I was hoping for better
- Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit review by RP
If you want to watch a moderately tense action thriller along the lines of a 'Bourne' film crossed with '24', then this may be just the thing for you. On the other hand, if what you are looking for is a thoughtful, technically detailed film where an analyst is suddenly placed in a position out of his depth - in other words, a 'proper' Jack Ryan film, them you won't find it here.
Jack Ryan is a character in a series of novels by the late Tom Clancy - there have been a dozen or so books and five films have been made. The first four are 'The Hunt For Red October' (1990) in which Jack Ryan is played by Alec Baldwin, 'Patriot Games' (1992) and 'Clear And Present Danger' (1994) in which Harrison Ford played the role, and 'The Sum Of All Fears' (2002) in which Ben Affleck took over the reins. This latest film is a reboot of the franchise after a gap of 12 years, this time with Chris Pine in the role.
Chris Pine has done good work in the latest reboots of the 'Star Trek' franchise so perhaps it seemed a good idea to use him here. Unfortunately, he becomes part of the problem - too good looking, too young - and when coupled with the lightweight Keira Knightley putting on a fake American accent and the 'wooden' and now somewhat elderly (for a CIA field man) Kevin Costner it all becomes a somewhat unlikely mix.
The storyline is new and not based on any of Tom Clancy's work - but when I say 'new' I mean newly written, because frankly it's a mish-mash of rehashed old tosh. A Russian oligarch is planning the downfall of the good ole USA via economic disaster caused by (1) first, buying up dollars (2) causing a terrorist attack on Wall Street (3) dumping the currency in the immediate aftermath. It takes young Jack Ryan - and (of course) only him - to notice this dastardly plot, to fly to Moscow to confront the baddie, break in to his offices, steal computer data, have a high car chase round Moscow and defeat a sleeper-cell terrorist attack back home in New York. He does this (of course) single handedly while Ms Knightley screams prettily and Mr Wooden Costner moves stiffly (well, he is approaching 60) as a backup action man.
Kenneth Branagh, who also takes a role as the Russian baddy, directed it. Sir Kenneth is a 'proper' actor - and in comparison to the rest of the cast, it shows. He is head and shoulders above the other players and makes an excellent baddy. But even he - and his directing skills - can't save the film
If you sit back and let it all wash over you, then you might think its good, all-action, stuff . But for me it's not thoughtful, not analytical enough, with too many silly action sequences, ridiculous technology, and a ridiculous plot. My favourite Jack Ryan is Harrison Ford, who both looks and acts the part. Whatever his other qualities, Chris Pine doesn't.
I'll give it 2/5 stars - it's OK, but I found it quite disappointing. I was hoping for better.
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