Tom Clancy -- the Stephen King of spy thrillers -- creates high-tech, international tales of espionage and intrigue that translate smoothly into big-screen action pictures. It's no wonder Hollywood has built a franchise around heroic, patriotic CIA analyst Jack Ryan: he's part James Bond, part George Smiley, and pure American. The first Ryan title, Hunt for the Red October, features Sean Connery as the renegade captain of a new Soviet submarine that's so dangerous he has to…. Well, only Alec Baldwin as Ryan seems to know exactly what he's up to. Tense, dramatically dignified (owing much to Connery's presence), and ultimately quite thrilling, Hunt was deemed strong enough to launch sequels with different stars. The next film, Patriot Games, found Harrison Ford in the Ryan role. (The switch has been chalked up to, at various times, either Baldwin's "unprofessional behavior" or his demand to be paid $4 million for the second movie; but even Ryan himself couldn't plum out the truth here.) Patriot Games, with Ford's trademark low-key machismo and director Phillip Noyce's subtle, stylized action sequences, now had Ryan pitted against dissident IRA forces and showed that Clancy's formula for worldwide action wouldn't skip a beat with a casting change. Ford played Ryan again in the third and most recent installment in the series, Clear and Present Danger, in which Ryan confronts a violent Columbian drug cartel when they murder a friend of the President. Given the box office and relative critical success of the first three Clancy movies, it's no surprise that a fourth film will follow, The Sum of All Fears, this time with Ben Affleck as Ryan. Ford, due to scheduling conflicts, has opted out.