TV review: 'Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan' worth a look for fans of military thrillers (and Jim from 'The Office'

Monday, 27 August 2018 12:00 AM Written by 

 

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If the character was good enough for Alec Baldwin (“The Hunt for Red October”), Harrison Ford (“Patriot Games,” “A Clear and Present Danger”), Ben Affleck (“The Sum of All Fears”) and Chris Pine (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”), why not a buffed-up John Krasinski (“The Office,” “A Quiet Place”)?

Although his “Office” character Jim was kind of doughy compared to Jack Ryan’s six-pack abs on display in the new series "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" (Friday via Amazon's Prime Video), both Jim and Jack share an innate kindness and do-gooder determination that Krasinski brings to the role. It’s no wonder a former boss derisively calls Jack a “self-righteous Boy Scout.”

Read more after the jump. ...

Created for television by Carlton Cuse (“Lost,” “Bates Motel”) and Graham Roland (“Fringe,” “Prison Break”), who did not base the series on a Clancy novel but came up with an original story, “Jack Ryan” spends much of its pilot establishing Jack’s background in the military, his dedication to his work as a CIA analyst of financial transactions, his relationship with his boss, James Greer (Wendell Pierce, “The Wire”), and his introduction to his future wife, Dr. Cathy Mueller (Abbie Cornish). That makes for a little bit of a pokily-paced pilot until the last quarter of the hour when Jack takes a trip overseas and unwittingly becomes part of a fire fight.

A more exciting episode two makes clear that “Jack Ryan” lands somewhere between the soapier “24” and the more political/intellectual “Homeland” on a scale of terrorism-themed TV dramas.

The eight-episode first season follows Jack as he tracks and tries to capture terrorist Mousa Bin Suleiman (Ali Suliman), who gets a heartbreaking backstory in the pilot’s opening moments. (Of local note: While Ryan was from Baltimore in Mr. Clancy’s novels, when Ryan’s boss looks in his file, Ryan’s place of birth is listed as Pittsburgh.)

Filmic in its look and style – the series screams “big budget” – “Jack Ryan” has its exciting moments, and even when there are not explosions on screen, the presence of the always-likeable Mr. Krasinski easily pulls viewers through to the next exciting action set piece.

 

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