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Monday, January 20, 2014

Movie Review - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit  $$$ 1/2


105 Minutes
Starring: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, and Kenneth Branagh.
Director: Kenneth Branagh.

            Based on the characters created by Tom Clancy, I classify Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit as a reboot to the series. This is definitely an origins story for Jack Ryan. As reboots go, I think it was successful.
            In reaction to the 9/11 attack, the brilliant Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) quits college and joins the military. He is quickly sidelined when he is injured during a mission. During his recovery he meets the lovely future Mrs. Ryan, Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley), and is then recruited by Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner) to join the CIA.
            Jump forward a few years and Jack, in his cover job on Wall Street, has uncovered a series of financial transactions that he believes are part of a plot to destroy the US economy and possibly the prelude to a massive war. Harper sends him to Moscow to uncover evidence of the plot.
            The situation quickly turns into a full-scale espionage mission that places Cathy in jeopardy and has the fate of the United States teetering on the outcome.
            If this is what we can expect from Kenneth Branagh with this series, then sign me up for more. I expect Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit to do well in the theaters.

            1. Fun – Branagh really nailed the suspense scenes. I found myself on the edge of the seat as Jack chased bad guy, Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh), through the streets of Moscow. I was equally entertained as I watched Cathy dupe Viktor as he attempted to seduce her at a restaurant. For fully capturing my attention, I gave the film a full MB.  

            2. Story – This is a solid story. However, there is a bit of having seen it all before. A brilliant young man is recruited into the espionage business, has his personal life dragged into the middle of his mission, and triumphs over the intelligent and resourceful villain. And the writers did a competent job with it. The standard story line only rates a half MB from me.  

            3. Technical – The cinematography on this film was good. It had a few explosions, a well executed car chase, and the rest of the standard effects that go into an espionage film. It looked like action/thriller and as such earned a full MB.  

            4. Acting – Chris Pine is good as the new Jack Ryan. I enjoy his acting skills and he didn’t let me down here. Keira Knightley did more than play Jack Ryan’s love interest; she put enough character into her character to make it stand on its own. I enjoyed Kevin Costner. But the scene I enjoyed best involved Kenneth Branagh as he portrayed the charming side of the villain. The secondary cast also did well. The acting deserved a full MB for this film.  

            Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit gets 3 ½ Movie Bucks. I don’t know how necessary it is to see it on the big screen, but it certainly is worth experiencing it at a first run theater near you.

                        Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.




  1. While it definitely isn't memorable, it's a good time no less, and I don't see much wrong with that at all. Nice review Randy.

    1. I think we are definately on the same page with this movie.