Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Isn’t it strange that Tom Clancy died, and within the next two days, they released the first trailer for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit?

Isn’t it strange that this is the first Jack Ryan movie to be made not actually based on any of Tom Clancy’s books, just the character itself, as a sort of reboot?

Skydance Productions certainly has some questions it needs to answer…

You can run Skydance, but you can’t hide. Tell us what you did with Clancy!

In this story, Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) was working on his PhD in Economics in London when 9/11 happened. Filled with patriotism, he decided to enlist in the marines, stopping his PhD, to help save freedom. Unfortunately, he faces an injury in Afghanistan and gets booted out early, but not before proving himself to be a hero.

After a long time in rehab, he is asked to join the CIA by Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner). He doesn’t want to make him an agent. He just wants him to finish his PhD, work on Wall Street, and monitor things in case terrorists plan to hijack Wall Street or use its money for terrorism or…something. Pretty simple. He also starts dating his physical therapist Cathy (Keira Knightley), because that is totally okay.

Turns out, years later, Jack actually finds something and becomes important@ Good old Russia is not only planning a terrorist attack, but an economical attack at the same time to bring us back to the Great Depression era and cause riots throughout the country! Ah, Russia. I missed you as a villain. Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) is a proud Russian man, and will do anything to help his country through their times of woe. So of course he is willing to carry out this plan for them.

Darn it. Now Jack has to become operational, no longer just sitting as a desk job. He has to fight for his life! All the while his girlfriend is freaking out that he kept the CIA a secret. Clearly she just wasn’t as patriotic as Jack.

You have to be super patriotic to leg kick a black man.

On an unrelated note, I realize that Jack Ryan is an established and long running character, but I am tired of Jack being used as the main character name in movies. Last year we got Jack The Giant SlayerJack Reacher, and Oblivion, which said Jack about thirty times in the trailer alone. I am all Jack-ed out. I am pretty sure no one is named Jack anymore.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ended up being better than I thought. Honestly, the trailers made it look a bit ridiculous, and almost implied that they were trying to play him off as some sort of super human with a huge brain and brawn. I guess I didn’t give enough credit to Branagh, who directed Thor, and also starred as the main villain in his own movie. That has got to be a cool feeling.

The thriller aspects for the movie are what really did it for me. They really wanted this to be a smart, intellectual thriller, kind of spy versus spy kind of deal. So they made the main character and villain smart. They had great chemistry together, a sort of battle of wits.

But I also left feeling that it all wrapped up too easily and too nicely. There was only one real “spy like” point in the movie, everything else was basically your standard mindless action. The villain lost far too easily.

If this turns into an official rebooted franchise, I do hope they replace Pine. I didn’t actually hat him in the role, but he was the fourth person to play the role in five movies, so I’d rather keep the actor carousel going.

2 out of 4.

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