Home Video Picks & Passes 03.14.21

Two political thrillers are ‘picks.’

L to R: ‘In the Line of Fire’ (1993) and ‘Clear and Present Danger’ (1994) both get a thumbs-up.
L to R: ‘In the Line of Fire’ (1993) and ‘Clear and Present Danger’ (1994) both get a thumbs-up. (photo: Columbia Pictures & Paramount Pictures)

Clear and Present Danger (1994) — PICK

In the Line of Fire (1993) — PICK

Two terrific politically themed 1990s thrillers — each an end of an era for its star — are new on Amazon Prime.

Clear and Present Danger marks the end of Harrison Ford’s unparalleled run from 1977 to 1994 playing one iconic blockbuster hero after another.  

Ford reprises Tom Clancy’s hero Jack Ryan from his 1992 Patriot Games (also free for Prime subscribers; the role was originated by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October, a cheap rental).

The complex story — a cloak-and-dagger morass with lots of bad guys on both sides — involves a murdered businessman, a Columbian drug cartel and stolen drug money. What’s clear in all this is Ryan’s moral uprightness and sense of duty and honor.

In the Line of Fire marks the transition from Clint Eastwood’s action-hero roles to playing an old man haunted by his action-hero past.

The film pits Eastwood’s aging Secret Service veteran against a chillingly effective John Malkovich as “Booth,” a man planning to assassinate the U.S. president.

Haunted by the assassination of JFK, Eastwood’s hero yearns for redemption — a fact Booth shrewdly exploits in electrifying cat-and-mouse phone calls (but who is the cat)?


CAVEAT SPECTATOR: Clear and Present Danger: Intermittent violence, brief strong language. Teens and up. In the Line of Fire: Intermittent violence, brief sensuality, much harsh language. Older teens and up.

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