Jack Reacher VS Jack Ryan Vs Jack Bauer: Who’s The Hardest Jack?

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When it comes to hard sounding names in action film’s no ‘nom de plume’ sounds quite as hard as Jack does it?

From Jack Reacher to Jack Ryan the silver screen is littered with Jack’s who you wouldn’t want to mess with.  However, we’ve always wondered – who’s the best Jack?

To find out we’ve decided to pit the top three jacks against each other and  judge them on strength, intelligence, determination, marksmanship and of course sheer badassery in a competition to determine ‘who’s the hardest Jack’?

So without further ado, let’s meet the contestants…

Jack Reacher

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When working out who’s the hardest Jack, no debate would be complete without the man, the myth, the legend Jack Reacher. 

Reacher is, of course, the star of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher book series and of the Jack Reacher films. Both onscreen and on the page, Jack is pure undiluted badass, known for his incredible strength and determination.

Jack began his military career at the prestigious Military school West Point, working his way through the ranks to become a Major. Although a lot of his career is shrouded in mystery we do know he’s a highly decorated soldier.

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Throughout his career, his superiors noted him as being ‘above average,’ having a high proficiency with firearms, and being beyond outstanding at hand-to-hand combat.

Reacher himself describes his fighting style as ‘akin to a thrown chainsaw with the motor running’.

Eventually, Reacher left the military and now wanders the world helping solve problems, usually with a dose of violence. Despite being a literal giant of a man and having abs like a cobbled street, Reacher’s also quite the thinker, speaking multiple languages and frequently quoting Nietzsche.

Jack Ryan

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Dr John Patrick “Jack” Ryan, Sr. better known as Jack Ryan, most famously played by Harrison Ford in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, is the hero of several Tom Clancy novels and films.

Of our three Jack’s ‘Ryan’s’ most definitely the most academic and least physical working as a successful stockbroker and Professor of history.

Despite his more academic career Ryan’s no slouch when it comes to being a bad-ass, he’s a former marine officer who only left the military when a back injury forced him out of service.


Not that he’s let the injury get in the way of saving the world. So far he’s been a CIA agent and director, saved the Prince of Wales from a kidnapping attempt for which he was knighted, contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union, helped to bring peace to the Middle East and saved the world from all out nuclear war.

Oh and to top it all off he went on to become the President of the United States…

Jack Bauer

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Jack Bauer is of the course the grizzled hero of 24 (played by Kiefer Sutherland) and a member of the Counter Terrorist Unit that helps protect the U.S. from terrorist threats. 

Aside from having the ability to remain awake for ludicrous amounts of time Bauer’s had quite the distinguished military career serving as a Green Beret, receiving special forces training as well as  Airborne, Air Assault, and Ranger training.

He’s also earned the rank of Captain  and been awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, and the Legion of Merit for his bravery.


Throughout 24 Bauer demonstrated considerable skill in hand to hand combat as well as a high proficiency with guns. He’s also highly resistant to torture and seems almost ‘indestructible.

That’s no to say he’s a ‘Thicky McThicky from Thick Town’, Bauer’s had an impressive academic careers as well earning a  Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and a Master of Science degree in Criminology and Law.

Hand-To-Hand Combat

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All three of our Jack’s are accomplished hand to hand combatants but if we’re completely honest Jack Ryan would probably be the first to lose this fight. 

Ryan’s struggled with injuries in the past and is far more useful as a quick thinking strategist, working behind the scenes rather than a brute force tactician. This leaves us with Bauer and Reacher.

While the two may be well matched in experience and skill I’ve no doubt that Reacher would eventually triumph after a hard fought fight. The reason? Reacher’s monstrous strength is simply beyond anything Bauer’s ever come up against.

And while Bauer may be one tough cookie but Reacher’s defined by his brutish strength. In the past he’s literally crushed a man’s skulls with his hands and Child’s constantly reminded the reader of Reacher’s bull like strength.

First round Reacher!

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After taking a beating in the first round from both Reacher and Bauer, Ryan finally gets the opportunity to come into his own.

While Bauer may have his English lit degree and masters in criminology he’s no match for the college Professor Ryan.

Event the mighty Reacher who’s no dumbo can’t compete with master strategist Ryan, I mean he managed to sort our peace in the Middle East for cripes sake and then became president!

Sorry Reacher and Bauer, brains beats brawn on this one…

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Being an action star takes a certain kind of ruthlessness and none of our Jacks are afraid of getting their hands dirty, but there’s a clear winner when it comes to getting the job done, Jack Bauer.

Jack’s penchant for torture, both physical and mental, went so far in fact it actually got 24 in trouble with censors who were concerned over its portrayal.

Ryan and Reacher may be tenacious, Reacher especially is merciless in his pursuit of justice and isn’t afraid to crack skulls if needs be but old blooded torture’s probably a step too far even for him.

Point Bauer…

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All three of our Jacks are pretty handy with a shooter, spending time in the military tend s to lead to those skills but I’m afraid that once again Bauer and Ryan can’t compete with the might of Reacher.

According to 61 hours Reacher is ‘outstanding on all man-portable weaponry’ while in the book One Shot Reacher is described as skilled being the only non-Marine to win the U.S. Marine Corps 1000 Yard Invitational rifle competition, he also won the US Army Pistol Championship and served as a pistol instructor.

Basically if hes unarmed or armed Reacher’s a badass..

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Sheer Badassery

And finally we examine who’s the biggest bad-ass and I’m sorry but once again we”re going to have to give it to Reacher. While the other two are undoubtedly heroic they’ve got the backing of whole governments.

Reacher on the other hand is more of a drifter solving problems and kicking ass just because he can and not because it’s his job.

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The winner of the world’s first official ‘Who’s the best Jack?’ competition is Jack Reacher! Congratulations…

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back  is in cinemas across the UK on October 20.