Tag Archives: Harrison Ford

Jack Ryan: Shadow Reboot

Tom Clancy,  who created truckloads of novels filled with political and military fiction–as well as several video games that I know nothing about, died last week.  He left behind a legacy of practically inventing a genre of fiction, or at least reinventing it. Adaptations of his work breathed newSean Connery, Alec Baldwin and Scott Glenn life into movies about espionage and government conspiracies. Like his books, the best and worst of these films often featured Jack Ryan.

Billed as the thinking man’s James Bond: the character of  CIA analyst Jack Ryan, as portrayed by future comedian Alec Baldwin, first appears on screen in the submarine cold war epic The Hunt for Red October. The movie, about a Soviet defector played by Sean Connery (sounding quite Scottish rather than Russian) and his experimental submarine, finds Ryan a great negotiator and reluctant action hero.

Harrison Ford took Jack Ryan to the next level in Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games.  Adding his signature scowl, Ford’sford Ryan gets quite a bit more physical while enhancing the cerebral nature of the character.   This work in my opinion is completely undone by future Batman Ben Affleck.

In a reboot of the series, The Sum of All Fears shows Jack Ryan recruited to the CIA by Morgan Freeman. We see Affleck play Ryan as uncertain of himself and out of his element. The origin story, however, doesn’t seem to get off the ground. Preventing a terrorist attack on American soil while trying to understand the world of high stakes espionage and keeping the details from his new wife– it just seems like too much for Affleck to handle… because it is.

This week saw the release of the trailer for a new Jack Ryan reboot. Hot off of Star Trek: Into Darkness, Chris Pine has stepped into yet another role established by someone else. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is more than a reboot, it is a wholly original script pulling little to nothing from the source material. The trailer suggests the departure from any existing Jack Ryan property  and the conversion to full action film. Also it appears Jack Ryan gets younger with every reboot.


I will do my best to reserve judgment until I see the film, but it may have been better to let this character die with his creator.


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Harrison Ford Gets Expendable

Grauman's Chinese TheatreSure the plot of the first two Expendables films was as incoherent as director/star Sylvester Stalone singing Tip Toe Through the Tulips with a mouthful of jaw breakers, but the idea was solid enough; jam as many aging action stars as you into an explosion-packed shoot ’em up and market it to 30 somethings who grew up watching these actors kick, stab and shoot the bad guys. The box office bank, of course, guaranteed the sequel, and the sequel guaranteed even more dried up old anti-heroes blowing up the baddies played by other old actioners.

While it seemed amazing to see Arnold Schwarzenegger share the screen with Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham, the novelty wears off pretty quickly. Honestly, I only watched the second film for the inside jokes, the highlight of which is Chuck Norris tossing out references to his Internet fandom. I was really surprised to learn that the threequel had been greenlit.

Adding to its already ridiculously overcrowded stable with the likes of straight to video king Steven Seagal and recent parolee Wesley Snipes, Expendables 3 is due in 2014. We learned this week, however, that the film will have to go on without the likes of Bruce Willis. Series creator Stalone announced on Twitter that Willis was “greedy and lazy” and had been released from the project. I wonder if perhaps Rocky discovered that John McLane could actually act.

Moments after announcing the ouster of Willis, Stallone made another announcement; he welcomed Harrison Ford into the Expendables fold. I will repeat that because it bears repeating–Harrison Ford will be in the freaking Expendables!! The question I keep asking myself is why?? Why would someone like Harrison Ford want to be in something as ridiculous as an Expendables sequel. Why would an actor of his caliber want to lend his gravitas to such a piece of tripe?

Sadly my answer was obvious. It was the same answer that was offered to Holly Martins in the classic film The Third Man– “For the money.” See I just made a reference to a film that probably only one person in the sure to be simply awful Expendables 3 would get. That person is Harrison Ford.

Harrison Ford is in the freaking Expendables!!!! You win, Universe

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Hail to the Fake Chiefs

On Monday we had the pleasure of witnessing one of the many things that makes our country unique and stresses to the world the greatness of democracy. The Presidential Inauguration represents a bloodless transition of power that truly makes me proud of my country, despite my feelings toward our current administration.  Audiences are flocking to see Daniel  “and the Oscar goes to” Day- Lewis in Lincoln. Bill Murray is portraying FDR in the upcoming Hyde Park on Hudson. Yes- our media in every format is buzzing about presidents both real and fictional.

With all of this in mind (and because I am on vacation this week), I present my favorite actors portraying fictional presidents:


John Travolta Primary Colors:image property of Universal Studios

Sure the character’s name is Stanton and not Clinton, but this one is almost too close to reality for comfort. Travolta’s southern good ole’ boy with a weakness for fried foods and the ladies screams Bill Clinton in every possible way. Primary Colors is probably as close to a portrayal of our 42nd president we will ever see. Travolta gets all of those Clintonesque gestures and voice inflections just right, while highlighting the empathy and powerful public speaking ability of the man.





Harrison Ford Air Force One:image property of Columbia Pictures

So Jack Ryan got elected president, and hijackers led by Gary Oldman are trying to take over his plane while the first family is on board. This outrageous and fantastic plot reads more like Die Hard. The story centers on the idea that a president with “Military experience” has intimate enough knowledge on the inner workings of an airliner to foil a terrorist plot.






James Garner/Jack Lemon My Fellow Americans:image property of Warner Bros.

So Jack Lemon, a Republican, was president until James Garner, a Democrat,  ran against him. James Garner was president until he was beaten out by Dan Aykroyd. When both Lemon and Garner are framed for a murder, they are forced to go on the run together. This anti-buddy comedy sought to capitalize on the highly successful Grumpy Old Men. With their accounts frozen and the free world they used to serve hunting their famous faces, the two rivals must work together to clear their names, and stay alive.











Peter Sellers Dr Strangelove:image property of columbia pictures

Sellers plays the doveish, rather-emasculated President Merkin Muffley. Of all the characters on this list Muffley is the one you would least want in office during a nuclear war. Maybe that was Kuberick’s point.  His bald head and effete manner suggest  liberal presidential aspirant Adlai Stevenson, though Stanley Kubrick’s satire is equally contemptuous of the hawkish faction represented by George C. Scott’s General Turgidson. Sellers plays his president with restraint. If you are expecting the overt and physical comedy of The Pink Panther you may be disappointed.




Bill Pullman Independence day:image property of 20th century fox

Aliens attack, not the undocumented kind, the flying saucer kind. Aliens kill first lady, and others. Young untested president pilots a fighter jet to destroy aliens and save the planet. Nothing more needs to be said.

There you have it a Mount Rushmore plus 1 of fictional commanders in Chief.



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