Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

2013 | Kenneth Branagh

Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.

Average rating   7 out of 10

(4.94) Breach | (4.43) Salt | (4.21) Anna | (3.61) Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation | (3.11) American Assassin

Carsten Sørensen     2015-01-30 7 out of 10

This is the fifth installment in the Jack Ryan franchise. It is also the second reboot of the Jack Ryan universe (the first reboot was The Sum Of All Fears from 2002).

The movie takes place in the present (2013/2014), but feels much like a cold war thriller. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has a patriotic edge (the Americans are the good guys and the Russians are the bad guys). Some people might not like the American patriotism in the movie, but I think it works quite well (Jack Ryan joins the marines because of the terrorist attack against World Trade Center in 2001).

Chris Pine plays Jack Ryan, who works as a financial analyst and is recruited for the CIA. Keira Knightly plays Jack Ryans’s doctor girlfriend. Kevin Costner is the guy who recruits Jack Ryan for the CIA. Kenneth Branagh is the Russian villain. This is a strong cast, and I was not disappointed by any of the actors’ performances.

Chris Pine is charismatic as the young Jack Ryan, but he is not nearly as good as Alec Baldwin (The Hunt For Red October) and Harrison Ford (Patriot Games, Clear And Present Danger). Ben Affleck (The Sum Of All Fears) is still the worst Jack Ryan in my book. Kenneth Branagh’s role in this movie is really thin (standard Russian bad guy), but he plays the part really well. Kevin Costner is also good as Jack Ryan’s mentor. Keira Knightly is also quite convincing as Jack Ryan’s girlfriend.

Most of the movie takes place in Moscow and makes good use of the city’s environment. The movie is pretty predictable, but feels tight and well directed (by Kenneth Branagh). This is a better movie than A Good Day To Die Hard which also was shot in the Russian capital.

Although the movie is pretty action packed, the ending is too much over the top (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit suddenly feels like an unrealistic Bond movie). 
I am a sucker for cold war like movies, so I also like this one. The Hunt For Red October (1990), Patriot Games (1992) and Clear And Present Danger (1994) are all superior to Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, but this movie is still better than The Sum Of All Fears (2002).

Unlike its processors, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is not based on a specific Tom Clancy book. However, the movie still contains plot elements from the books. I do not consider this a problem, but I guess that die hard Jack Ryan fans will disagree (I did not read any of the books).

I would like to see more Jack Ryan movies in the future.

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