This is so confusing! How come Jack Ryan doesn’t look like Han Solo anymore? He looks like Captain Kirk!
Chris Pine stars as Jack Ryan – a mathematical whiz who joined the Marines after 9/11 and became a war hero on top of that. Once back stateside, the mysterious Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner) shows up in Ryan’s life encouraging him to finish his PhD, so he can join the CIA!
A few years later, Ryan is an analyst who might have uncovered something shocking. Ryan has discovered all sorts of weird financial shenanigans which he thinks could be an attempt to crash the U.S. economy. Harper sends the young dude off to Russia to find out more, but what he uncovers is even more shocking than anyone thought.
Is this desk jockey ready to be in the field?
Can he handle the danger?
Can he handle the boredom?
Sitting there watching Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, you are left wondering if everyone involved in this project wishes Jack Ryan would be some American version of James Bond, but they don’t know how to make it sexier, more action-packed and interesting. Maybe Pine could try out a British accent?
Director Kenneth Branagh (who also moonlights as the film’s baddie) is left with a movie that has plenty of scenes where we get to look at computer screens, and that’s not exactly the definition of action-packed. Seriously, right now you are looking at a computer screen and do you feel any danger beyond the fear of spilling your coffee on the keyboard? Are people gathering around you to watch you type on the keyboard? Do you think they would be willing to pay $11 or $12 to watch you sit in front of your computer screen and type?
Unfortunately, that’s much of what your get in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. The writing team takes its sweet time getting to some real action scenes, and don’t do a great job getting us all that involved intellectually. Branagh and the team have to kind of dumb down the plot to keep the audience from feeling like they should have graduated from the London School of Economics to follow along, but we don’t substitute the high minded stuff with something else.
We need more details, more twists, more mystery, and more action to get the audience excited. Branagh finally fires up the action in the last 20 minutes, but how many of us in the audience had given up by then? Or, we needed more stuff blowing up.
Pine is fine as Ryan, but nothing in the movie is all that great of a challenge for him as an actor. It’s a bland performance because it’s a bland movie and a bland script, not anything he did. Same for Costner.
Maybe the next time around, the creative team will get it right. That’s what happened with the Mission: Impossible movies.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action, and brief strong language.