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The Sum of All Fears Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 20

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The last thing we need is entertainment that evokes the horror and then trivializes it with cheesy heroics. Never has a movie taken on a subject of greater immediacy, or handled it more ineptly.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    Mediocre terrorist melodrama turned even punier by real-life events, and that's before we scratch our heads at its lead-actor choice.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    A world-detonation thriller, at once urgent and lazy, that benefits from its connection to current events and also, by the end, suffers from it.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Director Phil Alden Robinson and his writers, Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne, do a spellbinding job of cranking up the tension, they create a portrait of convincing realism, and then they add the other stuff because, well, if anybody ever makes a movie like this without the obligatory Hollywood softeners, audiences might flee the theater in despair.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

Generic action film not good for kids, or anyone.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a fairly typical blow-'em-up movie. Characters drink, smoke, curse, kill one another, and commit espionage and acts of terrorism. The film addresses the worst case scenario for a missing nuclear weapon, which has fallen into the hands of a terrorist group based in the Middle East. The film's representation of Middle Eastern people and culture is two-dimensional. The destruction and violence depicted in the movie may be upsetting to younger viewers, and the film's political themes will likely confuse them.

  • Families can talk about issues of arms races and nuclear weapons control. How likely is a scenario like the one depicted in this movie? What measures should be taken to keep nuclear weapons from becoming a threat? The film also addresses social responsibility. Jack Ryan risks his career and his life to ensure the safety of the American public. While this is clearly the "right" thing to do, how does Jack manage to make this risky decision?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Not an issue

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: There are some individual killings as well as disaster images.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not an issue

  • language false3

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: The Superbowl figures largely in the plot.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some drinking and smoking