Movies based on Tom Clancy's books, from 'The Hunt for Red October' to 'Patriot Games'

Ranks the highest and lowest scores for the Jack Ryan film series from 1990 to 2021.

At the height of his cultural popularity, Tom Clancy was synonymous with the box office and the New York Times bestseller list. From his 1984 novel "The Hunt for Red October" until his death in 2013 (subsequent novels were approved by his estate), Clancy's penchant for military accuracy helped mainstream media popularize the techno-thriller . Following the career of CIA analyst Jack Ryan, whose most popular series was the inspiration for six feature films and the titular hero's Amazon Prime Video series starring John Krasinski.

With two reboots and four actors playing Ryan (excluding Krasinski) since 1990, the film adaptation of Clancy's work is an interesting conundrum. At their best, they embody the best genre trappings of their era, while smaller offerings showcase a franchise that should have been a real success but always seemed unsure where to set its sights next.

6. Without Remorse

Amazon Studios' 2021 original film chronicles the origin story of John Clarke (Michael B. Jordan), arguably the most popular supporting character in Clancy's Ryan universe, rather than Jack Ryan , and his own spin-off novel (and Ubisoft video game series Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six). Although Clarke had major roles in Ryan's third and fourth films, Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of Fears (played by Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber, respectively), he plans to Adapting his eponymous personal novel and concepts like it languished in development hell for almost two decades. With all the time waiting, fans can't be remiss in anticipating a movie with more weight than one that experiences the action expected from a revenge thriller. So "Without Remorse" is competent enough, but it recycles well-worn tropes, played with gritty intensity rather than earning it through serious script work, as Clarke's murder of his family and his fellow Navy SEALs by Russian agents Then seek answers. The film's most recommendable feature is Jordan's performance, as he's an actor who can't seem to give it his all, but Jordan deserves a script worthy of his talents.

5. The Sum of All Fears

Jack Ryan's fourth film in the series is also a soft reboot of the first three. Ben Affleck succeeds Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin as a younger and inexperienced Ryan in a context shift from the early 1990s By 2002, the villains in the books were neo-Nazis rather than Palestinian terrorists (a very sensible change). Taken together, the sum of all fears is like a well-oiled clock. It's fast-paced, full of mystery, and always ticking, fully committed to the half-apocalyptic concept. As a bonus, it (mostly) respects what makes Hunt for Red October a great narrative: intelligence and diplomacy address potential wars, not patriotic bravado or inflicting harm on others. Affleck brings a casual but heartfelt energy to his Ryan, and it's really hard to go wrong with a cast that includes Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, and Ciaran Hinds. However, some of the nuke imagery remains suspiciously strong, and without the Jack Ryan name attached, it's barely distinguishable from similar thrillers from the early 2000s.

4. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

A second attempt at a reboot, the first entry in the series since Movie Sum, and the first screenplay not based on a Clancy novel: all these facts may explain why a disappointing box office doomed No. Second reboot. It's a shame, the way it is. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit may not bring anything new to the movie, either table, but director Kenneth Branagh's skill as a seasoned director fills in those lackluster gaps and elevates "Shadow Invited" to more than soulless popcorn fare. Pleasant degree. It's fun, snappy, and revels in classic espionage thrills, with Chris Pine always an engaging protagonist. It's also a treat to watch his eventual wife, Cathy (Keira Knightley), carry more of the narrative weight, even if she ends up being a kidnapped relative.

3. Patriot Games

Fans may know this better, since the infamous adaptation was so disloyal that Clancy wanted his name removed from the final production. Patriot Games' script certainly makes haphazard changes to its source material, but just as Branagh's direction helped Shadow Recruit's entertainment value, the cast's stellar performances cut through silly plot points. Ford made his debut as Jack Ryan, once again demonstrating the star's effortless watchability. Released in 1990, Patriot Games also featured a particularly malevolent Sean Bean, heralding his days as a villain (five years before Goldeneye). Some action sequences are also excellent, like Bean's Sean Miller chasing Kathy Ryan (Anne Archer) and daughter Sally (Thora Birch) along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge during rush hour.

2. Clear and Present Danger

On Admiral James Greer's (James Earl Jones) appointment of Lane as Acting Deputy Chief of Intelligence, poor Jack can't make it through a day. Instead, he had to unravel a complex conspiracy involving a Colombian drug cartel and U.S. presidential-level officials. Still, it's all a day's work, right? Despite the need to balance a stickier plot with several overlapping stories and multiple new characters, Clear and Present Danger is snappier, tighter-paced, and more entertaining than its Patriot Games predecessor. Ford is still in his action hero prime, and the franchise could easily continue with more installments in a different creative setting.

1. The Hunt for Red October

Sometimes, the original is a hit. Production-wise, the die-hard duo of director John McTiernan and director of photography Jan de Bont create a beautiful sense of escalation, an inescapable tension that's both character-based and scene-based. The attention to detail in recreating the claustrophobic submarine interiors while leaving enough room for cinematic equipment, not to mention dynamically lighting those drab spaces, is top-notch. The cast roll call was the best of its time (where else to find Sean Connery, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones, Scott Glenn, Tim Curry and Sterling Ron Skarsgard) together) and helps to strongly sell the no-nonsense vibe. Ryan's (Alec Baldwin) insightful eye pays off with learning and keen insight, and promotes the hope that there will always be respectable people in this world, even if they're on the other side of the Cold War. At the heart of Red October is the belief that people in hostile nations have enough empathy to share a love of peaceful, quiet, simple fishing. Behind all of the series' outlandish spy shenanigans, car chases and shootouts, is the human dream of peace that is painful.

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