Krasinski shows off his action-hero chops in ‘Jack Ryan’

August 23, 2018

Wendell Pierce, left, and John Krasinski in "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" (2018).

When I read that John Krasinski was going to play Jack Ryan, a role played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine, I admit that I snickered. I just didn’t see how Krasinski, best known as nice guy Jim from “The Office,” could play an action hero.

But it turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong about Krasinski. Surrounded by great writers, outstanding direction and fantastic scenery in the new Amazon Prime Video series “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” Krasinksi shows he’s a great action hero that might just make you forget all about those other Jack Ryans.

When we first meet the hero, Jack, he’s nowhere close to the guy we know yet. In fact, he’s just a lowly analyst at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, tracking possible terrorist financial transactions in Yemen. That is, until his new boss, James Greer (Wendell Pierce) arrives. Greer comes to Langley under mysterious circumstances, having been given a substantial demotion.

Jack decides to share his theory about a transaction he’s been tracking with Greer, immediately starting him off on the wrong foot with his new superior. But when Jack’s discovery turns out to be something major, he and Greer are dispatched to Yemen, where they end up in a whole heap of trouble that keeps Jack out of his Langley cubicle a lot longer than he anticipated.

The pilot episode starts out a little slow as it introduces a lot of characters and a lot of story in two different countries. But the last 10 minutes are all pulse-pounding action, both beautifully shot and choreographed as it powerfully sets up the seven remaining episodes of the first season. The story is strong and the cast is even stronger, led by Krasinski, who not only masters being an action hero, but also nails the charming leading man as well. Pierce, who I adored in “The Michael J. Fox Show,” is a great foil for Kra-sinski’s do-gooder Jack.

“Ryan” is exactly the kind of smart, sophisticated action drama we’ve been missing since the original “24″ went off the air. And Amazon knows it as they’ve already renewed the show for a second season, when Ironton native Mickey Fisher comes aboard as a consulting producer and writer.

“Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” premieres Aug. 31 on Amazon Prime Video. Please note the series features strong language and some graphic violence.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at ahenderson-bent-ley@hotmail.com.

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