A movie starring Ben Affleck playing an iconic character is blowing up on Netflix right now, but the weird thing is it’s a film that’s been pretty much forgotten, despite its big-name leading man and the popular franchise it’s a part of. The flick in question is 2002’s The Sum of All Fears, in which the future Batman played Tom Clancy’s CIA agent hero Jack Ryan. According to the latest stats from Flix Patrol, the film is currently the 12th most popular title on Netflix worldwide.
Jack Ryan made his cinematic debut in 1990’s The Hunt for Red October, with Alec Baldwin in the lead. Harrison Ford then took on the role for its equally successful sequels, Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994). Another entry in the saga didn’t materialize until The Sum of All Fears hit cinemas eight years later. Curiously, despite being considered a big win for Paramount, earning 193.9 million on the back of a $68 million budget, a follow-up never happened.
A reboot of the Baldwin/Ford series, The Sum of All Fears saw Ryan having to stop all-out nuclear war from breaking out after an an Austrian neo-Nazi frames Russia for a series of attacks on the United States. The cast also includes Morgan Freeman, Bridget Moynahan, James Cromwell and Liev Screiber. Contemporary reviews weren’t all that kind, with many negatively comparing Affleck to Ford and complaining about the muddled plot.
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That said, modern reactions have been warmer. It’s sitting at a solid 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, putting it higher than 2014’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the Chris Pine vehicle that stands as the last Jack Ryan movie to date, which has an RT score of 54%. Likewise, its current popularity on Netflix indicates subscribers are enjoying it.
The most recent entry in the Ryanverse was Amazon Prime’s Without Remorse, starring Michael B. Jordan as Ryan’s CIA cohort John Clark. Jack Ryan season 3, featuring John Krasinski in the lead, is shooting now and hits Prime in 2022.