The first season of Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” is finally here, with John Krasinski being the fifth actor to take on the role. So it feels like a good time to look back at every incarnation of Jack Ryan and figure out who did it best.
5. Chris Pine
There’s a reason why nobody remembers “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” even though it only came out, like, four years ago… because it’s a really slight and unremarkable experience aside from Kenneth Branagh’s delightful Russian baddie. Pine is just kinda there.
4. John Krasinski
Jack Ryan is kind of a blank slate, generic white guy of a character, and so whether I like an actor in the role often largely depends on how good the film is that he’s in. Unfortunately for Krasinski, Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” is not good, and it drags him down with it. He’s fine, whatever.
3. Harrison Ford
It’s not hard to imagine Ford’s Jack Ryan as Indiana Jones after retiring and going straight, because that’s kinda the mode Ford is in in “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger.” It is a pleasure to watch even though it’s not overly interesting.
2. Ben Affleck
The Ben Affleck of “The Sum of All Fears” was before he solidified himself as a Serious Actor, and his turn as the “boy scout” Jack Ryan is pretty unique in his filmography. It’s fun to watch him as an un-cynical good dude.
1. Alec Baldwin
Baldwin is an actor who definitely has a type of role he usually does, and so it’s easy to forget that he didn’t always play characters who are jerks. The standard Baldwin character would be like Jack Ryan’s boss trying to keep him from taking the initiative to do the right thing, so having him as Jack Ryan himself in “The Hunt for Red October” is really fascinating. And also Baldwin just kills it.