36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" (2014 release; 105 min.) brings a reinvented Jack Ryan to the screen, this time as played by Chris Pine, he of the "Star Trek" reboot franchise (as Capt. Kirk). As the movie opens, we see Ryan on the campus of the London School of Economics when 9/11 happens. Ryan volunteers for the Marine Corps and is deployed in Afghanistan, where he gets severely injured during a helicopter attack (check out the Bengals/Ravens jokes before the attack!). During rehab, he gets to know Cathy Muller (played by Keira Knightley), who is about to graduate from med school. Flash forward 10 years: Ryan is now working for the CIA as a financial analyst at a Wall Street investment bank, and he notices weird financial transactions going on in Russia. He reports it to his CIA boss Tom Harper (played by Kevin Costner), and off goes Ryan to Moscow to investigate further. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first, this film is directed by none other than Kenneth Branagh (who also plays "the bad guy"). When I see his name, I usually think of William Shakespeare and theater, not action movies. Not that he doesn't do a pretty good job at it. Second, it really takes a jump of faith to see Chris Pine as Jack Ryan, for one thing, he just looks too young! Third, Keira Knightley oozes charm (and beauty) as Ryan's girlfriend/fiancee. Fourth, as to the action itself, something seemed a little off once in a while. For example, the crucial break-in sequence (where Ryan penetrates the office of the bad guy) goes off way too easily. Last but not least, there are some great one-liners in the movie which bring some much needed light touches. At one point Ryan convinces his Wall Street banker boss that he isn't going to rock the boat, to which his boss replies: "it's not a boat, it's a luxury yacht, and we're all on it together", ha! Later on, when Ryan meets up with Harper in Moscow, Ryan complains that he was promised an office job, to which Harper relies "You're not just a financial analyst anymore, you're operational", and hands him a gun, ha!
Bottom line: while this is certainly not a bad movie per se, and the time flew by quickly, I was nevertheless slightly let down as something is not quite right with this Jack Ryan reboot. The screening I saw this at was surprisingly well attended for a weekday evening show, so it must be that there is a demand for this movie. If you like Jack Ryan, I suggest you check this out for yourself, be it in the theater or on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusions about this reboot.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A reeboot of a franchise is a hard thing to achieve, to satisfy old fans and pull in new ones is tricky balanncing act, but this film suceeds well mostly, thanks to a good cast and fast moving plot.
It's funny that the cast and crew are at pains to say they were not trying to make Jason Bourne style film, yet at least pace wise and style wise it feels very much like Bourne had some influence. To be fair most spy genre films have evolved under the shadow of the Bourne trilogy due to them setting the bar for intelligent action thrillers so high, so it's a compliment to compare this at least visually to them.
The plot is very different as we follow a young Jack Ryan from being a smart but dull background anylyst, to a full on action man in the second half.
There is a nice build up as we watch the man grow into his role and start a romantic relationship, whilst his mentor drags him deeper into the field work aspect of the job and away from his desk.
The second part comes thick and fast with gun shoot outs, car and motorcycle chases, fights and lots of running around.
Chris Pine is very good as our weary hero pitted agaist Kenneth Brannagh's stereotypical Russian villain come terrorist intent on manipulating economy and blowing up America.
Kevin Costner is perfectly cast as Pines mentor who guides himthrough his stealthy mission and Kiera Knightly is good as Ryan's wife come damsel in distress.
Brannagh as director knows how to film good action, tense stand offs and the script has some vefy good exchanges between the leads.
3.5 stars, not quite 5 star as it seems to have come a bit late to the game after Skyfall or the Matt Damon Bournes, but still a fun spy thriller and a good start at getting Jack Ryan on the big screen.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is a solid action thriller very much in the vein of the Bourne movies and the TV series 24. A group of Russian terrorists, covertly backed by their government, are planning to blow up part of Wall Street. The terrorists also plan to plunge the US economy into a second Great Depression through the rigging of the financial markets. Kenneth Branagh plays the role of the main villain, and he plays it straight rather than hammy, i.e. more like Klaus Maria Brandauer in Never Say Never Again, rather than Alan Rickman in Die Hard. Chris Pine plays the fledgling CIA recruit whose task it is to infiltrate the terrorist group and thwart the attack on New York. Pine is perfectly competent in the role, though not quite in the same league as Matt Damon or Keifer Sutherland. Keira Kneightly plays his wife, a doctor, and I think that her performance is superb, portraying a delicate blend of sensitivity and stoicism. Kevin Costner plays a CIA recruiting officer, whose job is to enlist and develop Pine's character. The acting is very good, and the cinematography lavish, but the film lacks a bit of steel. The baddies are not scary enough, and when Pine gets violent with them, it doesn't quite convince in the same way as when Jason Bourne goes on the attack. The stunt sequences are polished, but I think a little too polished, they needed more of a raw edge. This is the sort of film which would probably be more convincing if it was a little more nasty, i.e. made appropriate for an 18 certification, but then that would hurt it's box office returns, which is why the violence is watered down. A good film, but if it was a bit more graphic and visceral - think in terms of The Long Good Friday or Mad Max II - it might have been a great one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
'Jack Ryan'(Chris Pine) a marine stationed in 'Afghanistan' is injured in a helicopter
.His recovery is a long and difficult road, but determination and encouragement
determination and encouragement from a 'Doctor' brings the desired outcome.
As a marine he is well respected, he has a high intelligence level, because of
this he is offered the opportunity to continue serving his country by 'C.I.A agent
'Thomas Harper'.(Kevin Costner)
'Jack' will complete his economics course and join a financial institution as a analyst,
but will be an under-cover operative.
'Cathy' (Keira Knightley) the doctor he'd met whilst in hospital is now his fiancée, but is
blissfully unaware of 'Jack's' involvement with the C.I.A.
'Jack' notices irregularity's in the Russian side of the businesses financial activity, and
realizes it needs investigating.
As compliance officer he decides to travel to Russia with the intention of investigating
a financial plot.
He is met at the airport a man who claims to be designated to escort him to the hotel
and be his driver, when reaching the hotel room the man attempts to kill 'Jack' .........
Not a great welcome to Russia.
'Thomas Harper' and a team are in Moscow to watch over 'Jacks' activity.
When going to the office the next day, it seems the Russians are a couple of steps
ahead of the game, 'Jack' appears to have nothing left to audit.
'Viktor Cherevin' informs 'Jack' that 'his fiancée 'Cathy' is waiting for him at the hotel,
her presence will mean he has more than just himself to watch out for.
The situation becomes much more dangerous as 'Jack' try's to dig deeper into 'Viktor's'
operation, it turns into a life or death situation for both 'Jack' and 'Cathy' 'Viktor' is a
The Russians plan for America's financial collapse taking proceedings into the heart of
the U.S financial Centre.......'Wall Street'
This is a 'Jack Ryan' re-invented tale, hi-tech, with some decent action along the way, I
don't think however either 'Bond' or indeed 'Bourne' need worry.....though I can see an
obvious opportunity to create a movie-series.
Bonus Features -
* Deleted and Extended Scenes with optional commentary by 'Kenneth Branagh' and
* Jack Ryan' - The smartest guy in the room.
* Sir Kenneth Branagh' - The tzar of Shadow Recruit.
* Jack Ryan' - A thinking man of Action.
* Old Enemies return.
* Commentary by 'Kenneth Branagh' and 'Lorenzo Bonaventura'
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2014
The latest film to feature the character of Jack Ryan from the Tom Clancy books is also an attempt to return to his original recruitment and first mission. This is a little odd as the Ben Affleck version of "A Sum of All Fears" already did that. But, like Spiderman it seems people like making movies about Jack Ryan's origins, and this time its updated to a post 9/11 setting. By doing that however you remove the whole tone of the original Tom Clancy novels, which were always set in the Cold War with the Russians as the bad guys. This time, having updated the setting the Russians are again the bad guys!
Enter Kenneth Brannagh spouting dialogue in his best Russian accent and acting the part of a one dimensional Bond villian. To hell with Glasnost, those fools have betrayed Russia, etc, etc. Considering Kenneth Brannagh also directed this movie its surprising he didn't also insist on a volcano base and sharks with lasers on them.
Chris Pine does his best to show he is a serious actor, and in the first half of the movie he is not too bad. The overly complicated technoplot sounds like the sort of thing Tom Clancy might have written. But unfortunately half way through the film this novice Jack Ryan forgets he is supposed to be an analyst with no experience of field work and starts to kick butt. The movie rapidly descends into a run of the mill action thriller with chases, punch ups and even a bomb with a count down on it!
This is a far cry from the original Jack Ryan stories and suggests a certain dumbing down for modern audiences. Fans of the original Tom Clancy movies might enjoy the first half of this film. Fans of the new Star Trek will probably enjoy the second. Altogether its not a complete disaster but as a James Bond wannabe its a poor substitute.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2014
A new version of the saga of CIA analyst, Jack Ryan. It begins when Ryan was attending the London School of Economics; and 9/11 happened. He would then enlist in the Marines and would go to Afghanistan. The chopper he was on would get shot down and he would suffer severe injuries that would require intense rehab. While there, he grabs the attention of a man named Harper, who works for the CIA and would like him to finish his studies and get a job on Wall Street so he can find out of any terrorist plot through their finances. A few years later, Ryan finds anomalies in the accounts of a Russian named Cherevin. Jack thinks he should go to Russia to find out what's going on. Jack was told not to tell anyone who he is and that includes his girl friend Cathy. But she catches Jack in some lies which makes her doubt him. Jack goes to Russia and Cherevin assigns him someone to take care of him. But when they're alone the man tries to kill Jack. So Jack kills him. Obvious Cherevin is hiding something so Jack goes to meet him, and he says he will bring his fiancé along. But Cathy shows up and Jack has to tell her the truth. Harper says Cathy has to go with Jack when she meets Cherevin. Jack doesn't want her to but Cathy says she's going. So the action begins that leads to the climax...
Well directed, good acting, good supporting cast and drama, action that keeps you watching with a simple straight foward storyline.
Overall a decent action/thriller. Enjoy
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2015
Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit is a poor movie. Badly Cast(awful Jack Ryan), badly acted(especially Keira Knightley), bad Story, bad Script, just about all of it bad. The earlier Jack Ryan films are far superior. Even The Sum of All Fears film is ten times better than this nonsense. Hopefully there won't be another.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2014
Chris Pine plays Jack Ryan in this lacklustre reboot of the very average Jack Ryan Franchise; sure The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games were good but those films had good plots. Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears were average at best. The main things those films had going for it were strong leading men; Alec Baldwin (at the top of his game); Harrison Ford (always good) and Ben Affleck (well… he is better than Chris Pine). Chris Pine is no leading man put it this way, Shia LaBeouf would have made a more convincing Jack Ryan. In fact anyone could have.
Considering the film has a leading man with no charisma the plot must be good to make up for this. Sadly the plot and I use the words loosely is laughable; the writers of this film must have never heard of the global economy. The plot might have made sense back in the 19th Century but not now. The plan, made up by some Russian conspirators, is to destroy the American economy and damage China. Wait won’t Russia be damaged too? No, because it’s oil reserves will insulate it from the global economic meltdown. It will then use its oil (which will no doubt be selling at a record high on the exchange considering the two biggest economies in the world will be in permanent recession) to make money. Really? Absolute nonsense.
O.K. but at least the film is entertaining. Right? Once again the answer is no. Did I not mention that Jack Ryan is a Financial Analyst, his job is to analyse documents- financially. He is not some sort of action hero who can whizz around major cities in a motorcycle and speed around the place in a car; the man only spent 2 weeks on the ‘farm’ aka CIA training camp for goodness sake. Oh wait a minute he does actually do that. Yes, a man who stated in a mobile phone call to his contact that he is not equipped to deal with this since he only spent two weeks on the farm morphs into Ethan Hunt with no explanation whatsoever. The reason I thought he was taking the subway at the start was because I thought he could not drive especially since I never seen him driving before. There should have at the very least been a driving montage, where it showed how a financial analyst managed to drive like Cole Trickle (Days of Thunder).
Well, sure the leading man has no charisma and the plot is laughable and the action is terrible but sure the villain; played by the ‘next Laurence Olivier’ Kenneth Branagh is amazing. Well, no, is sadly the answer. His villain has no personality; whatsoever. If you were hoping for a villain like Hans or Simon Gruber then you will be hugely disappointed by Branagh’s poor portrayal of a villain with even less charisma than the hero.
Branagh also directs, poorly. The fight scenes left me wondering what was going on most of the time.
Finally, Kevin Costner makes an appearance to collect his paycheck along with Keira Knightley.
I really can’t recommend this awful film; it’s so bad in so many ways. The lead is terrible, the plot is laughable, the action is poorly directed and the villain is generic. If you want to see the perfect example of how not to make an action thriller then I would recommend this.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2015
Biggest load of unbelievable rubbish I have ever watched. It's normal to suspend an amount of reality to watch a US action movie, but this was bunkum from the start to the finish, nothing was credible. If I listed the plot failures I'd be writing half the night. The action was not brilliant either - there was no real tension, but for the musical score I'd have fallen asleep.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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 originaly 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 him, 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 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. (6/10)