Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

jack ryan

As far as I can remember, the 2014 movie featuring the intelligent Jack Ryan (Chris Pine), is my first encounter with this rather famous CIA operative who has been in many movies before Shadow Recruit. Taking this into account, my review of the newest addition to the list of films featuring this character, created by Tom Clancy, is going to be based solely on the movie itself: and it ain’t as bright as Chris Pine’s blue eyes.

Part of me made the decision to watch Jack Ryan because I knew it wouldn’t be as entertaining and as amazing as something that is (clearly an awesome train of thought right there) but I needed to break the good-review-streak. Looking at the sidebar, all the movies have either a popcorn (4/5) rating or the highest one possible – it’s getting a bit dull up here, guys, I really need to say bad things, it just needs to be done!

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is one of those movies that doesn’t really entertain nor does it present anything new or interesting. Chris Pine as Ryan goes through various stages in his life/career and it is shown on the screen almost in real time – seriously, the slowest paced action/thriller movie I’ve seen in years and though it sometimes works, even adds extra qualities to a movie, it didn’t really pay off here! The plot never really escalated, the twist was predictable and the villain was disappointing and the thing that bothered me the most, Ryan’s girlfriend/fiance Cathy (Keira Knightley).

Based on that rant, it seems I didn’t really like anything in Jack Ryan but that’s not completely true, I did enjoy Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner), the older, wiser and properly skilled CIA agent, who recruited Ryan. That being said, I think I enjoyed him because I hadn’t seen Costner in a while and it was nice to see him in action, though there wasn’t much action for him, nor in the whole movie to be honest.  Now, I read that Jack Ryan’s character didn’t use much violence but mostly his brains, so it makes sense if there wasn’t a lot of action and more computer nerd stuff but the balance was all off!

jack ryan still

I don’t necessarily do titles but the image above really needs one, for example, Jack Ryan is as bored of this as I was. Anyway, Jack Ryan seemed like a skilled marine who was able to kill, fight and ride motorcycles like any CIA agent but there wasn’t much brains shown. The only sequences of that seemed to be small hints towards his intelligence and that really wasn’t enough. For a character who sounds unique on paper, he really didn’t come off as special and Chris Pine really didn’t charm his way out of this one.

What bothered me the most, was the fact that I suddenly got an urge to watch The Bourne Identity somewhere in the middle of Shadow Recruit. Does that seem like a good movie when one wants to watch a different spy/agent run around and hit people? Probably not but seriously, how good was Bourne, right? That was a movie that started with a mystery, continued to be interesting, had a lot of fast scenes, not so many breaks of action and all around awesome. Something that Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit never achieved and didn’t seem to try either.

The director, Kenneth Branagh also played the, surprise-surprise, Russian villain Viktor. I get it, Russia is big and lots of villains come especially from there but seriously, isn’t it time to expand, go a bit further because I’m slightly tired of this typical scenario of Russia being the bad guy. Though, the positive surprise was hearing proper sounding Russian quite a lot, due to the casting choices but Branagh himself definitely wasn’t a typical Russian. That being said, the dinner table scene between Branagh and Knightley was probably my favorite in the entire movie – pretty much the most thrilling one I guess.

So what was the movie about exactly? Who knows and who cares, because though I didn’t grant it the lowest of scores, I mean it did have some sort of structure to it, I was not impressed nor entertained. Then again, I knew it was going to happen, I was prepared for that and I guess it’s my own fault. Lastly, despite the failure of this spy movie, it was nice to see Pine’s baby blue eyes.



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