Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Movie Review - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)
Starring Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, and Kenneth Branagh
Directed by Kenneth Branagh

I was hoping for some success for the reboot of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan character -- previously played onscreen by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck.  In Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, we see the title character in his infancy in the CIA.  Chris Pine, who previously successfully spearheaded the "rebirth" of the Star Trek franchise, heads the "begin again" here and while I still find him a surprisingly charismatic action star, this flick isn't quite as successful as his journeys with Captain Kirk and Spock.

The biggest issue with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is that the story isn't all that interesting for a movie that attempts to market itself as an action picture.  In the film's prologue, Ryan's Army helicopter is shot down over Afghanistan and after receiving therapy (and meeting his doctor wife played by Keira Knightley in the process) goes on to work at a prestigious stock brokerage on Wall Street.  Little does anyone else know that upon returning home from the war, Ryan was recruited by the CIA to work undercover in the banking industry to uncover crooked dealings from overseas bigwigs.  Ryan uncovers a big red flag concerning Russia and his boss Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner) sends him to Moscow to investigate Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) to figure out just what he's planning on doing with his shady financing.

And that's it.  An action movie about finances.  There are a few moments of tension and there's a long chase scene at the film's end that works but just feels out of place amidst everything else.  Kenneth Branagh proves once again (after the original Thor) that he's a solid director of action pics and I hope that the disappointing returns on this flick don't shy studios away from hiring him in the future.  Chris Pine and the rest of the cast all bring what they can to the table and they certainly keep the audience interested in the goings-on...the problem is that the goings-on just aren't that interesting in the first place.

The RyMickey Rating:  C


  1. A lot of people got on this movie's case, but I didn't see too much wrong with it. It was an alright movie that gave me plenty of time to care for these characters and actually get somewhat invested in this story. Hope they have enough moolah to get a sequel done, but you never know.

  2. First, thanks for reading.

    Second, despite my lukewarm response, I'd hope for a sequel as well, but I'm not holding my breath on that front. I wanted a bit more espionage/action/excitement and it just didn't happen here. I don't think that's a fault of Chris Pine at all, but of the screenwriting which just didn't lend itself to an action piece like I'd expect from the Jack Ryan series of films.