Clear and Present Danger

“You are such a boy scout!!”

The words, said by a weasel of the highest order, sting, but are dead-on, with Harrison Ford playing a man whose rigid posture owes to his spine being made of the strongest material.

Ensnared in a murky world, acting CIA Deputy Director Jack Ryan finds himself caught between vicious Colombian drug cartels and a compromised US president.

There are three ways out — sacrifice his morals, take a bullet to the temple, or hitch up his big boy pants and go in guns blazing.

This is Harrison Ford. You know which route he’s taking.

 

Presumed Innocent

It’s the look of guilt.

Saddled with a bad haircut and suspicious body language, Harrison Ford’s dogged lawyer turned murder suspect doesn’t exactly project innocence as he stumbles through the wreckage of his life.

A former colleague, who he slept with, is dead, and all of his close associates start turning on him in this twisty courtroom mystery adapted from a Scott Turow novel.

Ford has spent much of his career playing the hero, which makes it even more effective when he sinks into the muck in pictures like this or Mosquito Coast.

Guilty or not, these scars won’t heal.

Air Force One

“Get off my plane!”

Harrison Ford is the president we wish we had — a man of rock-solid moral character who will throat-punch a terrorist.

Facing off with Gary Oldman, delightfully-despicable as a cold-hearted killer intent on freeing an imprisoned dictator, the Prez proves he can hold his own in mid-air conflict.

A decorated Vietnam War vet, Ford’s tough-as-nails Commander in Chief dodges a chance to escape from his hijacked plane, laying down some two-fisted retribution between scowls.

A film made to be played every 4th of July, with the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air as backdrop.

 

Frantic

No one scrambles like Harrison Ford.

A master at playing dogged men who stay one step ahead of their pursuers by any means necessary, he’s a jetlagged surgeon desperate to find his missing wife this time out.

Shortly after the couple sets down in Paris, she receives a mysterious phone call, then vanishes into the labyrinth of an unknown city.

Others might wait for the local authorities to piece things together, but this is Harrison freakin’ Ford, so he immediately plunges into danger with a growl and a grimace.

You’ve gone and pissed him off now. Bad move, boys.

The Empire Strikes Back

The perfect blockbuster.

Big-budget special effects extravaganzas come and go, but few match this sequel’s combo of action and heart.

Star Wars head honcho George Lucas turns the director’s chair over to Irvin Kershner, the maestro behind such works as Eye of Laura Mars and RoboCop 2, and he makes the film hum.

Paying tribute to what worked in the original, while also upping the stakes considerably, with one of the screen’s great cliffhangers as Han Solo gets frozen, this remains the best chapter in the never-ending saga.

And that there is both the nine-year-old David, and the 49-year-old David, talking.