Sunday, February 2, 2014

Movie review - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (PG-13) - By Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 105 mins

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is an international spy movie based on the character Jack Ryan created by the late Tom Clancy. This reboot marks the character’s fifth film appearance. However, unlike previous installments, the movie is not an adaption of any specific book in the series. Instead, it is a completely original story which chronicles the origins of the title role. 

Chris Pine (Star Trek) is the fourth actor to portray the character of Jack Ryan, following in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. In the beginning of the movie, Ryan,   a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, is shown serving as a platoon commander in Afghanistan about a year and half after the tragedy of 9/11. He is critically injured after his helicopter is shot down and must participate in a rehabilitation program. 

During his rehab assignment, he catches the attention of a CIA agent named Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner). Ryan is soon recruited by Harper and is sent back to college to earn his PhD in economics. Harper thinks that Ryan’s ability to recognize complex patterns could make him a valuable covert analyst for the CIA someday.

Ten years later, while working on Wall Street for the CIA, Ryan begins to notice that the Russian government has been making some suspicious transactions. Ryan researches the case and eventually uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack. The mastermind of this plot is Viktor Cheverin (Kenneth Branagh), a veteran of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. 

Jack Ryan must travel to Moscow in so he can infiltrate Cheverin’s offices and prevent this terrorist attack from happening as it could lead to a second Great Depression in America. In order to do this, Ryan must step out of his comfort zone of economic analysis and take on the role of a fully operational field agent.

For the most part, I found this to be a fun and exciting film. I enjoyed the performance of Pine as Ryan and that of his love interest, Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley). However one thing this film truly lacked was originality. I felt as if most of the scenes in this movie came right out of a James Bond, Mission Impossible or Jason Bourne movie. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a decent action flick, but it just isn’t nearly as good as the films it emulates.

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