Who Played It Best? Jack Ryan
I feel Jack Ryan as a character isn't as well known as other spies in popular culture. It's true, he doesn't carry the same weight as James Bond or Ethan Hunt or Jason Bourne or Jack Bauer. Honestly, I am okay with that. I have never read any Tom Clancy novels, but my dad sure has. In listening to my dad discuss the novel-version of Jack Ryan, its clear he was never this larger-than-life superspy. Yet Hollywood has tried time and time again to make him that larger-than-life superspy? Why? Because that is the Hollywood way. I bet it drives die-hard Clancy fans up a wall as well. Even so, the character has been apart of the movie canon since the early 1990's, and the character has been played by four separate actors now. Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine have all taken a stab at the Jack Ryan character, now its time to figure out who played it best.
My Two Cents
For me, this comes down to Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford. I am mostly leaning toward Baldwin because "The Hunt For Red October" is the best Jack Ryan movie of all time, so I have a huge bias. But its more than just blind baggage. In the Clancy books, Jack Ryan was never a field agent, he barely carried a gun if he ever did. Ryan was a CIA analyst, and his true character comes out in Baldwin's hands. Sure, a lot of that success comes from the writing, but if there is not a good actor to command the role, all the great writing in the world does nothing. Chris Pine and Ben Affleck in particular are immediately cut from the running for me, simply because their versions of Ryan was all action hero, mere Bond knock-offs. Both actors also failed to enlighten or convince me that their interpretations mattered. While Ford's go at the character isn't quite as broad, I still feel Baldwin did the best job with the character. He also did the best job of creating an authentic Jack Ryan. For these reasons, I am giving the edge to Alec Baldwin.
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comment section below. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will have until next Wednesday to vote for your favorite Jack Ryan portrayal.
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