Alright time for my Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit review, my first new film of 2014! Now this is a film I’ve been looking forward to for a while now since the time I saw the first trailer. While I know nothing of the history of the character or adaptations that have come before, I liked the tone of the trailers and the cast involved so I hoped for something good. So what’s the end result like? Well read on and find out!
So the story involves a young covert CIA analyst called Jack Ryan, who uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.
The plot of the film is pretty good and has some unique traits, but for the most part it was just decent. The film starts out interestingly enough with Jack Ryan’s history, but it does take a little for the film to get going and find its feet with the main plot involving. What I like in any thriller is when they’re really smart but the film kinds a way to make the viewer understand it too so you don’t feel like you’re on the outside or just feel like an idiot. In this film there’s a lot of smart talk, but it just went over my head, felt like technical jargon that only smart people would comprehend. Annoyingly I had hoped for more, considering the history of this franchise I feel like it could have been the next Bourne series if handled correctly (obviously not that high in calibre but still good enough to be its own unique brand of spy/action thriller).
As for the cast they were good, but some were better than others. The best person in this film by far is Chris Pine as Jack Ryan. He commits to the role and you believe in his character and it is nice to see him in something that isn’t Star Trek, that being said there were moments where I gone Captain Kirk vibes from him. Anyways, Pine fits well into an action role like this and I think if this film is the start of a new series and he could grow into the character and make it his own in future instalments. Kevin Costner is also good as Thomas Harper, Costner works well in an authoritative role and was funny, cool and I’d like to see him in more police/FBI kind of roles. Kenneth Branagh as Viktor Cherevin is where characters start to get a bit iffy. I love Branagh both as an actor and director and I can see what he was going for in the role and sometimes he achieves being cold, intimidating and passive-aggressive, but other times his villain role seems a bit forced or generic. At points in the film I like I wanted the villain to be Mads Mikkelsen, but as Le Chiffre from Casino Royale, now that would have been awesome. But the weakest person in the main cast is Keira Knightley as Cathy Muller. I don’t what it is about this woman, but I don’t like her, i never have. Her facial expressions are weird and awkward, her acting in this film isn’t that convincing at points, I wasn’t keen on her character very much and I feel like Cathy could have been played by anyone because there wasn’t much chemistry going on with Knightley and Pine.
Presentation-wise things are okay, but nothing to write home about. The fights, shoot-outs and driving sequences are good, but I have been spoiled with better in the past. But there is one cool-looking explosion which was nice, I like me some nice explosions. 🙂 The soundtrack by Patrick Doyle is definitely different from a lot of the other work he has done and it has some nice moments here and there, but it isn’t nearly as memorable as some of his previous film scores.
In conclusion Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a decent action thriller which has some interesting ideas, nice moments of action and a great central performance from Chris Pine. The problem is that I wanted more, and I felt like if the script and story were a bit more complex, the action set-pieces were more memorable and if some of the cast members had been switched around this film could have been so much better. I think the work people will take away from this film is “average”. It is worth a watch, but if you have high expectations just lower them a bit.
Rating: 6.5/10 (It was good, but nothing special)
So what did you think of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Until the next time people, laters. 😀