Top positive review
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3.5 stars... "You're not just an analyst anymore, you're operational!"
on 26 January 2014
"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.