Movie Review – Jack Ryan : Shadow Recruit

by Donald Hanson • January 26, 2014 • Movie ReviewsComments (0)2167

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As franchises go, Jack Ryan is pretty lazy. It had a strong start with Alec Baldwin playing the character in ‘The Hunt For Red October’ in 1990 and then Harrison Ford stepping in for 1992’s ‘Patriot Games’ and 1994’s ‘Clear and Present Danger’. Then there was an 8 year wait for character’s return in 2002’s ‘The Sum of All Fears’ with Ben Affleck in the title role. Now, 12 years after that ‘Jack Ryan : Shadow Recruit’ attempts to revive the Tom Clancy novel based film series.

To do this they’ve brought in Chris Pine as the new face of Jack Ryan. I guess they liked him in ‘This Means War’ where he plays a character in a similar line of work. Chris Pine does a solid job with the role bringing his default movie persona but playing it a little more straight arrow than usual. Kevin Kostner is very good as Ryan’s mentor and supervisor here but Keira Knightley isn’t given much to do in terms of story or substance beyond being the girlfriend of the main character. Her most significant scene involves flirting with the bad guy to stall him while an operation is going down.

Then there is Kenneth Branagh as the villain. He is not only a very good villain intelligent, confident, complex and menacing : he is also the director of the movie. The film’s feel ranges from superficial at times to intense and engrossing at others. The second half of the film gets a good suspenseful rhythm going and the editing and pacing are very well done. Overall, this movie is a competent spy thriller and is a solid foundation for future installments if its success warrants sequels. For Jack Ryan fans, this film is a must-see and for movie goers who aren’t familiar with the character this is a decent introduction.

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