Film Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

My expectations going into see Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit were set at mediocre and I have to say my expectations were met.

The latest film by Kenneth Branagh is based on a series of novels by American writer Tom Clancy in which Ryan, played by Chris Pine has to fend of a terrorism threat from the ever so reliable and conniving Russians.

Pine patriotically joins the marines after witnessing the 9/11 attacks before he is injured in the field and unable to continue. He then falls in love with his physio-therapist, Keira Knightley and is convinced by Kevin Costner to join him at the CIA.

The film then unfolds into a predictable and frankly unoriginal spy thriller in which pine tries to stop Russian Oligarch Viktor Cherevin, played by director Branagh, from blowing up America and it’s stock market.

The film suffers from a bad case of mediocrity offering no real surprises by way of the plot with a drab mixture of running and shooting along with a terrorism plot that never really convinces you, made even more dull by an uninspiring cast.

Chris Pine is a perfectly fine actor from what I’ve seen in the Star Trek films but he can’t quite grasp the gritty Jason Bourne-esque nature of his role here and plays out a rather forgettable lead role.

Keira Knightley on the other hand I have never been particularly convinced by as an actress and this film and a half-hearted attempt at an American accent by Knightley does nothing to change that view.

Costner does what he can with the limited role he is given but even he can’t do much in the way of adding some much needed spark. Not that the cast have much to rely on with the script being a dull blend of cliche threats and exchanges.

Had the film been a bit more bold and adventurous with a some well delivered twists and more complex characters then there would be more to shout about however it sadly follows the same old stereotypical path of spy thrillers.

I imagine Branagh sitting at a desk with a checklist of a good-looking heroic American, an evil plotting Russian, a romantic sub-plot and a few fist fights all ticked and thinking “yep, we’ve got ourselves a movie.”

The films best scene comes with Knightley and Branagh flirtatiously exchange pleasantries over dinner, while Pine is busy breaking into his computer. Lots of the action pieces are also obviously well shot also and will offer a briefly entertaining popcorn thriller for an audience not entirely hell bent on finding a film that reinvents the action-thriller genre.


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