Movies Movie Review: JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT written by Bob Foster January 18, 2014 JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT is another attempt to reestablish the late Tom Clancy’s popular literary hero as a film franchise. Like 2002’s THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, this film doesn’t relate to the 90’s series of THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, PATRIOT GAMES, and CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER; choosing to start fresh. Unfortunately, aside from some well shot action sequences the film is an underwhelming, generic spy thriller brought down by fuzzy plot reasoning and the massive logic gaps of both the CIA and the (Russian Wall Street?) villains. Most of the plot mechanics are met with a loud cry of “WHY?”. Starting with a very murky reason to send Jack Ryan to Russia, after a series of smaller expository scenes to set up Ryan (becoming a Marine after 9/11, why he works for the CIA on Wall Street), little of which actually matters. Later, we’re told it’s blocked account access from Russia via Kenneth Branagh’s heavy. Instead of being intrigued, we’re left wondering why. The interactions between Ryan and Badguysovich are so blatantly obvious that at first I thought it was on purpose (neither side wanting to be the first to be direct), but nope, when the revelations happen it’s a surprise to all involved. Their stupidity prevents any tension from being built. There’s one example so large that I had to include it (under spoilers at the end). Then there’s the plot. It has to do with financial wheeling and dealings of some bankers in Russia… or something. The financial villainy on display here is simply not interesting. It ultimately comes across as a bunch of money-babble and I can see the majority of viewers being left behind in the “what is happening?… what’s his plan?” sludge. Perhaps all the above would be more acceptable if those responsible weren’t so talented. Branagh is absolutely fantastic actor and a more than capable director. His THOR had its issues, but those mainly arose from the plotting, not the direction. Here, everything is very cut and dry. If it’s not an action scene just point and shoot. There are only a handful of action sequences, but all shot well. You’re able to follow them and they’re enjoyably intense. The bathroom fight featured prominently in the trailer is clever and tough without being overly so. The villain is very underwhelming to the point of never actually feeling like a big bad. He seems more on the first level of the Bad Guy Chain ™. He’s working for someone, but it’s barely touched on and unnecessary to the plot. On the CIA side, Pine is a capable actor but he’s not given a lot to work with, mostly reacting to others. There is a fantastic bit after the bathroom fight, his first kill, that brings a humanity to Jack Ryan as he is very upset and can’t stop shaking. Unfortunately, by the next scene that’s all gone. Kevin Costner seems bored. Keira Knightley as Ryan’s fiancee sinks the film like a leaden weight. Her American accent verges on valley girl at the end of sentences and her character simply isn’t likable. She drags any momentum out of scenes and her line reads are just awful. I cannot give JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT my recommendation. Skip the theater, catch up on Oscar nominations instead. It isn’t a directly bad movie, just a misfire of blandness. It seems like the script by the David Keopp and first timer Adam Cozad is where the issues lie. A handful of well made action sequences don’t do enough to drive the plot to greater interest in tension. At least at 1 hour 45 minutes, the already meager plot isn’t stretched thinner. ****SPOILERS FOLLOW**** After a car chase full of threats by Branagh to the captured Knightley, the chase is ended when Pine somehow causes the armored vehicle to stop by smashing a corner of it with a lead pipe, Pine reclaims his fiancée and the CIA just leaves the villain there. Yup, despite having the proof of his plan and knowing he is needed to pull it off, they sit back and let it almost happen. Why did they do this? So there is a USA based finale. There is no reason why the CIA can’t just put a bag over his head and drag him away. In my showing, there was a collective confusion shared by the audience when he was shown to be a-okay after this scene. Movie Review: JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT was last modified: February 21st, 2016 by Bob Foster Related Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit 3 comments 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Bob Foster previous post Comic Book Review- RAT QUEENS: Issue #4 next post MMM Podcast #159: The F Word You may also like Open Forum: JUPITER ASCENDING February 5, 2015 MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Reveals First Poster July 23, 2014 Film Review: GRAVITY October 3, 2013 Retro Review: The Muck Encrusted Beauty of... October 31, 2014 Jeff Robinov Exiting Warner Bros. June 20, 2013 Katniss Takes Aim In The Final Poster... 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Is it perfect? Nope and is it as good as Bourne or Bond? Nope However I see a lot of potential for the franchise. Yep, I agree the film setup a situation where they both know the others real intentions, but doesn’t pay or off. I thought the villain was a bit weak overall. That being said I still came out the cinema happy (Not the first time, silly Earthquake) and had the feeling a sequel could easily iron out the kinks to make this a great movie franchise.