Posts Tagged ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’

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Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Rated R

for sequences of violence and intense action, and brief strong language

Back in 1990 the movie world was introduced to novelist Tom Clancy’s character John Patrick “Jack” Ryan in the hit The Hunt for Red October. The movie was the first of Clancy’s novels to be adapted to film. Alec Baldwin is the first actor to get the opportunity to play the role on the big screen. Jack had to convince the Navy that Russian Submarine Captain Marko Ramius, played by Sean Connery, was trying to defect to prevent a war from breaking out. The movie was such a success in the box office, a sequel was ordered.

Now it is 1992 and Jack Ryan is back, this time Harrison Ford is the guy tabbed to play the role of a now retired Ryan. Patriot Games is the novel that was selected to be adapted. Jack is on vacation in London when he happens to be in the right place at the right time to intervene in an assassination attempt on a British Government Minister. Afterwards, he and has to deal with the revenge of the assassins for foiling their plot. Yet again, we have a box office success and another sequel ordered.

In an effort to keep milking this cash cow, Harrison Ford is brought back to play Ryan in the 1994 Clear and Present Danger. Now, Jack Ryan is the Deputy Director of the CIA tasked with stopping a Columbian drug cartel. As no surprise, the movie is another box office success for the character but this time no sequel is put in motion.

It is eight years before we are to be given another Jack Ryan movie. In 2002 Ben Affleck is given the role as Ryan in The Sum of All Fears. This time the movie steps out of the continuity that was in place with the previous three movies with Ryan back to being a lowly analyst in the CIA. He must stop a nuclear showdown with the Russians while simultaneously trying to stop a terrorist from blowing up a major US city. The movie was released a little after the attacks of September 11, 2001. This time, we do not have the major box office success or the acclaim of the previous installments.

That little history lesson was to set the tone for my expectations for this new installment in the Jack Ryan franchise. I enjoyed The Hunt for Red October, because of Connery, Baldwin was okay at best. I liked Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger because of Harrison Ford. I HATED The Sum of All Fears because of what Affleck did to the character that I loved. All that being said, I went into the screening of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit thinking, “How bad is Chris Pine going to mess Jack Ryan up?”

Shadow Recruit is a reboot of the franchise, chronologically speaking. We are taken back to September 11, 2001 in London, England where a young John P Ryan is working on his PhD. After the horrific events of that day, Jack joins the Marines and volunteers for combat duty in Afghanistan. While serving he is severely wounded and forced out of the Marines. During his recovery from his injuries he is recruited by the CIA, sent back to school to finish his PhD and put in play as an undercover analyst tracking the financials of threats to the United States.

As for the villain and threat that Jack is trying to stop, it is something very real, very up-to-date and something that is possible at any given time in the real world. Not to give up any details, but it is not your run of the mill terrorist bomb plot. The individual villain, Viktor Cherevin, is played by Kenneth Branagh. He is a credible villain but not your typical “bad guy”, you get the impression that he is really just a misguided patriot.

Chris Pine as Jack Ryan… Not bad at all.  My fears were unfounded as Pine and the filmmakers did not turn the character into another James Bond or Jason Bourne. He was the scared, over his head, yet supremely intelligent guy that Jack Ryan is supposed to be. In one scene; the look of shock, awe and horror that are on Pine’s face say more about the mindset of the character than 30 minutes of dialogue by Affleck in The Sum of All Fears. Pine does a wonderful job getting the point across that Ryan has absolutely ZERO desire to be on the operational side of things with the CIA.

As with any movie in this genre, there are going to be aspects of the story that are a little too much. The scenes with Keira Knightley playing Cathy Muller, she hasn’t married Jack yet, are just too sappy. I just rolled my eyes at the way the two were portrayed as a couple. Also, the American accent that Keira was attempting was just so awkward, thankfully, her dialogue was limited

Do I recommend it? Yes. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has a good plot, unique story, decent acting and minimal annoyances. It is worth your time and money to go check it out.

Similar Viewing:

The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears

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