Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

See how the latest incarnation of Tom Clancy\'s CIA hero fares...



Tom Clancy, who once remarked “Giving your book to Hollywood, is like turning your daughter over to a pimp” never gave an inch creatively, despairing at studio’s convoluted development processes, despite all four adaptations of his books being box office hits: The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears. This fifth bite at reinvigoration sees Chris Pine, Star Trek’s freshly minted Captain Kirk, playing Jack Ryan as an ex-Marine working for a Wall Street financial and dishing intel to the C.I.A in his role as a covert analyst. The cloak-and-dagger antics stir up tensions between he and his suspicious Doctor girlfriend Cathy (Keira Knightley) as he travels to Russia to audit the accounts of dodgy Russian oil magnate Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh). Once in Moscow, Ryan finds Viktor to be a cunning, sadistic adversary with a grander plan to cause worldwide chaos.

Pine is enjoyable as the wily Ryan, he’s got a smarmy confidence behind that youthful ambition and he makes the role his own, Knightley is given very little to do besides playing an attractive plot device, she’s been better utilised elsewhere. Branagh switches actor-director hats skillfully and largely pulls off a pleasing turn as what’s essentially a psychotic, deadpan Bond villain. The script is serviceable; the plotting is appalling. It’s a cobweb wrapped, ‘by-the-numbers’ plod. There’s just no innovation or subversion of audience expectations, unforgivable for a franchise this old attempting a reboot and even more egregious considering scribe David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spiderman) is one of the perpetrators. Exposition is briskly explained, humour is almost non-existent and though there is action, it feels under utilised which, in this case, may have helped matters enormously. Instead, when all is said and done, what we’re left with is a sadly tepid diversion.


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