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Who's the Best Jack Ryan?

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by David Vincent (subscribe)
Occasional blogger and sometimes freelance writer, hammering away in the West Midlands.
Published February 4th 2014
As actor Chris Pine takes on the mantle of author Tom Clancy's operative in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, we look back at the previous big screen outings for the American hero.

Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit (c) Paramount Pictures
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (c) Paramount Pictures


ALEC BALDWIN
The eldest of the four Baldwin brothers first popped up in such films as She's Having a Baby and Tim Burton's Beetlejuice, but it was arguably the 1990 adaption of Clancy's The Hunt For Red October which put him firmly on the map.

The first cinematic appearance of the character, Baldwin's Jack Ryan was up against Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius, played Sean Connery, and it was a bearded Connery (the bigger star) who's mug appeared on the posters.

Published during the Cold War, in 1984, The Hunt For Red October was also Clancy's first Ryan book. The film was a hit, but a one-off for Baldwin's Jack.

HARRISON FORD
Having already played two rollicking, '40s movie-serial inspired heroes - Star Wars' Hans Solo and Indiana Jones - Ford took on the more adult hero Ryan for two movies: 1992's Patriot Games and 1994's Clear And Present Danger.

Both directed by Phillip Noyce (Dead Calm, The Saint, The Bone Collector), Patriot Games finds Jack foiling an IRA kidnapping in London while the sequel has the CIA officer embroiled in a complex plot involving South American drug cartels.

Despite good box office, Ford didn't return to the character, and instead went on to a remake of the Audrey Hepburn/ Humphrey Bogart/ William Holden romance Sabrina, and Air Force One, in which he played the US president.

BEN AFFLECK
Eight years after Ford stepped down, a younger Ryan arrived in the form of Ben Affleck.

Lasting just one movie, 2002's The Sum Of All Fears was Clancy's literary follow up to Clear And Present Danger. Incidentally, the title was borrowed from a speech by Winston Churchill.

With the treat of a nuclear device being detonated on US soil, it's up to Jack to save the day!

Box office was good, and reviews reasonable, but Affleck failed to return, instead going on to make Daredevil (ouch!). He did, however, later do Argo, so we almost forgive him for making a botch of Daredevil. Affleck's next big challenge sees him returning to the superhero genre as Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman Vs Superman! Hopefully, that'll be better than Daredevil.

CHRIS PINE
Despite there being five more presently unfilmed Jack Ryan books on the shelves, the latest multiplex blockbuster for the character is the an original story: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014).

Taking the lead for the latest reboot is Chris Pine (Star Trek's Capt Kirk, who also appeared in Smokin' Aces alongside Ben Affleck), with Brit director and thesp' Kenneth Branagh at the helm.

The result? A flashy and watchable popcorn thriller that while unlikely to get critics in a flap, nonetheless delivers an entertaining enough romp.

Check out the trailer (plus game and digital comic) on the film's official UK website: www.shadowrecruitmovie.co.uk

What next for Jack Ryan?
Tom Clancy passed away in October 2013, leaving behind a sizeable body of work perfect for adaptation. However, if Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a box office success, it's hard to imagine studio bosses following the author's plot lines - for example, making Ryan US President and introducing son Jack Ryan Jr, as per the books. So it's odds on they'll opt for more original stories inspired by Clancy's books in the hope of creating a Bourne or 007-like franchise that could run and run...

But whatever happens to Pine's Ryan (and those all important box office figures), we haven't heard the last of Jack Ryan, that's for sure - he's too good a character to forget.
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Harrison Ford was the best ever
by edna (score: 0|2) 1718 days ago

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