Monday, 20 January 2014

Film Review: "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" (2014).




“You're not just an analyst anymore, Jack. You're operational now.” Which is what Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit offers this summer. This Russian-American action thriller film is directed by and co-starring Kenneth Branagh and featuring the Jack Ryan character created by Tom Clancy. It is the fifth in the Jack Ryan film series and is also a reboot that departs from the previous installments. Unlike its predecessors it is not an adaptation of a particular Tom Clancy novel, but rather an original story. In this scenario, Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.

The film stars Chris Pine in the title role, Keira Knightley as Cathy Muller (Ryan's fiancé), Kevin Costner as Thomas Harper and Kenneth Branagh as Viktor Cherevin, the film's main antagonist. The performances in this film were all superbly acted. Pine stars in the title role, becoming the fourth actor to play Ryan, following Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck. He delivered a great portrayal of the character, he had the gritty attitude of Ford, the boy scout, good looks of Affleck, but he reminded me the most of Baldwin when the character was introduced for the first time to the world. As Pine's portrayal is to a whole new generation. Pine once again demonstrates what a solid, convincing actor he is. He injected a commanding sense of decency and humanity to the role of CIA analyst Jack Ryan, making it his own. Under taut direction from Kenneth Branagh (who also plays the Russian heavy), Pine is convincing as a character who is pushing papers one day and dodging assassins in Moscow the next. Knightley gave a brilliant portrayal after inheriting the role after Gates McFadden in The Hunt for Red October (1990), Anne Archer in Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994), and Bridget Moynahan in The Sum of All Fears (2002). In here we get to see the early stage of the relationship and romance between Cathy and Jack before the latter stages in the previous subsequent films. Costner gave a great performance as the CIA agent Thomas Harper, Jack's mentor. Lastly, Branagh as the film's central villain Viktor Cherevin. He gave a terrific performance as I genuinely felt that he was Russian due to preparation and dedication for the role. He spoke flawless Russian for the role, which amazed me. No wonder why he is one of the great actors and directors of his background and generation.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit delights in an almost boyish way in the trappings of power: Russian villains and weapons of mass destruction, flags, ceremonies and political double-speak. However, the film is all plot and not enough characters. The people running around on screen have about as much depth as the sheen of sweat on Chris Pine's forehead. Jack Ryan is not much impressive himself. He's somewhat disgustingly virtuous: a flawless fighter for good and justice, a Superman without the cape. I spent half the movie wondering if this guy was ever going to show anything to mark him as vaguely human. But the film does offer a reasonably sleek and diverting reboot to the long dormant franchise.

Simon says Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit receives:


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