With all of the talk surrounding the next James Bond movie and who should be cast for the role, there is another spy franchise that is on the verge of releasing their latest entry but isn’t getting the same love. This franchise has some heavy hitters from the past, much like the James Bond franchise, with names involved in the projects of Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, James Earl Jones, Sam Neill, Sean Bean, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, and the one and Only Harrison Ford. If you haven’t guessed it yet or haven’t read the title, we are talking about the Jack Ryan franchise. These movies feature the fictional character Jack Ryan, created by late Baltimore Maryland author Tom Clancy, a CIA analyst (or retired CIA analyst depending on the film you are watching) going above and beyond his post to do what is right. A majority of the Jack Ryan films ooze 90’s action goodness and holds a special place in my heart, but the new Jack Ryan TV series looks to bring things back to, and I can not wait.
The reason that I love this franchise so much is one of my favorite actors portrays Jack Ryan, Harrison Ford. He plays the role perfectly, and who else would you want to star in your spy thriller other than one of the biggest stars ever to grace the silver screen. He plays the role twice, and they are by far my favorites of the franchise, Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994). If you were only to watch two Jack Ryan films, these would be the two to watch. They are great examples of what a spy thriller should be, with a strong cast, a great plot with believable stories, and characters you love or love to hate. Patriot Games is at the top of my list. You follow former CIA analyst, Jack Ryan when he gets involved in an IRA plot to kidnap a member of the royal family while vacationing in London. This film also has my favorite bad guy in the series played by the talented Sean Bean. The two play each other’s counterpart is what makes this movie so entertaining.
Once this franchise left the 90’s and resurrected from the dead in 2002 (The Sum of all Fears), it seemed something special was lost for Jack Ryan fans. 2014’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit was not the answer either with 56% critic’s score on Rotten Tomatoes, this film was a far cry from the great films of yesteryear with a forgettable story, questionable acting and a cast that was not the caliber that the franchise once had and deserved. With the latter part of the franchise on the decline, it looked that we had seen the last of Jack Ryan.
Now, four years separating us from Shadow Recruit, new life seems to be breathed into the franchise in the ways of an Amazon Prime TV series starring John Krasinski. This version of Jack Ryan looks to be a younger version then what we received from the movies early in his CIA analyst career which is excellent and gives the showroom to grow which is perfect because it has already been renewed for season two before the first episode has even dropped. The casting of John Krasinski is perfect; we get a younger Jack plus someone with the acting chops to take on the role and make it his own. He was excellent in A Quiet Place where he got the opportunity to show emotion in his acting without the use of many words. You could feel what his character was going through in each and everything scene just by reading his physical emotions. We might see some of this come through intense interrogation scenes that are all but guaranteed to happen. To go along with this franchise you need action, and John can deliver here as well. In the film 13 Hours (2016) directed by Michael Bay, Jon proves that he is not just that guy from The Office, but a legit action star. Both of these later roles will undoubtedly pay dividends for the Jack Ryan franchise and pave the way for a strong return to form.
You can watch John Krasinski rejoin director Michael Bay on Amazon Prime Video August 31st. Please check out the trailer below in anticipation for the return of the Jack Ryan franchise.