Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – Movie Review

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Tom Clancy’s most famous character, Jack Ryan is once again back on the big screen. Chris Pine takes over the role, previously played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck.  The is the first film in the series not based on one of Clancy’s books. You could call this a reboot, since Affleck’s “Sum of All Fears” also tried to show us the beginnings of the young CIA agent much the way “Shadow Recruit” does.  This latest installment is actually a whole lot better too, thanks to the screenplay by Adam Cozad and David Koepp and the direction of Kenneth Branagh (who pulls double duty at the story’s villain).

After nearly losing his live while at war, Jack Ryan (Pine) is approached by Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner) with a job offer in which Ryan would help track down financial-based terrorism, that could be devastating to the United States. While working undercover on Wall Street, Ryan heads over to Russia to find out why Viktor Cherevin’s (Branagh) company is concealing its’ financial information.   Ryan isn’t in Russia for more than thirty minutes before an attempt on his life is made.  Thankfully being military trained, helped him survive.  Ryan quickly learns that he has been given more than a desk job and that his career choice has become a lot more dangerous.  

Things get more complicated for Ryan, when his girlfriend Cathy (Keira Knightley) decides to surprise him by showing up during his mission.  If I had one complaint about “Shadow Recruit” is that in so many films like this one, the hero’s girlfriend/wife usually works in a hospital as a nurse or doctor.  I know that is a strange complaint but it just feels like a go-to profession. Of course, Cathy was Jack’s physical therapist after the war so I guess I will  have to let that one slide this time.  

“Shadow Recruit” is actually very good as far as reboots go.  Pine is likeable and can handle the action. Costner, makes for a good mentor/handler, and Branagh makes for a good bad guy (even in Wild Wild West).  The story moves a long really quickly as well.  There isn’t a whole lot originality, but when you have a cast and filmmaker who knows what they are doing, it can still be a fun time at the movies.  Hopefully, Pine and the and Paramount will be keen on continuing this series.

By: Marc Ferman

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