Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Written by Steven Panzarella (@ProCreateSteve)
The Short- A reboot of the Jack Ryan Series (The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears) with Chris Pine taking over the character made famous by Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford. Chock full of spy thriller clichés with a lack of creativity and lack of chemistry between any of the major players. Branagh’s direction is unusually mediocre while his bad guy resembles that of a bad bond villain whose demise is all but guaranteed.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit may not be the best title for a film that brings back a character that had gone on a 12 year hiatus since the Ben Affleck thriller The Sum of All Fears. While Affleck’s film had an excellent cast it still found itself in the land of mediocrity. Shadow Recruit struggles from a lack of chemistry between Chris Pine, Keira Knightly, and Kevin Costner as well as cliché pieces of dialogue that weigh the film down. Shadow Recruit is snail’s pace slow for a plot that is so predictable you may remember seeing aspects of this film before in any top notch spy thriller. David Koepp (Mission Impossible, Angels and Demons) and Adam Cozad’s script is packed with reused dialogue and predictable plot twists that make it a typical spy thriller with not one surprising or mildly fun moment.
The character of Jack Ryan has gone through three different actors and four different films, Chris Pine is a good actor, and he is a great Captain Kirk. Sadly this film is not going to bring back the Jack Ryan series, the chemistry between Pine and Keira Knightly is non-existent and the attempts to have Pine utilize the snarky dialogue that makes him so charming goes by the wayside. It doesn’t help that the very talented Keira Knightley puts on an unconvincing American accent. Knightley who is a skilled performer struggles to convince as Jack Ryan’s doctor turned girlfriend. Kevin Costner takes a big role as Ryan’s CIA handler and mentor who is never fully formed or fully explained, he just exists as the mysterious CIA agent who gives Ryan his marching orders. Finally director Kenneth Branagh helms the film and appears as Viktor Cherevin the films villain. His direction leads to a mediocre film that contains no surprises and not even the action scenes are creative or intense enough to carry the film. Branagh’s Cherevin resembles a bond villain, whose plan is understood and given away half way through only to see it inevitably fail.
The predictability of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is its main failure; if it found a way to add something new to an already exciting genre then maybe it would have been considered a mild success. Shadow Recruit fails in every category and couldn’t even recover in his first weekend at the box office with a fourth place $17.2 million domestic opening. Sadly Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a forgettable January drop in, that contributes nothing new or fun to the spy thriller.
Final Grade- D