English Film review
An slow-to-fire Exciting Espionage thriller
Film: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit(English)
Cast: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Kiera Knightly
Director: Kenneth Brannagh
Rating: * * *
A fast paced generic espionage thriller that generates excitement without resorting to cheap thrills.
This reboot of the famous character created by the late Tom Clancy is almost aggressively generic, an uninspired action thriller that aims to get only the most basic job done—reintroducing a character-the titular one of course.
After a prologue establishing Ryan’s patriotism (he enlists in the Marines after seeing news coverage of the 9/11 attacks while attending school in London) and the injury he gets while serving in Afghanistan, Ryan is recruited into the CIA by William Harper (Kevin Costner, ever the straight shooter), who admires his Boy Scout forthrightness. Ten years later, Ryan works covertly at a high-end Wall Street firm and suspects a potential terrorist and economic disaster in the form of a shady Russian company headed by Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh, who also directs). Ryan juggles this threat with a more personal one, as his longtime, in-the-dark girlfriend (Keira Knightley) becomes impossible to shake even as he travels to Moscow to figure out what Cheverin’s master plan is, in Russia and abroad. In the blink of an eye you’ve covered the very basics of more than a decade of Jack Ryan’s life, which is the approach “Shadow Recruit” takes with everything.
Every obstacle Jack runs into is dealt with fairly handily, even those that seem well out of his depth, such as his first hand-to-hand encounter with a beefy bodyguard hired by Cherevin to kill. .) . the rest of the fight sequences are expectedly uninspiring. The movie is full of huge leaps and skips. The action is not typical of a big ticket movie, it’s sedate in it’s unspooling and comes up with tension only when the stakes are high.
The script is rooted in a Cold War-style conflict and yet, nothing about the threat feels particularly present or immediate. The fervor and passion for violence is distinctly missing. At a moderate running time of 105 minutes, the film plays out it’s cards in steady succession without causing any major flutter or generating untoward excitement.The twists have played out in many a spy thriller, the characters are mostly the stock ones dragged out for such occasions, the plot could have been ripped straight out of a film made thirty years ago. Branagh doesn’t really do anything too fancy with the direction of this film. That Branagh makes it all hang together is perhaps the most impressive thing about this well-intentioned but not particularly successful reboot.