned by Director William Cabot (Freeman) to accompany him to Russia to meet President Nemerov (Hinds). In Moscow, Cabot and Ryan are allowed to examine a Russian nuclear weapons facility as prescribed by the START treaty, where Ryan notices the absence of three scientists listed on the facility's roster. Cabot sends Special Activities Division operative John Clark (Schreiber) to Russia to investigate the missing scientists. Clark tracks the missing scientists to a former Soviet military facility in Ukraine, where Cabot suspects they are building a secret nuclear weapon that Russia could use without any way to trace it back to them.
Baltimore, where a key element of the plot occurs. Ryan and his colleagues discern that a crate from the facility in Ukraine was flown to the Canary Islands, then sent to Baltimore on a cargo ship. Ryan warns Cabot, who is attending a football game in Baltimore with the President about a bomb threat being in play. The President is evacuated before the bomb detonates, but the city is wrecked by the ensuing shock wave. To escalate the situation, a corrupt Russian Air Force general who has been paid by Dressler sends Tu-22M Backfires to attack a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.
Ryan learns from the radiation assessment team that the isotopic signature from the nuclear blast pinpoints it as having been manufactured at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina in 1968; evidence which would seem to exonerate the Russians. In Syria, Clark tracks down Ghazi, one of the men who found the bomb, now dying of radiation exposure. He tells Clark that he sold the bomb to Olson, who lives in Damascus. Ryan's colleagues at Langley infiltrate Olson's computer and download files that implicate Dressler as the person who bought the plutonium and who is behind the Baltimore attack.
Ryan is able to reach the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon and get a message to Nemerov, saying that he knows that Russia was not behind the attack, while also asking Nemerov to stand down his forces as a show of good faith. Nemerov agrees to do so as President Fowler follows suit. The participants in the conspiracy, including Dressler, are later assassinated one by one. Presidents Fowler and Nemerov announce new nuclear disarmament and counter-proliferation measures in joint speeches at the White House, as Ryan and his fiancee Dr. Catherine Muller (Moynahan) listen on in an open place.
- Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan
- Morgan Freeman as William Cabot, Director of Central Intelligence
- Bridget Moynahan as Dr. Catherine Muller
- James Cromwell as J. Robert Fowler, President of the United States
- Liev Schreiber as John Clark
- Michael Byrne as Anatoly Grushkov/Spinnaker, senior advisor to President Nemerov.
- Colm Feore as Olson
- Alan Bates as Richard Dressler
- Ron Rifkin as Sidney Owens, Secretary of State
- Ciarán Hinds as Alexander Nemerov, President of the Russian Federation
- Bruce McGill as Gene Revell, National Security Advisor
- Richard Marner as President Zorkin, President of the Russian Federation prior to Nemerov
- Philip Baker Hall as David Becker, Secretary of Defense
- Josef Sommer as Senator Jessup
- Ken Jenkins as Admiral Pollack
- Philip Akin as General Wilkes
- John Beasley as General Lasseter, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Lee Garlington as Mary Pat Foley, CIA
- Joel Bissonnette as Mason, Dressler's American contact
- Sven-Ole Thorsen as Haft, Dressler's hitman