Ralph Potts reviews the third installment in the popular Jack Ryan film franchise, based on the book series by Tom Clancy, which are making their debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray from Paramount Home Distribution.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Paramount - 1994
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 141 minutes
Genre: Drama/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): > English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Harrison Ford, Anne Archer, Willem Dafoe, James Earl Jones, Donald Moffatt, Henry Czerny
Directed by: Philip Noyce
Music by: James Horner
Written by: Donald Stewart, Steven Zaillian, John Milius
Region Code: A

Release Date: August 21, 2018
"Watch Your Back Jack"
My Take:

I reviewed Clear and Present Danger’s 2008 Blu-ray release, and have included my comments from that review here. Ratings for film, audio, and bonus content will be the same, as they are identical to that release. New comments and ratings for the Ultra HD video are below.

It should be noted that this Ultra HD release is only available as part of the Jack Ryan 5-film Collection Ultra HD release.

This is the third film based on Tom Clancy's high-tech espionage potboilers starring CIA deputy director Jack Ryan. Harrison Ford, returning to the Ryan role after his first go-round in 1992's Patriot Games, is assigned to a delicate anti-drug investigation after a close friend of the President (a Reaganesque Donald Moffat) is murdered by a Colombian drug cartel.

When Ryan discovers that the President's wealthy friend was in league with the cartel, the President's devious national security adviser (Harris Yulin) and an ambitious CIA deputy director (Henry Czerny) send a secret paramilitary force into Colombia to wipe out the drug lords. The force is captured and then abandoned by the President's lackeys. It falls to Ryan to enter Colombia and rescue them, aided only by a renegade operative named Clark (Willem Dafoe), with both his life and career on the line.

Clear and Present Danger was the first film in the series that I saw and, it remains my favorite. I love its blend of drama, action, suspense, strong characters and superb casting. The tangled political web that the story weaves is right on the money. There are several bad guys on both sides of the equation which I found appealing. Ernesto Escobedo is certainly a drug lord that deserves what he gets but, I found myself rooting for him during the film. I think this was mainly due to Cortez’ treachery and I wanted to see him get his comeuppance.

Henry Czerny plays Ritter’s cold, steely eyed, self-indulgent “I call them as I see them” demeanor to pure perfection and is my favorite “bad guy” in the film. The film’s action-based sequences such as the entire rescue from the Lindo Coffee factory and ambush of the motorcade in Columbia are great. The loss of Admiral Greer, the weak political leadership, and the cat and mouse played between the Ritter/Cutter/Clark, Jack and Cortez/Escobedo all contributed to the films dramatic elements. When I think of Jack Ryan, Harrison Ford is immediately who comes to mind. That is not meant to be a slight to anyone else who has portrayed the character but, is strictly my opinion. I enjoyed all of the films in series but this is the one that I reach for first.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for action, violence and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

Audio: 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 

Clear and Present Danger comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Paramount Home Distribution featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound.

From what I was able to gather from the studio Clear and Present Danger recently underwent a 4K re-mastering and its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray was derived from that process.

It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like Clear and Present Danger has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won't result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.

Looking at the film's opening moments, I wasn’t immediately struck by the upgrade in resolution however as the scene played out and then later, the improvement in depth, definition and color rendering became more obvious. The exterior shots of Colombia both on its streets and in the jungle revealed delineated and natural color rendering as well as an uptick in fine detail, not present on the 1080p rendering. The addition of high dynamic range added a tangible visual element that enriched both natural and artificial light. The ambush in Columbia and the bombing at the hacienda had appreciable specular highlights and brilliant whites. This was the case during brightly lit exterior scenes, such as the one on the rifle range, or at the meeting between Clark and Ritter in Panama.

Dark highlights were rendered with excellent dimension especially when coupled with brighter visual elements. The scenes in the final act that take place in the bowels of the Lindo Coffee factory looked great. The image isn't razor sharp and, there are intermittent issues with innate softening, but detail rendering is very good overall. Grain remains intact with predominantly natural rendering that occasionally takes on more emphasis. Reminiscent of Patriot Games’ Ultra HD rendering, Clear and Present Danger looked solid and represents the film in its finest light since coming to home video.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for Clear and Present Danger, I found the HDR renderings to essentially be the same. This film’s elements aren’t lent to bright color and a consistent flow of vibrant highlights, however I found that the Dolby Vision rendering drew out just a hint more detail and visual pop especially during instances containing dynamic highlights. The difference isn’t staggering but, I found it worthy of note and in that light, Dolby Vision would be my preferred way to view this film.

Paramount included the same Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel track as found on the original Blu-ray release. As I stated originally, the audio presentation was quite good and seemed to preserve and enhance the strengths that made the lossy Dolby Digital sound mix desirable. Dynamics were solid which increased the potency of gunfire, explosions, and sound effects. The sound field bristled with a blend of both discrete and ambient sounds which made it easy to get caught up in films captivating moments. The rescue sequence at the coffee factory had a little bit of everything and sounded excellent. Dialog through the center channel sounded clearly defined with discernible variety and good intonation. Imaging across the front three channels had distinctive separation with seamless pans and open sound staging. Low frequencies had fair impact that seemed to blend well with the rest of the system.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Clear and Present Danger Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Clear and Present Danger Blu-ray
  • Legacy Bonus Material
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Clear and Present Danger is one of my favorite Harrison Ford films. Its great story, excellent thematic components and superb cast sets it apart in my book from the other Clancy/Ryan films. It comes to Blu-ray from Paramount Home Distribution in this Ultra HD Combo Pack that features faithful overall Ultra HD video quality, fair lossless sound, and legacy supplements. Clear and Present Danger on Ultra HD is currently only available as part of the Jack Ryan 5-Film Collection. Hopefully we’ll see a separate UHD release so fans can have their pick of which films to own.
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems