For fans of the character of Jack Ryan, the news that the hero will be back – teased in the Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit trailer – is like a Christmas gift. For those very fans of the Tom Clancy-crafted hero, a real holiday gift should be the recently released The Jack Ryan Collection on DVD and Blu-Ray.
The package contains all four films that featured the Ryan character: The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears. That’s three Jack Ryans for ya, with Alec Baldwin first, Harrison Ford most famously second, and Ben Affleck third.
The set starts with the first to hit theaters, The Hunt for Red October. After all these years, it’s fascinating to hear the audio commentary by director John McTiernan that is a can’t-miss for fans of the series. Also compelling is the Beneath the Surface featurette that features never-before-seen interviews with the cast and crew, including Connery and Baldwin. Then, for nostalgia’s sake, The Hunt for Red October theatrical trailer is included. That is a very nice touch.
Patriot Games arrived and introduced the world to Jack Ryan as embodied by Ford. There is no audio commentary, which is unfortunate. But, there are cast and crew interviews in the bonus featurette Patriot Games Up Close. Looking back at Ford with his first time out as Ryan, it’s an interesting look at capturing a character, especially after what we heard from Baldwin in the previous title's bonus feature. And the inclusion of the Patriot Games theatrical trailer is also a treat.
Clear and Present Danger (one of our Top 10 Harrison Ford movies) had Ryan tackling the drug war and put him front and center on the front lines. Behind the Danger is a terrific feature that features the entire cast and crew talking about their thriller. It’s a study in character growth to see Ford talking about the Ryan role, with this film being his second time walking in the man’s shoes.
Lastly, The Sum of All Fears closes out the set by introducing Affleck (who would one day take over another iconic role… Batman). The film is probably the least known of the four Jack Ryan features, but it is no less thrilling. The addition of Morgan Freeman to any cast is never a bad thing and he goes toe-to-toe with Affleck throughout to craft a different feeling Ryan film.
The Sum of All Fears disc does include an audio commentary by director Phil Alden Robinson, as well as cinematographer John Lindley. And in what is perhaps the best bonus feature of the entire set, there is an audio commentary track by Robinson and Tom Clancy himself! With the author’s passing this past year, it is a priceless chance to see him talk about one of his most beloved characters.
The Sum of All Fears also features the most extensive bonus content of all four discs. The Making of The Sum of All Fears featurette is especially interesting because of the threat of a nuclear bomb going off in Baltimore, and we get to see how the filmmakers managed to achieve that horrific vision. On that note, the Creating Reality: The Visual Effects of The Sum of All Fears explores that horrific scene and much more.