Movie Reviews

Published on January 17th, 2014 | by Joseph Saulnier

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Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

This is not your father’s Jack Ryan; but it should’ve been.

Chris Pine stars as the famed Jack Ryan in this reboot of the character. We open the movie with Ryan

attending school in London on the day many won’t soon forget: September 11, 2001. The events

this day push Ryan into enlisting in the Marines and we join him 3 years later where we see Ryan in

a helicopter with some brothers-in-arms. It doesn’t take long for the helo to be shot down, but not

without Ryan becoming a hero. After extensive rehab from a broken spine, Mr. Ryan is approached by

Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner) to join the CIA as an analyst.

 

This intro to the movie was short. But what lacks in length it makes up for in the eloquence in which

it delivers the back story for Jack Ryan, thus setting up a whole new franchise and getting new viewers

ready for the ride. After this intro, we flash forward 10 years later to find Ryan working on Wall Street,

but he’s undercover and is an analyst for the CIA. He is with his one-time physical therapist, Cathy

Muller (Keira Knightley), and he discovers the details of a planned economic attack against the USA.

It isn’t long before he is whisked away to Russia to do some wet work, and he bumbles into the life

of a field agent facing off against the mastermind of the villainy in the film, Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth

Branagh).

 

Some may find that the movie lacks the quick-paced, non-stop action that we have seen from spy

movies these days (including the famous 007), but it does keep a good pace and puts an intelligent story

line on the screen and actually entices the audience to think, all the while including some action for the

adrenaline-junkies.

 

Pine plays a very believable Jack Ryan. He portrays a character that is more closely linked to Tom

Clancy’s original stories and vision for the character than even Harrison Ford did in Patriot Games (which

I thought was an excellent movie). He nailed the bumbling analyst-turned-field-agent in such a way that

you’d believe it was really his personality. They explain his ability to handle himself with the military

background so expertly set up at the beginning of the movie. Adding Costner to the cast was a stroke

of genius as he plays the mentor/superior part extremely well, but he wasn’t in the film so much as

to distract from the focus of Ryan. Branagh (who also directed the film) played an excellent Russian

adversary to Ryan, who was nothing short of a genius in the way he delivered his character’s stoic

responses and reactions.

 

If I had to name one gripe with the movie, which believe me was no small feat, it was the Cathy

Muller character. Don’t get me wrong, the character was amazing and Knightley did an admirable job

portraying her. I just felt that she seemed to accept things that most people would question a little too

quickly, and without any reservation.

 

Other than that, the movie rocked. The action scenes were gripping and the actual story-line was

intelligent. The best thing is that story was plausible. It was not over the top or wildly impossible in the

real world. The scary part is just that. The plot of this movie could actually happen. I would definitely

recommend checking it out in theaters, and it most certainly made my “gotta buy it on bluray” list.

 

5 stars out of 5!

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