A best-selling author’s name attached to a big budget box office adaptation doesn’t promise a smash hit. On the New York Times bestseller list, the stories about Tom Clancy’s popular character were well received. At the box office, this film reboot, not so much. Fortunately, the latter nearly always guarantees, it will be a hit at my house.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) Film Review
Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) is hailed a hero. His post 9/11 enlistment in the Marines ends when he pulls two fellow Marines out of a downed, burning helicopter and suffers serious injuries as a result. There’s a question of the likelihood of him ever being able to properly walk again, but in his therapy and recovery at Walter Reed and even trhough a lingering back injury, he does recover.
aftermath, he’s approached by Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner), a Navy man whose
career relies on secrets. There solely for the purpose of recruiting Jack, ten
years later, Jack finishes his education, is engaged to the woman (Keira
Knightley) he loves, and is working as an analyst for the CIA where he monitors
the possibility of terrorist attacks.
When he notices account irregularities in a Russian entity, he’s sent to Moscow to uncover the truth behind the anomalies, only to realize that the enemy (Kenneth Branagh) they’re up against already anticipates their opening move.
I’m not entirely sure why so many consider this a snooze fest; at least this is the standard of most reviews I see. Sure, it uses typical twists and turns, and has a typecast (?) Chris Pine, however, I really like all of this… normalness. To begin, the cast is a great mix of talent and I enjoy meeting a new kick butt kind of hero, only instead of being a Jason Bourne operator, this guy is more “human” in that he does have limitations – and he isn’t “operational.”
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There’s a kind of quality to this character (something I cannot put my finger on) that we relate to. This is to say nothing of the interactions (even when they were fighting) between Jack and Cathy, which are darling. There’s a good sense of patriotism involved also, which is a surefire way to pull me into the script and keep me entwined in its excitement and the push-and-pull of its good vs. bad plot line.
Combining with that are some fabulous action sequences, which keeps the latter half of the film hopping. What’s nice is the lead-in to the climax is more mental suspense than full of action, this allows for less confusion or distracting explosions, plus the lack of an overlong freeway chase makes for a tight and tense, but not overlong conclusion that; too many film’s end need to be cut by 5-10 minutes. But, of course, following protocol, the writer’s do pull one last trick out of their hat and it works well enough to wrap up the story.
If you like films like The Bourne series or any of the blockbuster films in this genre, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is worth considering. Origin stories can be tough, however it’s how we meet Jack, and how he reacts to life-and-death situations that sets him apart from the norm and if that’s the only reason, it’s a (more) unique way to justify the changes in an oft-retold script.
(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Read the disclosure page for details.)You can find Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit on DVD through Amazon; it’s also digitally available to rent or buy on Amazon Video. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) Click To Tweet
Content Note: there is some violence [a body is seen badly burned, other characters are shot and there are three crashes, one involves a bomb in the back of the vehicle]. An unmarried couple lives together [there’s one scene of them talking lying in bed together], profanity consists of sh*t, misuse of God’s name and an f-word. The film is PG13.