Tom Clancy passed away at the too-young age of 66. I enjoyed his thriller novels as a kid and I was a fan of the movie adaptations of his Jack Ryan novels.
The first was The Hunt for Red October starring Alec Baldwin in the lead. Set in the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., Sean Connery plays a Soviet submarine captain heading straight for America. The thrills mount as we wonder if he's trying to defect or if he's a madman trying to star World War III. Directed by John McTiernan, many argue that it's the best of bunch.
Personally, my favorites are the two that starred Harrison Ford. In Patriot Games, Jack Ryan battles I.R.A. assassins. The tale, directed by Phillip Noyce, is packed with action, motivated by revenge, and loaded with great performances by Sean Bean, Ann Archer, Thora Birch, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Earl Jones.
In Clear and Present Danger, again directed by Noyce, Ford's Ryan jumps into a battle against a Colombian drug cartel. He's joined by another great Tom Clancy character, John Clark, played perfectly by Willem Dafoe.
The Sum of All Fears tried to reboot the franchise with a younger Ben Affleck in the starring role. In this story, Ryan attempts to thwart a terrorist plot to set off a nuclear device in a stadium. The new cast included James Cromwell and Morgan Freeman.
Another reboot is in the works, titled Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. This time, Chris Pine plays Jack Ryan, again battling terrorists. It's directed by Kenneth Branagh, so I have high hopes.
Rest in peace, Mr. Clancy.
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