Movie Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Jack Ryan movie poster banner

A disgrace to the late Tom Clancy is what ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ is

The first ever Jack Ryan film that’s not based on any of its novels by the late Tom Clancy, and the first one to be entitled the character name, and perhaps the first one to suck. Some of you might say that I’m a bit too harsh again, but this second reboot of the film franchise is just too generic, with CIA activities that are too awfully familiar. It makes the movie nothing more than just another one-man-show action thriller, and when compared to the others of the same genre like Mission: Impossible, Bourne, etc., you’d have to agree that Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit really sucks.

This “reboot” kicks off with a bit of background on the titular protagonist, played by Star Trek reboot star Chris Pine, where he quits college, joins the marines, gets into a helicopter crash and gradually recovers from disability before getting recruited into the CIA covert operations by the corny William Harper (Kevin Costner) to serve and protect the country. Now, Chris Pine did okay with his role despite lacking of leading man presence. The problem’s that the character is like a highly intelligent superhero, and they tried to be gritty with that? Jack Ryan here does the thinking and the doing and the fighting, basically almost everything and he’s the only one who can do it. And his helicopter crash injury doesn’t affect him at all later on the film (what’s the fucking point of the back story in the beginning then?! Why not make it a brief flashback or dialogue instead?). He’s like a smarter version of James Bond and it’s all apparently because he’s the only person in this CIA team who has a PhD and was in the marines. Right.

Jack Ryan meme feat. Chris Pine and Kevin Costner

While the action sequences, spy activities and one-man-show-hero-come-save-the-United-States sequences are decently entertaining (but easily forgettable), Director Kenneth Branagh’s cliched, weak performance as the Russian villain, Viktor Cherevin, fails to engage, especially when the film’s rated P13, you’d know nothing that bad would happen even when he kidnaps Jack Ryan’s girlfriend Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley) and threatens to harm her with torturous methods.

Chris Pine as Jack Ryan meme

I don’t even want to start with the stupid, cringe-worthy ending where the hero delightfully meets the president like as though he’s gained the stairway to heaven to shake the hand of god. Since the film is not actually adapted from any of Clancy’s novels, they could’ve just came up with a slightly different back story for the protagonist and name him and the movie something else. This does nothing but tarnish Clancy’s brilliant work.

Jack Ryan Chris Pine meme

What I would’ve named the film: “Jack Ryan: Just Another Cliched CIA Movie”

Censorship in Malaysia: F-words intact. It’s P13 so other than the vulgarity, I wouldn’t expect that there’s anything much to chop.

Second opinion: Even my girlfriend felt that the movie was ordinary. She had a lot to say about Keira Knightley’s lips, she believed that they were Botox-ed.

Verdict: Compared to the other similar action thrillers released in the past two decades, this one isn’t that bad. But there’s nothing new about it at all.

Rating: 2 / 5

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Based on: Tom Clancy’s novel series character Jack Ryan
Rated: P13
Genre: Action thriller
Running Time: 100 minutes
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Screenplay by: Adam Cozad, David Koepp
Cast: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner

Synopsis: Follows Jack Ryan (Chris Pine), an ex-Marine turned financial analyst living in Moscow, who uncovers a terrorist plot. Financial wiz Viktor Stazov and the Russian government masterminds a plot to devalue American currency and thus destroy the U.S. economy. Ryan must race against time to save America and his wife (Keira Knightley).

Malaysia Release Date: January 16th 2014
Local Distributor: United International Pictures (UIP) Malaysia
Studio(s): Skydance Productions

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