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– by Campbell Clark

Michael B. Jordan seems to be everyone’s number one pick for everything right now, and the latest studio to court the star of Creed and Black Panther is Paramount. The studio have always produced the movies created from Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan universe that we have seen on the big screen. Previously all of these movies have focussed on Jack Ryan himself as the lead character.

Of course, the Jack Ryan character currently has his own TV show on Amazon Prime played by John Krasinski, you can find my review of Season 1 of this show in the related section below. One of the characters that I talked about who I felt was missing from that show was John Clark. Clark is one of my favourite characters from the books and if Jack Ryan is the smart, morally grounded lead of those books, Clark is the deadly, skilled, take no prisoners action hero.

RELATED: Jack Ryan Season 1 Review: Better Than Expected With Some Room For Improvement

Yesterday Variety reported that Paramount have signed up Michael B. Jordan to play Clark in at least two upcoming movies. The books in question being adapted are Without Remorse and Rainbow Six. The thing to note here about the novels is that Rainbow Six is set many, many years after Without Remorse, but both stories do feature John Clark as the lead character. Without Remorse will serve as John Clark’s origin story as does the novel. The movies are being headed up by Akiva Goldsmith who will adapt the books for screen.

The novel Without Remorse was set in the 70’s and begins with Clark as a special ops soldier in the Vietnam War. As Clark heads back Stateside he ends up going against drug dealers who are corrupting his home town. The novel then follows a game of cat and mouse as Clark hunts down and executes the drug gangs ‘without remorse’. His actions bring Clark to the attention of the CIA and Clark (not his name at that point) joins the CIA to escape punishment for his crimes against the drug dealers and effectively becomes the US top wet work guy in the Cold War in the 80’s where he runs across a young Jack Ryan.

Rainbow Six is set well into the 90’s and revolves around an older Clark setting up an elite counter terrorism team called Rainbow Six, I am sure you may have heard of the video games that are based on this team? So what do I think of this news?

First of all, I am glad that someone is finally making Without Remorse, because it’s one of the most easily translated books to screen in the series. And Rainbow Six should really have happened years ago when the movies were actually following the Jack Ryan timeline initially with Harrison Ford as Ryan. Willem Dafoe played Clark in Clear and Present Danger and I could have seen Dafoe leading a Rainbow Six movie at that point. Michael B. Jordan is a really interesting choice as Clark I have to say, yes we are in the whole race swap territory again which seems to be always connected to Jordan, but realistically there is no need for John Clark to be any particular race in a modern setting. It was different in the books though as Clark had to blend in as a Russian for the majority of his career and well, I am sure you are aware of the racism issues in Eastern Europe.

There are two major issues I have with this announcement though.

One – Does this mean John Clark is not going to show up at all in Amazon’s Jack Ryan series? If so that’s a major oversight and I struggle to see the reasoning behind Amazon getting the rights to Ryan but not Clark, it makes very little sense to me. I worry that once again they are going to make a mess of this franchise on two different mediums. I don’t see any reason why there cannot be two versions of John Clark kicking around in completely separate TV and film universes, but you know how the business works, it rarely makes any logical sense.

Two – Akiva Goldsmith being involved in adapting these books. Now this is nothing personal against Mr Goldsmith, but let’s take a look at some of the movies he has adapted from books already shall we? Dreamcatcher, The Dark Tower, I am Legend and The Da Vinci Code, now if you ask fans of those books whether Goldsmith did a good job of adapting them, then you will hear some negative responses. In my opinion those were really poorly adapted books which missed a lot of the real nature of what the novels were about. I also look at some of Goldsmith’s other writing gigs and, well, have a look at Batman Forever, Batman & Robin and Lost in Space. You can see where I am coming from here, yes?

Now both of these factors make me incredibly uneasy about whether they will effectively adapt this book. For a start this movie needs to have a hard R rating and yet I feel like it has PG-13 written all over it. I don’t want to spoil, but let’s just say that Clark in Without Remorse makes The Punisher look like a soft touch and leave it at that. There is some real gruesome imagery in this story and it’s part of why fans love it, because it sets the tone for what this man can be when he is not kept on a tight leash.

I truly hope this can be a great vehicle for Jordan and that they really try to adapt this book’s actual story as much as possible, but time will tell on that front. We have no word yet on possible release dates or even production start dates for Without Remorse, stay tuned to LRM for any further news down the line.

Any Jack Ryan fans here, what do you think of Michael B. Jordan as John Clark and do you have similar reservations as I do? Blend in and post without remorse in the usual place below.

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SOURCE: Variety