With any major author these days it seems to be inevitable that their books will be made into movies. See: J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, etc. (Not that this is new, but it’s picked up in the last 20 or so years.) Tom Clancy is no exception. In fact, we already have four movies based on Tom Clancy books all centering around Jack Ryan.
In the order they were filmed and released, they are:
- The Hunt For Red October (1990)
- Patriot Games (1992)
- Clear and Present Danger (1994)
- The Sum of All Fears (2002)
(Side note: I actually own all of those. And due to my Russia-fixation, The Hunt for Red October is my favorite of the four.)
You actually have three very solid movies in the list. Harrison Ford was probably the best Jack Ryan, but I think we can all agree The Sum of All Fears was a waste of time. Seriously? Ben Affleck? I can imagine the conversation right now between two people knocking around the idea of restarting the Ryan franchise. “Dude. It’ll be awesome. We’ll cast Ben Affleck. And we’ll take it BACK into the timeline before The Hunt For Red October! It’ll be awesome.” Then the two put down the bong and managed to go get the sucker greenlit.
It’s no secret that Hollywood’s trying to revisit the Ryan franchise. I, for one, actually don’t have a problem with this. Clancy actually has an extended body of work that involves Jack Ryan that one could use, although it becomes less believable as time goes on, as half of the Congress, most of the executive branch and a whole bunch of people get blown up and Jack Ryan becomes president, who then creates a secret organization to fight terrorists. And his kids are involved in running said organization. (Yeah, WTF, I know.) Heck, Hollywood even has the notorious Rainbow Six cashcow, which focuses on John Clark, Jack Ryan’s CIA spook buddy. It’s made an awful lot as video games, so why shouldn’t it translate more into success as a film?
Then there’s all the crap Clancy has allowed to be released under his name that’s been written by different authors.
You have a lot to work with here.
So when I started hearing rumors that various people wanted to revisit Jack Ryan but not directly use Clancy material and just use the Ryan backstory Clancy had created. And then I read this, via Ain’t It Cool News:
The plan, apparently, is to have [Sam] Raimi direct a whole series of movies focused on a Ryan even younger than Ben Affleck. The first could hit cinemas as early as summer 2010.
What the heck? What the heck happened to Jack Ryan before he runs into the Soviets that is remotely fascinating? Who cares! Isn’t part of the Jack Ryan appeal the fact that he’s a quiet CIA historian who gets muddled up in world affairs, eventually becoming deeply entrenched in the CIA? Aren’t we missing the point here?
I trust you, Sam Raimi, just not like this.
I may have to pretend that only the first three movies exist. Again.