A JACK RYAN for the 21st (or is it 24th?) Century

Jack Ryan is back! After a long hiatus following the worst film the the “Jack Ryan” franchise.

In an age where subtitles appear bigger than the franchise name (see below; MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL & STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS – also starring Chris Pine) comes JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT, a franchise that seems to be attempting to cast as many actors to play the Tom Clancy character as have played other, more well known icons like 007 and Batman.

Wait... all the logos are for Paramount films.. is this a paramount Paramount conspiracy? (Pun very much intended).
Wait… all the logos are for Paramount films.. is this a paramount Paramount conspiracy? (Pun very much intended).

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit PosterJACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT seems to be a reboot to the franchise. Jack gets his first ‘in-the-field’ mission, just as he did in HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER.

Instead of Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman (both will now have worked in the Batman-universe), Harrison Ford and James Earl Jones, or Alec Baldwin and… again… James Earl Jones, this time we have Capt’Kirk himself, Chris Pine, playing Ryan with Kevin Costner as his government contact/father-figure/aid.

The first Jack Ryan movie not based off an actual Tom Clancy novel (notice the poster says ‘based on the characters created by Tom Clancy), is also the first Jack Ryan film to have the character’s name in the title. All because, unlike in the days of CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER and PATRIOT GAMES, HWood knows we are too stupid to make the connection unless all upcoming films carry ‘JACK RYAN’ in the title.

I kind of like it, as long as Paramount keeps using subtitles instead of numbers. Numbers date a movie (which is why even Marvel dropped them after the IRON MAN franchise), though SHADOW RECRUIT sounds it could be just as much the name for the next MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE film. GHOST PROTOCOL… SHADOW RECRUIT… tell me I’m not the only one who thinks these spy titles aren’t generic, focus-group tested, Hollywood executive garbage!

The trailer and more! After the jump!

While I did bash on Batfleck’s Jack Ryan film, THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, he wasn’t a terrible Ryan. It was during the Affleck slump where everyone turned on him, but in retrospect, after incredible preformances in THE TOWN and ARGO, Ben Affleck wasn’t that bad a Jack Ryan. Besides, now he’s Batman! And no one questions the Batman!

Before 30 ROCK, Alec was a Ryan.
Before 30 ROCK, Alec was a Ryan.

Alec Baldwin was the first big-screen Ryan, in the wonderful film, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER (1990).

When he was the filmmaker-in-residence at my alma mater, Chapman University, Producer Mace Nuefeld revealed that Alec Baldwin was offered the second Jack Ryan film, PATRIOT GAMES (1992). But Baldwin thought he was hot shit and irreplaceable (a mistake also made by Terrance Howard after IRON MAN), and demanded more money as he worked on Broadway. This lead to the casting of my favorite actor, Harrison Ford.Clear and Present Danger Harrison Ford

Ford did PATRIOT GAMES and CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER (1994), also my two favorite Jack Ryan films, before the franchise went on a slightly shorter hiatus until Affleck’s SUM OF ALL FEARS, eight years later in 2002. Nuefeld also revealed at a screening of PATRIOT GAMES, that Clancy hated Ford as Ryan, because he was too old for the role.

If I had to pick a favorite film in the franchise, it would be PATRIOT GAMES, as it also stars one of my favorite villains, Sean Bean (006 in GOLDENEYE). Still, I can never the line “I have no recollection, Senator” out of my head from CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER.

That ain't Kirk... this time.
That ain’t Kirk… this time.

Now, we have Chris Pine.

I love him in STAR TREK and STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, but my roommate insists he cannot act. He just plays the same character every time (which technically you could accuse the likes of Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis of as well; they play variations of themselves. They aren’t actors that disappear into roles like Tom Hardy).

I wanted to fight my roomie on that point, but he is right. If you watch UNSTOPPABLE, THIS MEANS WAR, STAR TREK, and the trailer for JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT, you’re seeing the same performance.

Likewise, the trailer isn’t that great, but it’s not terrible. Still produced by Mace Nuefeld, it looks to be LIVE FREE AND DIE HARD meets GHOST PROTOCOL. Your basic Christmas-time action flick.

At least it looks like James T. Kirk… I mean Chris Pine… has learned a bit from Daniel Craig about fighting in bathrooms. And Kevin Costner does bring some legitimacy to the film (who doesn’t like Pa’ Kent?).

Once upon a time Sam Raimi was attached to direct a JACK RYAN reboot, and he wanted the incredible James Franco for the role. I miss those days…

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