JACK RYAN” THRILLING SPY ADVENTURE; YOUTUBE DELIGHT
A TV Review by Tim Riley
“TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN” ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
As a prolific American novelist, Tom Clancy became very popular for churning out numerous books centered on espionage thrillers and military subjects, several of which became the source material for box office hits. Amazon Prime Video is now streaming the entire second season of “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” based on characters created by the noted author, and John Krasinski returns in the titular role. While Season 1 had Ryan globetrotting to the volatile Middle East and elsewhere, Season 2 introduces us to a new look for Clancy’s CIA analyst hero. Clean-shaved the first go around, now he’s got a full beard and working on Capitol Hill for Senator Jim Moreno (Benito Martinez).
To be sure, Jack Ryan started out in the first season as a desk-bound financial analyst for the CIA who uncovered a terrorist plot while working under the cantankerous James Greer (Wendell Pierce) before getting into the rough-and-tumble of espionage. With Season 2, it’s no surprise that Ryan won’t linger for long in the stuffy hallways of Congress after he tracks a potentially suspicious shipment of illegal arms in the Venezuelan jungle.Venezuela has been in the news plenty over recent years, having much to do with a succession of corrupt, tyrannical leaders, each one as odious as the other for decimating their country. Here’s looking at you, now deceased Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro.
The latest “Jack Ryan” seems very topical in many ways. Itching to get back into the fray, Ryan and his Senator boss head down to Venezuela for a “diplomatic” mission that does not go well. The president of this South American country is Nicolas Reyes (Jordi Molla), who is so patently slippery and deceitful that he’s equally cartoonish and viciously thuggish. The wonderful Andy Garcia would have also been a great choice for this role. Greer gets back in the picture when he gets sidelined from his new post in Moscow and ends up in Venezuela with Ryan just at the time President Reyes is facing a re-election campaign. Reyes has an unexpected formidable opponent in Gloria Bonalde (Crisina Umana), a real contender whose husband, a former government Minister, has suspiciously been missing for more than a year.
On a covert mission with U.S. special forces, Ryan’s intel leads them up the Orinoco River to a compound deep in the jungle that is guarded by a bunch of mercenaries where contraband is located.Before being relieved of duty in Venezuela, Ryan gets involved with mysterious Harriet “Harry” Baumann (Noomi Rapace), who might be a rogue agent but certainly knows about German hitman Max Schenkel (Tom Wlaschiha) who killed Ryan’s friend.
Ryan talks his superiors into letting him chase a lead in London to track down a shadowy figure behind the financing of arms deals, but it affords a chance for a cat-and-mouse game with the assassin Schenkel. Then it is back to Venezuela for daring missions and political intrigue that makes “Jack Ryan” Season 2 worthy of binge-watching, especially now that we can’t leave home except for groceries and medicine.
An unanswered question is where will the next season take us on another thrilling adventure. Season 2 ends with a hint that there could be more corruption to be uncovered either at home or in connection with what was left behind in Venezuela.
BROADWAY ON YOUTUBE
Just like any other entertainment venue that would draw a crowd, New York’s Broadway theatres are closed for business at least until the middle of April but probably longer given the Big Apple’s notoriety as the nation’s current hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic. Good news comes in the form of theater-loving audiences having another way to enjoy a show from home while theatres remain dark. London’s National Theatre will stream live productions for free on its YouTube channel.
Beginning on April 2nd, the inaugural broadcast will be Richard Bean’s hilarious slapstick comedy “One Man, Two Guvnors,” starring James Corden, who took home a Tony Award when the show transferred from London to Broadway. “One Man, Two Guvnors,” similar to other productions to follow, will screen every Thursday at 11 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time and then remain available for seven days. The Playbill website provided this helpful link: www.youtube.com/user/ntdiscovertheatre
Here in the United States, James Corden is probably best known for taking over from Craig Ferguson a late-night television talk show that is now titled “The Late Late Show with James Corden” on CBS. Eight years ago, I was fortunate to have been in New York and caught “One Man, Two Guvnors,” which is without any doubt one of the wildest, gut-busting hilarious comedy productions ever produced on Broadway, and I say this as a fan of the genre with no hesitation.
Nothing really beats seeing this type of production live on stage in front of an appreciative audience. Not sure how it will play out on television, but it is definitely worth giving a try, and I will hope to relive the joy once experienced in person.