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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit (2014)

Review: written Aug 2014

Movie junk food – enjoyed it at the time, then later wished I’d had something with more fibre

Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit (2014)

Chris Pine takes the mantle of Jack Ryan, as the franchise tries to restart itself after Sum of All Fears (and indeed, 9-11), seemed to leave it with nowhere to go. Chris Pine is a refreshing young convincing face of the ex Marine turned analyst for his mentor Kevin Costner, who is forced into an operational role when he uncovers shady dealings from a Russian oligarch which may just be a prelude to an economic attack on the US – or worse. All this while he tries to keep his new role as a CIA operative from his girlfriend, Kiera Knightley. There is an element of box ticking of facets of the Ryan character from the novels, as if the Ryan character has been shoehorned in to what is considered to be a contemporary drama / thriller. Not surprising, since that is exactly what happened.. instead of a Clancy novel, which are undoubtedly fulsome and challenging to adapt, layers of subtlety and duplicity have been stripped away for a more bare bones good guys and bad guys plot not originally written with this character in mind, and in the process somewhat making Ryan more of a spy than he ever was in the books.. it’s a fine line from where this movie has taken the franchise, to Bourne and Bond comparisons, which would not be favourable to this film.

All that said, this is a fun couple of hours – the cast are all good, and Branagh as director manages to get a few thrilling set pieces in, to keep you on your toes. As you’d expect, the character beats work too – Knightley’s interactions with Branagh are a treat. I finished the movie with a smile on my face and feeling I had seen a more satisfyingly old-fashioned thriller than I had seen in a while.. it was only later as I had time to think about the plot holes and the comparisons to the other movies, that the smile faded.

In short, an enjoyable way to pass the time to be sure, but I miss the thoughtfulness of the Baldwin / Ford era. Much more run-of-the-mill than either the talent or the franchise name would lead you to expect, but better value than most thrillers serve up these days.



Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit (2014)




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