Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series of books were a fixture in his catalog, with over a dozen of his novels devoted to the character. Tying into the recent launch of Amazon’s new live-action Jack Ryan series, Paramount Pictures released the Jack Ryan Collection, a ten-disc set that contains all five film adaptations on Blu-ray and in 4K Ultra HD.

JACK RYAN COLLECTION REVIEW

Should you purchase this anthology, you’ll obtain the following films on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD discs:

  • The Hunt for Red October (1990)
  • Patriot Games (1992)
  • Clear and Present Danger (1994)
  • The Sum of All Fears (2002)
  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

Given the gap in time between some of these films, the CIA analyst has been portrayed by four different actors, with Alec Baldwin winning the role in Red October, while Harrison Ford took over in the following two movies. Ben Affleck scored the role in The Sum of All Fears while Chris Pine caps off the series in Shadow Recruit. Seeing the four actors bring their own intricacies into the Jack Ryan character was interesting, and it was fun to compare and contrast them.

That said, Baldwin endured as the strongest take on the character. Jack Ryan, while perhaps not a complete greenhorn to field work, is at his most compelling when he’s reluctant to venture out of his comfort zone. He is, after all, an analyst, someone who is supposed to work from behind a desk. Baldwin, who was 32 at the time, brought a cherubic, milquetoast yet still fairly experienced demeanor to the role, which none of his successors achieved.

Ford, while still giving strong performances appropriate for the two somewhat more action-centric titles he starred in, commands too much presence when on-screen to efficiently portray the analytic bookworm. Affleck, meanwhile, was still growing as an actor at the time, ultimately failing to deliver a level of charisma his peers did, whereas Pine skewed closest to Ford among all of his predecessors.

Although they get progressively worse, all five thrillers cover similar subject matter, namely romance, international politics and espionage. Overall, none of the supporting cast members are all that deep, though The Hunt for Red October has the benefit of having perhaps the series’ most interesting character in Captain Marko Aleksandrovich Ramius, whose presence in the film is elevated greatly by Sean Connery’s performance. Incidentally, Red October, a period piece set in 1984, is the best film of the five, also having the distinction of being the most faithful adaptation of its corresponding Clancy novel. Shadow Recruit, the sole film not based upon a book, is the weakest, sadly approaching the levels of predictability and monotonous action found in a Jack Reacher film. 

As for special features, there are plenty of them scattered throughout the discs. However, while it is understandable that the three oldest films bear less extra features, it is somewhat disappointing as they’re the tighter films. Patriot Games suffers the most, only offering its theatrical trailer and an “Up Close” feature. Shadow Recruit, conversely, is the most bountiful in terms of extras, hosting four making-of features, a commentary track and deleted scenes that also have commentary tracks.

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