Patriot Games (1992)

Film and Plot Synopsis

In Patriot Games, former CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, is caught in the middle of a terrorist attack while on vacation in London with his family. Jack thwarts the attack and kills one of the terrorists, the brother to IRA terrorist Sean Miller who is captured during the incident. Jack is hailed as a hero, while Miller becomes obsessed with killing Jack and his family. Once Miller escapes from prison, the two men enter onto a collision course that threatens not only Jack and his family, but the British monarchy itself.

‘Patriot Games’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Patriot Games (1992)Patriot Games begins with Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) on vacation with his wife Cathy (Anne Archer) and young daughter Sally (Thora Birch) in London. Jack is former CIA analyst who left the agency due to the stress it placed on his family. After giving a speech, Jack meets his family to spend the day together. They witness a terrorist attack on the Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Lord William Holmes (James Fox). Jack intervenes in the attack and saves Holmes and his wife.

Jack is shot during the attack and kills one of the terrorists, Patrick Miller, as Patrick’s older brother Sean Miller (Sean Bean) watches. Miller is apprehended as his Provisional Irish Republican Army co-conspirators escape. After recovering from his injuries, Jack testifies against Miller at trial and the terrorist is convicted for his crimes.

The attack was unsanctioned by the IRA. The leader of the attack, Kevin O’Donnell (Patrick Bergin), is reprimanded by the IRA brigade commander Jimmy Reardon (Jonathan Ryan) and directed to meet with IRA personnel to settle any bad blood. The meeting is actually an assassination attempt on O’Donnell who anticipates it. O’Donnell kills the IRA hitmen and has his lover, Annette (Polly Walker), kill Reardon for ordering the hit.

O’Donnell and Annette organize an attack on Miller’s transport to prison and free the terrorist. Miller executes all the police officers involved in the transfer himself, and then he, Annette, and O’Donnell flee to North Africa to a terrorist training camp to plan their next attack. Miller fixates on his brother’s death and wishes to seek revenge against Jack. O’Donnell argues against it for some time, but eventually authorizes an attack on Jack and his family.

Meanwhile, Jack returns to his teaching job at the United States Naval Academy and life returns to normal. Jack and Cathy are informed by Vice Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones), the Director of the CIA and Jack’s friend, of Miller’s escape in Great Britain but emphasizes that the chances of a retaliatory attack are extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, a few days later, Annette and another terrorist Ned Clark (Keith Campbell) attempt to kill Jack outside the Academy grounds.

Clark overpowers Jack but is shot dead by several Marines before he can kill Jack. Annette escapes. Elsewhere, Miller and several other terrorists attempt to assassinate Cathy and Sally. Jack’s wife and daughter are involved in a serious traffic accident while attempting to elude the terrorists. Cathy suffers minor injuries, but Sally has to have her spleen removed.

Jack returns to the CIA and asks for his old job back, enraged that his family has been attacked. Greer hires him back and Jack begins researching terrorist training camps in an attempt to locate Miller and his compatriots. Jack meets with the IRA public relations and fund-raising man, Paddy O’Neil (Richard Harris) at an Irish pub in the United States. Jack threatens to make O’Neil’s fund-raising efforts difficult by allowing cameras in to see his hospitalized little girl unless O’Neil provides Jack with information about the location of Miller and his team.

O’Neil secretly provides information about Annette in retaliation of O’Donnell’s assassination of the IRA brigade commander. With that information, Jack uses satellite surveillance to locate a camp that has new residents and a woman, potentially Annette, who Jack identifies from the attack on him. After he locates a camp, the CIA orders a special services attack on the camp while Jack watches via live satellite footage. Jack has chosen the right camp; however, Miller, O’Donnell, and Annette have already left the camp prior to the attack.

A few weeks later, Lord Holmes and his wife are visiting the United States and invited to have dinner at the Ryan household. Security is extremely tight for the dinner, but Miller and his team attempt another kidnapping attack on Lord Holmes. They take out the security team and start to enter the house. Aware of the attack, Jack leads his family and guests to safety outside along the coastline. Jack finds the boats the terrorists planned on using to make their escape and takes one of them. Miller, O’Donnell, and Annette pursue Jack in a second boat, leaving Lord Holmes and Jack’s family safely hidden on the shore.

Once O’Donnell and Annette realize Jack is alone on the boat, they attempt to persuade Miller to turn around and go after their original target. However, Miller is consumed with revenge and kills both O’Donnell and Annette. Miller catches Jack’s boat and jumps onboard. The two men fight and during the fight, Miller is impaled on an anchor, killing him. The boat speeds out of control and Jack must jump clear before the boat crashes into rocks and explodes. FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team sees the explosion and recovers Jack from the water.

Sometime later, the Ryan family is having breakfast when Cathy receives a call from her obstetrician with a follow up on Cathy’s pregnancy and how her accident might have affected the baby. She is told the baby is okay and is asked if she wants to know what the sex of the child is. She tells them she does and hangs up. The films cuts to the credits before revealing the baby’s gender to the audience.

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Paramount Pictures released Patriot Games on June 5, 1992. Phillip Noyce directed the film starring Harrison Ford, Sean Bean, and Anne Archer.

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