John Krasinski returns as the Tom Clancy created CIA analyst turned action hero, Jack Ryan in the second season of the addictive and smart series from Paramount Pictures. The blu-ray which arrives today is a two disc set that contains all eight episodes of the Amazon Prime aired show.
Sleek, beautifully shot (stunning transferred to blu-ray) the series picks up not long after the events of the first season and sees Ryan heading to Venezuela, which is turning into a political hotbed. Rich in resources, the country itself forces its people to live in strife, while the ‘elected’ Reyes (Jordi Molla) is making secret arms deals with the Russians, presenting a clear and present danger to U.S. interests.
Joining Ryan is the familiar character of Jim Greer (Wendell Pierce), as well as an array of new characters that keep the story moving at a brilliant, binge-worthy pace. Noomi Rapace turns in a performance as Harriet Baumann that is great, and wonderfully manipulative of Krasinski’s Ryan, but it doesn’t have as much impact as it could because of the notable absence of Cathy Mueller (Abbie Cornish), who as Ryan fans know, becomes Jack’s wife… but she’s no where in sight for the entire season. A misstep, because it would have shaded the character with a little more grey as it would have given the character a moral dilemma to wrestle with while everything else was happening around him.
Another misstep is the fact that despite the beautiful images and sound of the blu-ray, there are no special features of worth. There are a couple of deleted scenes but nothing else. There must, by this time, be a dearth of information and behind the scenes footage that could have been incorporated. Say, a feature length doc on the character himself, tracking his journey from the pages of the techno-thriller, to the big-screen, to a television series, not to mention the calibre of actors who have played him. Or how they broke the season, the story, and other interesting tidbits. Gimme something, please!
Having said that, I still love this set, I will happily binge this highly enjoyable series as long as they keep making it. Krasinski is at ease in the role of Ryan and brings him to life in a way that none of the previous actors have, making the character very much his own.
But that doesn’t mean the character, series, and writers have forgotten from whence Jack Ryan and his adventures have come. In fact there are a number of moments that may be familiar to those who have read the novels, or the films.
I recall fondly getting each Clancy book as it was released, it would always be tied in with a birthday or Christmas, and then I would be lugging around a thick hardcover novel in my school backpack, working my way through the descriptors, the politics and the action, bringing it all to life in my mind’s eye.
I feel that Krasinski was the same way, and I think he translates that love and passion of the character and the situations Clancy created for him into his version of Jack Ryan. He has layered the character with humour, pathos, and the final shot of the season two opener told me, once again, that he gets it, and he IS Jack Ryan.
The series is definitely a must for Clancy fans, and the blu-ray is a great addition to any techo-thriller lovers collection.
Jack Ryan: Season Two is available now on blu-ray from Paramount Pictures.