Amazon original series Jack Ryan may have been flying under your radar for a little while now, but, with the second season now out in the wild, it’s a great time to sink your teeth into this thriller. It also stars John Krasinski – who you probably know from his role as Jim in The Office (US) – which as good a reason as any.
It’s certainly not the first time the character has been blasted onto screens, either, with bigwig actors like Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine stepping into his shoes over the years across a number of movies, including Clear and Present Danger, The Hunt for Red October, The Sum of All Fears, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and more.
Based on the character created by renowned American author, Tom Clancy, Jack Ryan is a mild-mannered CIA analyst hot on the tail of a terrorist organisation with links to ISIS. After tracking down its key players by identifying a string of suspicious bank transfers, the desk jockey is thrown into action and uses his military background to kick a lot of ass. By season 2, Jack blossoms into a full-blown agent rather than an analyst, throwing himself into some absolutely massive action.
After binging a fair bit, I’m pretty invested in the story, so here are five reasons you should give it a go yourself.
1. Clancy knows his shit
Tom Clancy’s books contain a huge amount of detail around espionage and military science, despite never having any formal training in anything close to the subject matter. His works have inspired tons of movies, TV shows and video games, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider that the man has published around 20 books, 17 of which became best-sellers.
While a lot of the adapted material simply uses the ideas or characters in the books rather than the narratives themselves, it’s safe to say that series like Jack Ryan stay true to the original subject matter.
What I’m saying here is that Clancy’s flavour of espionage-thriller is authentic as hell, and this certainly carries over into both seasons of Jack Ryan.
2. There’s an element of realism
I’m not saying it’s identical to real life, but the team behind Jack Ryan are certainly aiming for a more realistic version of what goes into taking down modern terrorist groups.
The series starts out with Jack simply trawling through suss transaction before anything ever kicks off, and this is pretty well true in the real world, too. It isn’t all helicopters and grenades, it’s folks looking at data for clues and leads. Intelligence is an important aspect of the story, even if a lot of it is pretty mundane.
And when the action does hit, it’s just as real. In fact, creators Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland consulted with Navy Seals and military armourers for everything from ammunition to explosives, so the authenticity is on-point, folks.
During the second season, Jack heads to Venezuela to investigate a political crisis that mirrors real-life, which certainly adds to the already heavy dose of realism. The series also touches on some other real-world events like the illegal arms trade and US tensions with Russia.
3. It’s produced by Michael Bay
When things do take on more of a Hollywood feel, they certainly go off with a boom, partly because action movie guru Michael Bay is serving as a producer on the show.
For those who may not know, old mate Bay is responsible for some of the biggest blockbusters this side of 1995, particularly when it comes to big-ass explosions and special effects. Some of his biggest flicks include Bad Boys, The Rock, Pearl Harbour, Armageddon, the Transformers movie series and more.
4. It offers different perspectives
Jack Ryan shows situations from a number of angles, which helps the viewer contextualise its conflict on a global level.
Apart from Jack and his colleagues at the CIA, we also get a glimpse into the life of an emotionally tortured drone pilot and the innocent wife and children of a terrorist leader, allowing the viewer a chance to empathise with the opposing forces and why they do the horrible things they do.
5. It’s John fucking Krasinski
I mean, what can’t the bloke do at this point? From playing Jim in The Office to avoiding terrifying monsters in A Quiet Place, Krasinski has become quite the versatile star, with Jack Ryan taking him to an entirely new place.
While he might start out as a mild-mannered analyst, by season 2, Jack’s a goddamn force to be reckoned with. Whether it’s getting into thrilling car chases or hanging out of a helicopter with a gun, Krasinski turns Jack Ryan into an action hero.Image: Amazon