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Movies for Gun Guys: Clear And Present Danger

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Clear and Present Danger Overview: Although this won’t be found at the top of most Buzzfeed-style gun movie lists, it should come as no surprise that an adaptation of a Tom Clancy novel deserves a spot in our article. This 1994 film is the third installation in the Jack Ryan series, preceded by The Hunt for Red October (1990) and Patriot Games (1992). Ryan, played by Harrison Ford, is working at the CIA when he finds himself caught in the middle of a clandestine war between the U.S. government and a Colombian drug cartel. Head bad dude Ernesto Escobedo — a blatant Pablo Escobar knockoff — orders the assassination of two Americans who turn out to be friends of the president, then drops the line, “What are they going to do? Come after me?” After evading opposition within the CIA, Ryan forges a tenuous alliance with in-country operative John Clark, played by Willem Dafoe, and sets out to expose a trail of corruption that leads all the way to the White House.

What We Like: Clear and Present Danger features a wide array of weapons. American forces are equipped with M16s and M203s, XM177 carbines, M60 machine guns (including a Predator-style E3), suppressed MP5s, and a suppressed M24 sniper rifle. As is often the case, many of these guns are prop house clone builds that were modified to mimic their real counterparts — the XM177s appear to be commercial-market Colt AR-15s with swapped-out flash hiders. The cartel’s weapons are more varied, including FN FALs, Norinco Type 56 AKs, Uzis, RPGs, and even a TEC-9. There are more than a few action movie cliches, such as goofy silencer noises, ARs that sometimes sound like .50-cal machine guns, and a plethora of massive fireball explosions, but it wasn’t hard to overlook them and enjoy this film. Actors’ weapon-handling is reasonably accurate as far as Hollywood blockbusters go — although there’s a whole lot of full-auto firing from the hip — and the variety ensures there’s something cool to notice in almost every shot.

Gun Guy Highlights: Harrison Ford is seen with guns a few times throughout the film, but Dafoe’s character is the real star of this show. First, he’s seen carrying a full-size Glock with a threaded barrel; this is significant since the same pistol appears later with a silencer equipped. But the single, most interesting weapon in the film is his OA-93 AR pistol from now-defunct manufacturer Olympic Arms. The OA-93, which was released in 1993, became illegal under the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban only one month after Clear and Present Danger hit theaters. Olympic Arms would release AWB-compliant versions such as the fixed-magazine OA-96, but the original OA-93 seen in this film soon became effectively unattainable, making its appearance here a rarity.

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Editor's Note: This is a Section of the Article Movies for Gun Guys Published in RECOIL Issue #55.

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