If you were hoping that Sam Raimi was getting back into the horror racket full-time with Drag Me to Hell, forget about it:  he’s taking over the Jack Ryan franchise for Paramount. 

Variety is careful to state that Raimi “is by no means out of the running to make more Spider-Man films”, but I doubt Sony has any interest in waiting around for two or three years while the director dicks around with the vastly uninteresting CIA analyst.  Paramount is targeting a summer 2010 launch for the new Jack Ryan (who, according to studio sources, is going to be younger, hipper and “scorchingly Italian”), so this sounds like the end of Raimi and the webslinger.  For most of you, this is probably welcome news.  Personally, I thought he was headed in a fascinating direction with the character after the second film, but the last installment was clearly the work of a bored and/or distracted artist; it’s time to relinquish the reins.

But why Jack Ryan?  I tore through a few of the books when I was in high school, but even then I knew Tom Clancy was a lousy writer in dire need of a ruthless editor.  Of the novels I read, only The Hunt for Red October could classify as satisfying on a pulp level; techno-philes may disagree, but they’re dullards.  And please don’t start with the gritty “brilliance” of Without Remorse; it’s a pedestrian piece of shit.

Clancy fans may be leery about Raimi, but, as a die-hard Republican, he’s more likely to do “right” by the author than, say, Phil Alden Robinson.  Though Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Josh Donen are also on board as producers, this will definitely be Raimi’s show.  So let’s lower our sights and lobby for Bruce Campbell as… oh, Admiral James Greer.