This newest of the Jack Ryan movies, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, is a reboot of the Tom Clancy film franchise, where we get a new origins story of our titular character. It’s rated PG-13 and runs around 105 minutes.
In the movie, we watch a young Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) in the London School of Economics, watching the World Trade center disaster in 2001, and later, he decides to join the military.
We get a hint of Jack’s ability to see things other folks don’t, as far as enemy traffic and behavior through obscure and odd patterns in their operations.
While in the military, his helicopter gets shot down, giving him a terrible back injury. During his lengthy rehab, he meets his future fiancee in the form of his physical therapist, Cathy Muller (Keira Knightly).
It’s a cute beginning for the couple as we get a small hint of her style. It’s quirky and slightly challenging, in a good way. We see she’s a good fit for our ever vigilant Jack.
While in rehab, Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner) spends some time observing Jack, and later, recruits Jack for the CIA.
Thomas wants Jack to work for a wall street financial company, keeping tabs on various things in the financial world. And after several years, Jack finds something.
A Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) is planning a pair of insidious terrorist acts, one physical, one, financial, that’s sure enough to destroy the United States.
And once all this has been established in the first act, let the fun begin!
Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Valkyrie) in addition to starring as the bad guy in the film. The film script was written by David Koepp (Premium Rush, Angels and Demons) and Adam Cozad.
A lot of the film takes place in Russia and this was a new and different kind of Russia that I’ve never seen on film. Most of the time, when I find myself transported to Russia in a movie, it’s always been delivered as a dark, tough and sometimes seedy place.
But in Shadow Recruit, this Russia is a shiny, new and modern world of high fashion and glitzy people. It was a nice change of representation, giving the country a much better look than I’ve ever seen before.
The cast pulled off their roles, as far as I can see. Pine was the perfect intelligence analyst. Not quite super spy, but with enough skills to get through the scraps he finds himself in. Yet a very sharp, thinking-on-his-feet kind of agent. And not once did I feel an inkling of any other role that he might had in any other project.
Keira Knightly pulled off her role nicely and was not distracting. I’ve seen words that say otherwise, but she filled her role well enough for me.
Branagh was the consummate, hard line, classic Russian. Steeped in the lore of the mother country, his love of honor and duty drove him to his actions.
But for me, the big surprise was Kevin Costner. His role as Ryan’s senior officer or whatever he was, was a surprise. The role was the connector between scenes and between Jack Ryan and the CIA. So we didn’t get a full movie of Harper, but only when needed. And Costner owned the screen when he was in shot. He may have had good and bad or questionable roles in the past, but this one was the role that he’s aged to perfection for.
The story was a smart one, weaving a light story of world economics with Jack Ryan’s job, and Viktor Cherevin ‘s intentions. It was a tad rushed, but for what they needed to convey in the time they had, well, they pretty much delivered most details well enough.
And yes, there’s plenty of action. In fact the action is properly peppered into the story. It didn’t feel overdone, but was just right.
I’ve heard grumblings from my other half about some movies and too much action, but I don’t think anyone would hear that complaint from anyone. The action was just right and not the center piece of the action.
I’d say, on my popcorn action scale, I’d give Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit a popcorn 9!
It was fun, the primary characters filled out well enough, the action not over done and it pulled me away from the day’s routines for just long enough to kick it back in the theater. It was worth it to see it in the theater.