Jack Ryan is back, this time going to Moscow to stop a Russian radical from collapsing the U.S. economy. 2002’s The Sum of All Fears (with Ben Affleck in the main role) was the last time the Jack Ryan character has seen the big screen. The late Tom Clancy started the successful literary series. Now five films in the film lineup, with Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck all having a slice of the Jack Ryan pie, the film series has a history of reaping box office success (despite mixed critical reviews).
Plot: College-aged Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) decides to join the Marines following the 9/11 attacks. the decision to join leaves him skeptical and wanting more. A helicopter crash leaves him injured, retired from the military, and wondering what to do next. In comes mentor Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner). Harper recruits Ryan into the CIA, having him investigate companies on Wall Street suspected of funding terrorist actions. In the standard action move, Ryan discovers a plan by Russian radicals to collapse the U.S. economy via various transactions. Ryan is tasked with taking down the head of the operation Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh, who also directs) while holding together his complicated relationship with longtime girlfriend Dr. Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley).
Main Point: Everyone loves a good action/spy flick and this film , with it’s standard set of action intense scenes, satisfies that without being to over top.
The Jack Ryan name has been mostly forgotten following a string of successful action films in the past 12 years mostly due to the successful James Bond and Bourne film series. Action packed scenes and witty dialogue keep the viewer’s attention intact during the whole ride of 100 minutes runtime. The starring cast fill their roles well and Branagh, who has previous directed Thor, finds his filmmaking niche. The camerawork is great, shots done well, and the actors know what to do without feeling dull.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a great, solid film. The film’s MLK weekend opening didn’t attract quite the audience it was targeting (most of audience was over 50 rather than 18-25) it still holds well with it’s near 18 million debut opening. Go forth and watch it if you feel an adventurous itch inside or are tired of seeing the standard weepy rom-com’s and parodies this time of year. B+