I usually do not watch macho American CIA-guy-saves-the-world thriller movies or TV series. I was turned off largely forever to the genre by the Fox series “24” with Kiefer Sutherland — the critical reception of which, inexplicably, was overwhelmingly positive despite it glamorizing torture.
Thus I’ve resisted watching the Amazon Studios production of Jack Ryan, the thriller starring John Krasinski as the eponymous action hero star of the series.
But I’m in one of those weird in-between times for cord cutters. I’ve finished all the episodic TV series I watch most. I’m waiting for others to start an additional season.
So I started Jack Ryan mostly because I have a soft spot of Krasinski and I was bored at home on my sofa.
It’s pretty standard fare, and it misses some of the worst low points of 24.
For one thing, there are lots of Muslims in the series, but they are not all bad guys. In fact, a lot of the Muslim characters are employed matter-of-factly by the CIA and the military, including co-star Wendell Pierce as Ryan’s boss and fellow action hero James Greer.
It all still feels formulaic — pure-hearted American war hero against corrupt politicians, a timid national security bureaucracy and a slew of foreign bad guys. But Krasinski is likeable enough to pull it off, as is Pierce’s James Greer. The supporting cast does well with some pretty thin dialogue.
Then it all fell apart so spectacularly in the end of the second season that I’m leaving the series (with only two seasons thus far) with a really bad taste in my mouth.
I don’t want to give away too much, but suffice it to say that a gaggle of CIA spies (including Ryan) invade Venezuela’s presidential palace with a helicopter, machine guns blasting, during which one of them decks the president of Venezuela in that country’s version of the Oval Office.
What’s even dumber is that nobody prior to the shootings of these scenes said, “Well, I’m sure this feels good on an us-vs.-them level, but is it realistic?”
Do better in Season Three, Jack Ryan.