Given its tricky birth, it's amazing the latest Tom Clancy adaptation wasn't a lame nag. Instead we're treated to a thoroughbred thriller with Ben Affleck stepping ably into Jack Ryan's shoes, and Phil Alden Robinson injecting plenty of nerve-jangling tension.
A prickly topical terrorist plot (a nuke is missing!) is propelled along by hardboiled dialogue and lean pacing. But Robinson also finds room for a dash of flair and heart, cannily casting top-drawer character actors to ground his young star's nervous energy.