Perfectly fine is a phrase I say a lot. In fact I get mocked for it on the podcast i do however its all I have when it comes to Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit. Yet another reboot, Jack Ryan is a character that three actors has taken on across four films, the last one was another origin reboot with Ben Affleck which failed to start a new franchise so here we are again. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, it stars Chris Pine as the CIA Analyst who has a knack of getting in out of his depth. In the opening fifth-teen – twenty minutes that could have easily been cut out, we’re given the Jack Ryan origin story that explains he became a marine who because injured on duty. While in hospital he gets recruited by secret government type Kevin Costner as well meeting his future wife Cathy, (Keira Knightley doing an impressive american accent). It’s not that all his stuff isn’t important to the plot but its cut at such a fast pace to get to the main plot that it messes with the rhythm of the rest of the film. Also its nothing that can/could be explained throughout the film anyway.
The plot sees the young Ryan working in the stock market while secretly undercover working for the government. Looking for signs of any possible terrorist attacks, he notices something fishy in the Russian stock market that leads to a dastardly plan to distort the American marking leading to another depression. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a pretty average thriller as it aims for a light Jason Bourne that makes you miss the grit of Patriot Games or the fun political tension of The Hunt for the Red October. Perhaps I just earn for Harrison Ford 90’s Ryan and that makes my opinion biased, however it aims in-between two things. To be smart weighty and dumb and throw away, and it just doesn’t gel together. Branagh does an admirable job in the directors chair making it look slick and handles the action well. His Russian villein also nicely handled. It’s not often you have a bad guy who has a character that is fully rounded with an actual engender other than world domination and he plays it wonderfully without the use of lips. Pine is charismatic as ever and although he plays Ryan true to the score, he never feels like he’s taken ownership of the role. Costner is solid as the go to trusted government official buts its even he fails to make much of an impact. Knightley’s role of Cathy is given a lot more to do here which is nice to see. She plays well off Pine and she does . The decision to get her into the action is well-meant as that role is never really given much to do. In here it comes across as a tad silly and unbelievable, feeling like a retread of True Lies.
I hate to be down about Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, I wanted to have fun with it. At a time of awards season, its seems like a nice fun alternative to period costume dramas. Due to the lack of pacing the film feels dull in whole sections and overall is missing a certain bite that would kick a things in gear some what. Most of all, this doesn’t feel like a Jack Ryan film. I guess it doesn’t really matter as they’ll be another reboot ten years from now..