Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan S03 – From Budapest With Love

SERIES REVIEW – Tom Clancy, the master of Cold War thrillers, is back as a CIA spy in the third season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, starring John Krasinski. Launched on Amazon Prime in 2018, the spy thriller series takes us into a fully updated, solid, highly suspenseful, action-packed and twisty story set against the backdrop of the current Russian-Ukrainian war, with former KGB and current USSR agents and Soviet soldiers atoning for their youthful sins, as they see it, corrupt and anti-corruption Eastern European politicians and the CIA’s not-so-clean leaders are trying to take down Jack Ryan and his friends and allies with iron fire, fighting for nothing less than the possible outbreak of World War III.



John Krasinski has been a Hollywood movie star for some time. The actor has come a long way since his days in The Office. He now has a horror franchise under his belt, a comic book character in the Marvel universe and a successful spy series with several seasons under his belt. In the third season of Jack Ryan, the smooth, detached and “effortless” (strictly Michael Scott’s words) guy who bagged the receptionist in The Office becomes the muscular, simultaneously reckless and intelligent Jack Ryan, the CIA’s only hope of avoiding all-out war between the US and Russia.

While the series is once again top-notch entertainment, season three is a bit of a departure from the more realistic events of the previous seasons, with action sequences and car chases reminiscent of James Bond movies, and a more predictable conclusion than the first two seasons. However, the third season of Jack Ryan is still one of the best spy thrillers, beating the last James Bond film, which was dull and syrupy.



“Budapest, Budapest, you wonderful…”


If we didn’t bother with plot, we’d find plenty of it on a European cruise. The best parts of the continent are definitely there for us to see. While Ryan chases the mysterious former Soviet Cold War project Sokol across the continent, he passes through cities like Rome, Prague. Still, we also meet our Budapest through several parts, the most expensive restaurant in Pest called Felix, where in reality Fidesz politicians eat often from taxpayers money. In the series, it is a meeting place for the Russian mafia and the SZVR. Reality and fiction are not far apart in this, are they?

To be serious, the narrative elements of the season, while not a one-to-one portrayal of Hungarian and Eastern European corruption, and the various local heads of state are fictional, are nonetheless reminiscent of the insidious political mess in which Eastern Europe is currently mired. We are all familiar, for example, with the great tension between heads of state, and the Jack Ryan writers do a great job of bringing these themes through in the universe of their series. The growing tensions between NATO and Russia are being used as a weapon by a secretive, sectarian political, terrorist organization that is trying to restore the lost glory of the Soviet Union. This is familiar to us, isn’t it?



Sokol is not a radio…


Ryan is investigating intelligence information that points towards the revival of Sokol (which this time is not the iconic, socialist-era brand of handbag radio, but something else entirely…) But his intervention is not taken lightly and a narrative is being woven against him, branding him a traitor. Luka Goncharov (James Cosmo), a former Soviet commander, now sits at the head of the SVR. The agency teams up with Ryan and Greer (Wendell Pierce) and Elizabeth Wright (Betty Gabriel) to uncover the exact motives behind a conspiracy to incite the world to war. Czech President Alena Kovac (Nina Hoss) and her father Petr (Peter Guinness) are setting their own fire when Russian Minister Popov is assassinated on their land. As they attempt to revive the Sokol Project – a program to build nuclear weapons undetectable to radar – the real hunt is on for an even more brutal and dangerous power struggle that threatens to spark World War III.



Gritty spy thriller, no time for privacy


Unlike the previous two seasons, the company is given more responsibility here. We move away from Ryan’s private life and each character has a role to play in the story. Ryan himself is not as much to the fore as before, with other previously familiar characters like Hoss, Guinness and Pierce helping to balance the scales and diversify the ‘good guys’ team. They all deliver sophisticated performances tailored to the demands of the roles.

This time there is far less drama, the lack of which is replaced by an elaborate portrayal of classic spy conspiracies in full force. Mind games, manipulation, and strategizing dominate the way the story moves forward and the way the spies fight each other. At the same time, the film is not without its gritty action, which often rivals similar scenes in a better James Bond film.

Of course, the plot has been adapted to the relative simplicity of spy films, so you can’t expect the subtlety of a political thriller – it was necessary to keep the plot both exciting and easy to follow for eight episodes, and the series does this to the maximum. It has to be admitted that it is too simplistic politically in Jack Ryan season 3, but given these logistical impossibilities, some leeway has to be given on that front. So some drastic but clever decisions have been made to make the plot punch and keep us engaged.





These interludes are important cornerstones around which we see the relationship between Ryan and one of his Russian masterminds grow closer. This kind of camaraderie – almost buddy movie-like – will be the soul of season three – while other, more complex characters are not revealed to be heroes, crazed fanatics or traitors for a long time. However, the age-old clichés of series like Jack Ryan eventually settle in a little towards the end of the series. Realism and predictability are inescapable yardsticks for objectively evaluating such series; unfortunately, Jack Ryan does not perform well enough on these measures in all episodes.

Despite an illusionary start of a complex political thriller, Jack Ryan season 3 finally takes the easy way out, but not without presenting a highly exciting, solid action and great performances, a cross-continental chase and an Eastern European spy war. Even if Jack Ryan’s third season doesn’t become a landmark, it is still one of the best spy thrillers ever.



Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan S03

Direction - 8.2
Actors - 7.8
Story - 8.4
Visuals/Music/Sounds/Action - 8.6
Ambience - 8.5



Despite an illusionary start of a complex political thriller, Jack Ryan season 3 finally takes the easy way out, but not without presenting a highly exciting, solid action and great performances, a cross-continental chase and an Eastern European spy war. Even if Jack Ryan's third season doesn't become a landmark, it is still one of the best spy thrillers ever.

User Rating: 4.66 ( 1 votes)

Spread the love
Avatar photo
Anikó, our news editor and communication manager, is more interested in the business side of the gaming industry. She worked at banks, and she has a vast knowledge of business life. Still, she likes puzzle and story-oriented games, like Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, which is her favourite title. She also played The Sims 3, but after accidentally killing a whole sim family, swore not to play it again. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our IMPRESSUM)

No comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

theGeek TV