But that's a rant for another time.
The topic here is the Shadow Recruit movie. My confusion was brought about because I couldn't figure out WHICH Jack Ryan character the producers were trying to feature. For those of you not familiar with Clancy's books, there are two (count'em two) Jack Ryans. The first is Clancy's original hero (played first by Alec Baldwin and then by Harrison Ford) who as we know from "The Hunt for Red October" is a graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and was commissioned as a Marine second lieutenant after suffering, while he was a midshipman, a debilitating chopper accident which, it is implied, prevents him from entering on active duty. Thus, in "Red October" he is a civilian CIA analyst specializing in the Soviet Navy who evolves (starting in this and continuing in subsequent tales) into an operator/analyst, and then rises (in still later books) through the intelligence community's chain of command, eventually becoming President of the United States. Along the way he fathers a daughter, Sally, and a son, John Patrick Ryan Jr., with his eye surgeon wife, Kathy.
Now, shift your focus to the Jack Ryan, the CIA recruit. This guy is also a Marine, but becomes one by leaving a doctoral program at Princeton in order to join The Corps after the 9/11 attacks. He is also a lieutenant and suffers from severe wounds received when his chopper is brought down by what appears to be an RPG in the mountains of Afghanistan. During his recovery, he meets and is attracted to a young woman intern named Cathy who, after her residency and helping with Jack's physical therapy, apparently becomes an eye doctor. Jack is then approached by CIA to go back to Princeton to finish his PhD in order to become a financial analyst for them. This, of course, doesn't last long because Jack soon discovers financial fooling around/market manipulation by the Russians that requires him to go to Russia and negotiate with them which, in itself, places him in harm's way. Thus, he becomes an operator just as the other Jack Ryan did when in "Red October" he was sent out to contact the Russian submarine Captain and negotiate his defection. Meanwhile, Jack and Cathy appear to have become engaged or maybe engaged to be engaged but, at any rate, they are sleeping together and she subsequently gets involved in the shoot'em up part of the plot after having been made aware of Jack's previously very secret association with CIA.
So, here I am, having seen the movie's trailer, embarked on the self imposed fool's errand of trying to determine which Jack I would be watching and it turns out, I think, that the answer is both and neither. At first, I thought that the movie might be a follow-on (not a sequel) to the Clancy books, but featuring Jack Ryan Jr. as the hero. That kind of made sense from a time frame point of view, but Clancy had previously written a book starring Jack Ryan Jr. where he was already in an operational role, and thus that option was foreclosed. Then, I thought "...well maybe it will be a 'prequel'...", but that would have placed it in time when the USSR still existed--a story line that is, clearly in today's world, a non-starter. Lastly, I thought maybe they will use movie magic to place Clancy's first hero, the senior Jack Ryan, into another, more up-to-date, time and place. But the lack of the Annapolis connection and the addition of the Princeton PhD argue against that interpretation as not being true to the original character.
In the end, I believe that when the producers said the character was "based" on those created by Tom Clancy, what they meant was they took the name and not too much else, except that the hero is a former "Jarhead", was seriously injured at some point, and hangs out with an optician named Cathy or Kathy. Thus my search for which Ryan they were portraying was a stupid exercise on my part because it was never going to bear fruit. In the words of today's youth, "My Bad".
OBTW I don't know if the movie guys are planning one or more sequels to this picture, but if this is the competition, Clancy's place at the top of the heap among people who produce spy thrillers, in either book or movie form, is secure. This one just doesn't make it.
But, at least, after having explained my quest as I did above, I find I'm no longer confused. Or, more likely, I just don't care any more.