‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’ Breaks the Jack Ryan Mold

Evan Killham
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Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video. Counting the original novels, this is the sixth incarnation of the character. And so far, they’ve all had one thing in common: They are all just ridiculously badass. John Krasinski follows Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine in playing Clancy’s CIA analyst-turned-field operative. And the new series offers a new take on the character. But he’s still badass.

Here are five ways John Krasinski’s new Jack Ryan breaks from the ones who came before him.

The double life

In Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, the title character deals with his newfound status as a field agent for the CIA. He usually just writes reports and provides his insight to decision makers, but the new series throws him into the middle of a terrorist plot that threatens global security. And this means he has to leave a garden party in a helicopter sometimes.

The series will show the beginning of Jack’s relationship with Cathy, played by Abbie Cornish. And she’s probably already used to a certain amount of secrecy around his work. But we’ve usually seen these two, years into their marriage, so the fact that this version of Jack and Cathy are relatively new to this suggests they’ll have some different interpersonal challenges to what we’ve seen before.

High-toned action man

The Jack Ryan character is no stranger to an action sequence. But he rarely participates directly. In the second film, Patriot Games, we saw Harrison Ford’s incarnation personally thwart an attack on the British Royal Family. But he’s mostly just been either an observer to the explosions or sent other people to make them happen.

In Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, however, Krasinski will go head-to-head with bad guys himself. He’ll even have weapons and a tactical vest, so you know it’s serious. We actually see him firing a pistol and holding off some bad guys with a grenade, so this is definitely a more “hands-on” version of the character than we’ve seen before.

Charm

We’d never say we disliked any version of Jack Ryan. Each incarnation has had his own good qualities. Baldwin’s was unassuming bordering on naive, Ford’s was tough and would punch you, Affleck’s was exactly like Ben Affleck, and Pine’s was a lot like Captain Kirk.

But Krasinski is bringing something new to the role: charm. He excels at that, even when he was fighting those sound monsters in A Quiet Place.

Globe-trotting spyventures

Jack Ryan stories have always had an international scope. But the movies were always limited to a single location or two. The new series will send the analyst hero all over the world to address the new threat. The films have taken Jack to the ocean, South America, and across the Atlantic … but never to two in the same story. This more international plot will ramp up both the adventure and the character’s perpetual “fish out of water” vibe.

Real Life of a CIA Analyst

We’ve seen Jack Ryan in office settings before. A tense scene in Clear and Present Danger even had him scrambling with a coworker for control of the local printer. And that’s drama we can all relate to. But Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan will work more than previous versions to show how the guy’s usual work contrasts with running around in a street with a gun.

The series starts with Ryan following some dodgy international bank transfers to some terrorist activities. And once it comes time for him to get into the field, he’s not sure how he ended up there. This is a big change from the version we saw in The Hunt for Red October, who’s just enjoying the adventure. And in the Harrison Ford films, Ryan takes to the action so easily that you kind of forget he usually just writes reports.

You can see more of the new version in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan – streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.

Evan Killham
Evan is a high-powered supernerd who is sprinkled across the internet like salt. His contributions have appeared at Screen Rant, Cult of Mac, and GamesBeat. When he isn't writing, he plans projects he won't have time to make and cultivates an affinity for terrible horror films.
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