Blu-ray Review: Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan – The Complete Series

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story

Jack Ryan 2

Much like James Bond, Jack Ryan has been portrayed by many great actors, each bringing their own unique take to the character that – again, like Bond – leave audiences with different rankings on who their favourite may be. It began in 1990 with Alec Baldwin taking on the role for The Hunt For Red October, though Baldwin and Paramount parted ways due to a dispute, which left the door open for Harrison Ford to take on the part in 1992’s Patriot Games and 1994’s Clear And Present Danger. It’d be almost a decade before Dr. Ryan would be seen on the silver screen again, next played by Ben Affleck in 2002’s The Sum of All  Fears, and then it’d be over a decade before Chris Pine would join the CIA in 2014’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which didn’t exactly set the box-office ablaze, leaving Jack Ryan on the shelf for the foreseeable future.

Jump ahead just four years this time and it was decided that it may be time to take a different approach to everyone’s favourite CIA analyst and bring him to life on the small screen. The series was made on Amazon Prime and debuted in 2018, with John Krasinski taking on the part of Jack Ryan, in what is best described as a modern reimagining of the characters from the Tom Clancy books. The series ran for four seasons, with the final season finishing up in 2023. For those who may not subscribe to Amazon Prime, simply haven’t checked out the show, or were potentially dissuade after the misfires of the more recent Ryan films, then you’re in luck as the entire series is now available on Blu-ray – but is it worth picking up?

In short: yes, thanks for reading! In all seriousness though, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is a fast-paced and highly entertaining series that hits all the right action-packed and conspiracy filled notes, all while never overstaying its welcome. The first three seasons are eight episodes each, while the final season contains six (we’ll touch more on that one later), so you’re often thrown right into the middle of things, but never left in one place long enough where you feel like the show is treading water, which is a danger that some shows face when they have to hit the 13-episode mark.

While there’s somewhat of an overarching story being told over the course of the show, each season has its own threat that Jack must face, each with its own unique take on how he has to go about doing so. While the core of the show is Jack using his skills as both an analyst and a former U.S. Marine to figure out how to potentially stop whatever evil threatens the world, no two seasons feel similar enough to make audiences think, “Didn’t we just see this last time?”

Season one is a top tier origin season, with Jack starting out at a desk crunching numbers, only to be the one who uncovers suspicious bank transfers that lead him out into the field to try and stop a rising threat by an Islamic extremist. This season also introduces us to James Grier (Wendell Pierce), Ryan’s boss in T-FAD (Terrorism finance and banking), as well as Cathy Mueller (Abbie Cornish), who is Ryan’s main love interest (even though she disappears for season two and three without any real explanation.) As a whole this is a fantastic season of television (and arguably the best in the series), with loads of high-stakes drama that’s packed with emotion and tension throughout.

The second season changes things up slightly, putting Jack in Venezuela and focusing more on creating a spy-centric season. There’s still plenty of action an intensity here, but the change from there being a moral grey area is overtaken with a much more straight-forward big bad with the President of Venezuela having his own agenda and the threat of nuclear war being potentially imminent if left unchecked. Ryan and Grier are joined by my favourite supporting character on the show, Mike November, played by Michael Kelly, who is always a joy to see on the screen.

Season three is my personal favourite of the series, with Jack being forced to go rogue in order to stop a secret plan to restore the Soviet Empire. I’ll just put it out there now that if there’s a show or movie franchise that eventually sees the hero go rogue in order to complete their mission, it’d have to be done pretty poorly for it not to be near or at the top of my favourites list. There’s just something about being cut off from all support, knowing you’re doing the right thing even though it means you’ll be hunted by your own government for doing so that I just can’t get enough of. I’ll scream at the TV (often in my head, but sometimes quite literally) when the higher-ups in the government are spending more time trying to stop the hero than they are trying to figure out a way to stop the threat, which simply means the show or movie is doing its job. The third season of Jack Ryan is full of that, as well as a returning Mike November, who isn’t one to play by the rules and is all for helping an on-the-run Jack. Hell yeah!

Then there’s the final season, which is good, but definitely the weakest of the four. It does close out the series, so if you do purchase this box set there’s a story to completion, which is always a bonus in these days of cancellations happening on a whim and shows just being left with no real ending. The highlight of the season is the introduction of Domingo Chavez (a fan favourite from the books) played by Michael Peña. Chavez a badass, and it’s awesome watching him alongside November. I’m not sure why (and can’t seem to find an exact answer) but there are only six episodes instead of eight like the previous seasons, and that’s part of the issue.

Things build up nicely at the start, but this season suffers from the opposite of treading water as once episode four finishes, episode five just throws everything onto the table so they can wrap it up in six. It actually feels as though they got a call saying that they have to go from eight to six and what remains is their solution, as for a show that’s built off of slowly unraveling conspiracies or terrorist threats, this season feels like it just has the threat reveal itself in a fashion that just comes off somewhat jarring. Again, it’s not bad, but just being good after an incredibly solid trio of seasons prior is an unfortunate way to close out the series.

Despite a slight stumble at the finish line, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is must-see TV for fans of the spy and/or action genre, as it really covers all the bases in terms of a plethora of locales, unique threats, wonderful set pieces, high-tension drama, explosive action, and some great characters brought to life by fantastic actors across the board.

Blu-ray Video and Audio Review:

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan delivers as strongly on the audio and video side of things as it does on the entertainment front, with a superb 1080p transfer that shines throughout the majority of the series, with only a few noisier moments in some of the darker scenes earlier on; but even then it’s not distracting and doesn’t take away from the moment. The details on the clothes, characters and their surroundings are as sharp as you can get from a Blu-ray offering, and for most it’ll be more than enough. Everything has a natural look, as even though this show has blockbuster elements within in, it’s still meant to be set a bit more in reality than not. Explosions look fantastic, and there’s a grit to the series that elevates it and sets the tone nicely.

On the audio side of things we’ve got an outstanding Dolby Atmos soundtrack that will rock your room, or fill it with ambient sounds in the quieter, more dialogue-centric scenes. Speaking of, the dialogue is clean and clear, while the show’s score fills the room when needed, while hiding subtly in the background when required. This is a show that will rock the room you’re watching it in if your system will allow for it, so prepare yourself for a blockbuster espionage experience and Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan will quite literally rock your world.

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes – I won’t get into each individual deleted scene, as I’m personally not a big fan of them. As I’ve mentioned before they’re often cut for a reason, but if you enjoy seeing what didn’t make the show then there are a number of deleted scenes throughout the series that can be enjoyed. Unfortunately, that’s all we get from the series, as it would’ve been nice to have had some behind-the-scenes footage, but what can you do.

Paramount Pictures Presents Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan – The Complete Series. Created by: Carlton Cuse, Graham Roland. Starring: John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce, Michael Kelly, Abbie Cornish, Betty Gabriel, Michael Peña, Noomi Rapace. Running time: 24 Hours 38 Minutes. Rating: 14A. Released on Blu-ray: April 16, 2024.

Brendan Campbell was here when Inside Pulse Movies began, and he’ll be here when it finishes - in 2012, when a cataclysmic event wipes out the servers, as well as everyone else on the planet other than John Cusack and those close to him. Brendan’s the #1 supporter of Keanu Reeves, a huge fan of popcorn flicks and a firm believer that sheer entertainment can take a film a long way. He currently resides in Canada, where, for reasons stated above, he’s attempting to get closer to John Cusack.