In the newest adaptation of the classic spy novel “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” Amazon has nice guy actor John Krasinski play analyst Jack Ryan who hunts the terrorist Suleiman (Ali Suliman) around the world. This work takes “Ryan the pencil-pushing-CIA-analyst” to extremes he isn’t sure he’s ready for.
Taking over a role that typically uses established action stars like Harrison Ford and Chris Pine, Krasinski could play Jack Ryan as the boy scout better than any actor who had played him before. The actor who is best known for playing Jim Halpert on The Office and his debut directorial work “A Quiet Place” had fans of the CIA analyst sceptical that he could pull off the action scenes that make Jack Ryan America’s James Bond.
After watching the four episode sample of the series, I’m here to tell you that fans have nothing to fear. In taking the role of Jack Ryan, Krasinski has achieved one of the most elusive things an actor can do: changing how the public views him. Krasinski has finished the transformation that had begun with “A Quiet Place” and become the superstar he always had the potential to be. The other standout is Wendell Pierce, who plays the character James Greer, the no-nonsense head of Ryan’s department with a mysterious past. Pierce plays the role of a veteran no-nonsense officer well and is a nice change of pace to Krasinski’s boy scout style character.
That is not to say that “Jack Ryan” is perfect, it’s far from it. The character of Jack Ryan is supposed to feel like the American James Bond; and it seems in some ways the show steers a bit too hard in that direction. The women of “Jack Ryan” all seem to fall in love with him in seconds flat, and it’s telling that Hanin (Dina Shihabi), the most compelling woman in the series, had no screen time with Ryan in the four episode sample I watched. I will always have a love for the action films of the 80’s and with the unnecessarily big explosions. “Jack Ryan” would feel right at home in the time period with a plot that fittingly feels like it could be at home in a Harrison Ford film of that era. “Jack Ryan” is the best kind of reconstruction of the generic 1980’s action movie for the 21st century audience.
In the Reese’s peanut butter cup that is “Jack Ryan” you get the perfect complement of chocolate and peanut butter that is the big explosions of the 80’s combined with the gritty realistic action of the 00’s. Coming in at eight episodes, Jack Ryan is the perfect complement to the busy life of the action-movie-loving college student.