I loved “Hunt for Red October,” the first Jack Ryan movie. Alec Baldwin is a fine actor who filled the role nicely, and it had Sean Connery as the best Scottish-accented Soviet sub commander, and also Fred Thompson who smoked cigarettes and said things with flat dismay. A great movie. The subsequent movies had Indiana Jones as Jack Ryan, right? Were there others? Doesn’t quite matter – the character isn’t rooted in a particular actor, and doesn’t have many attributes aside from “CIA data dude who can also shoot people in the head if need be.” Amazon made a Jack Ryan series a few years ago, starring Jim from “The Office” and Bunk from “The Wire,” and it was pretty good: the Islamist terrorist was the bad guy, not a front for a shadowy group of businessmen fronted by Jon Voight, as happened all the time in “24.”
This new season is taking some flak for its rearrangement of reality: it’s set in Venezuela, which is run by a sleek, manicured dude named Nicholas who is . . . a nationalist! Heavy right-wing vibes. His domestic political opponent is . . . a Social Justice candidate! The young kids who are opposed to the government are described by one exasperated character as “leftists.” In other words: Bizarro World.
It has an unintended message: nationalist right-wing Venezuela seems much more prosperous than the socialist real-world version; the lights are on at night, no one looks hungry, the bars are full. Oh, there are lines, but no one’s turning over dumpsters for dinner. And the “social justice” candidate and her handlers believe they can win the upcoming election, as opposed to the actual Venezuelan election situation. So it’s not a police state with roving armed bands imposing the state’s authority.
In other words, the writers looked at actual Venezuela, and said “boring. Needs to be recast along the lines of a Mission: Impossible episode.”
Had a conversation with a liberal friend about the matter, and he wondered if it was ignorance of reality, or intentional. I suggested it was intentional. Now I wonder if it’s both, because in the 3rd episode, Jack Ryan is dismissing the possibility that the local socialist terrorist group could have mounted an operation against a US Senator. And I quote:
“The FLA is a tiny leftist militia. Anti-Americanism isn’t in their DNA.”
It’s impossible to write that line without assuming utter ignorance on the part of the audience. Utter, total, complete, historical ignorance.Published in