Movie Review - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Movie Review - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit


Genre: Action

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 105 mins.

Premise: CIA analyst, Jack Ryan (Chris Pine), is sent to Russia to thwart an evil plot by Viktor Chereven (Kenneth Branagh) to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.  But, when Chereven kidnaps Jack’s girlfriend, Cathy (Keira Knightley), the mission gets personal.

Behind-the-Scenes: Pine is the fourth actor to play Jack Ryan on screen, following in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October), Harrison Ford (Patriot Games, Clear & Present Danger), and Ben Affleck (The Sum of All Fears).  The movie was originally going to come out on Christmas day but got pushed back when Wolf of Wall Street took Paramount’s release slot for that day instead.

The Good: The new Jack Ryan is a semi-enjoyable, mindless diversion, well-paced with decent action sequences and a likeable cast.  It’s the kind of movie you might see on TNT on a Saturday night that you keep watching when nothing else is on.

The Bad: Pine never really makes the role his own or stands out in any way.  He’s basically playing a less jokey Captain Kirk, with Kevin Costner taking on the Bruce Greenwood/Captain Pike mentor role.  Keira Knightley’s American accent is distracting – why couldn’t her character just be British?  The story is standard-issue spy stuff – not outright dumb but nowhere near clever either.  Branagh doesn’t seem all that inspired as director, delivering an acceptable, if impersonal, studio “product” and nothing more.  Pales in comparison to the other Ryan films, even the Affleck one.

Should You See It?: No.  Paramount probably had hopes of rebooting the Jack Ryan character into a new studio cash cow, but this one’s a franchise non-starter.

Star Rating: **1/2 out of 5 stars.

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