With a career spanning seven decades, Morgan Freeman has seen nearly every genre of movie; he’s even played God. One of Freeman’s better performances (not like he has many poor ones) came in a 2002 action thriller and can now be seen on Netflix.
The Sum of All Fears marks the fourth movie involving author Tom Clancy’s favorite character, Jack Ryan. Ben Affleck takes on the role of Ryan whose character began with the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October which starred Alec Baldwin as Ryan. In both the 1992 Patriot Games and 1994s Clear and Present Danger, Harrison Ford took on the role of Jack Ryan.
In Morgan Freeman’s The Sum of All Fears, we first find ourselves in the early 1970s when an Israeli warplane is shot down. The significance of this is that the plane was carrying a nuclear warhead. Fast forward to today (the movie was released in 2002) where are Syrian scrap collector uncovers the large, unexploded bomb.
The South African black-market arms trafficker, Olson, purchases the bomb and recognizes it as the nuclear bomb lost in ’73. In turn, Olson sells the bomb to a neo-fascist group led by Richard Dressler an Australian billionaire, whose intent is to start a war between the United States and Russia, leaving both countries devastated, leaving a united fascist Europe to rule the world.
Back in the United States, a war game scenario is being staged by President Robert Fowler (James Cromwell) and his National Security team which includes CIA Director Bill Cabot (Morgan Freeman). In this scenario, Russian President Zorkin is overthrown, allowing rogue Russian generals to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S.
Not long after the war games, President Zorkin dies of a heart attack and is quickly replaced by hardliner Alexander Nemerov (Ciarán Hinds).
CIA Analyst Jack Ryan is asked by Cabot (Morgan Freeman) to head to Russia to help inspect their top nuclear facility, per the START treaty. When Ryan arrives, he meets Nemerov, who Ryan believes to be a reformer and not a hardliner, he also meets Anatoly Grushkov, Nemerov’s personal aide and former KGB agent. Grushkov tells Ryan to deliver a personal message to President Fowler that he and the US stay out of Russia’s war in Chechnya and allow Nemerov to stabilize the Russian nation.
A chemical attack on the Chechnya capital of Grozny increases tensions between the two powers but Ryan doesn’t believe Nemerov ordered it and tries to defend the new Russian President. But during a Nemerov speech, he takes responsibility for the attack.
The two nations are now closer than ever to nuclear war as more incidents take them to the brink. CIA operative John Clark (Liev Schreiber) joins the mix as he hunts down three missing Russian scientists. He is able to track them down to a former Soviet military facility.
Meanwhile, Ryan tracks down a crate from that Soviet military facility that made its way to Baltimore on a cargo ship. Fearing the worst, Ryan warns Cabot, who is at a football game with the President, that there is a possible bomb threat.
Morgan Freeman’s character is able to get the President out of the stadium before the bomb detonates but they aren’t far enough away to not get hit by the shockwaves. Not everyone survives.
Making matters worse, a corrupt Russian Air Force general sends warplanes to attack a U.S aircraft carrier.
With tensions at their highest, it is up to Ryan to figure out who actually is behind the attacks and what their ultimate goals are.
The Sum of All Fears has a lot going on. It took a while to find its way to the big screen as the late Tom Clancy was very reluctant to sell the rights because he was not happy with the big-screen adaptation of Harrison Ford’s Patriot Games. In fact, Clancy was so upset with the script for Patriot Games, he began complaining in earnest three months before the movie premiered, finally requesting his name be removed from the title. He eventually allowed his name to be associated with the film.
Critics and audiences alike were not overwhelmingly thrilled with their take on the Morgan Freeman movie. Phil Alden Robinson directed The Sum of All Fears from a script written by Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne on a $68 million budget. Although the film received mediocre reviews, it actually won at the box office, bringing home $194 million.
For Morgan Freeman, The Sum of All Fears came at the end of a decade where he was cranking out great movies one after another. It started with his 1992 film Unforgiven. His decade of great filmmaking then continued with films like The Shawshank Redemption, Outbreak, Se7en, Amistad, Kiss the Girls, Deep Impact, Along Came a Spider, and High Crimes. It was a very solid decade for Freeman.
Morgan Freeman is noted for his deep, calming voice and has used it numerous times to great success narrating documentaries. Over his lengthy film career, Freeman has been nominated for numerous awards winning his only Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Million Dollar Baby.
The popular actor has also won a Golden Globe Award as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award. His career has been honored with Kennedy Center Honor, the AFI Life Achievement Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
Even at 84-years-old, it doesn’t look like Morgan Freeman has any plans of slowing down. He was recently seen in the action-comedy The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard and has two projects lined up: Paradise Highway and Hate to See You Go.
You can now catch Morgan Freeman in The Sum of All Fears on Netflix.