Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

Typical stuff: boy meets girl, boy gets girl involved in top secret mission...

Typical stuff: boy meets girl, boy gets girl involved in classified CIA mission…

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INTRODUCTION. If the name Jack Ryan seemed familiar to you prior to this latest production, then it’s probably because Shadow Recruit isn’t his first onscreen manifestation. Chris Pine finds himself in the (preceding) footsteps of Patriot GamesHunt for the Red October and The Sum of All Fears.

STORY. I’m sorry to say that the reboot simply doesn’t measure up – and it’s a shame too, considering the old and new talents that have come to be a part of it. Branagh has done well enough to create a likeable villain and protagonist but for all its congenial dialogue, Shadow Recruit has a noticeably weak plot. There is nothing original here and little is done to make it thrilling. The story soldiers on like a ghoul of yesteryear Hollywood: American CIA, Russians, tricky espionage, damsels in distress. This is stale stuff and if they ever venture into sequel territory, it had better opt for something more labyrinthine.

CHARACTERS. Chris Pine does a surprisingly solid job of balancing everyday-nice-guy with brilliant-economic-analyst. Pine doesn’t distinguish himself from his other roles in terms of acting ability but he makes Jack Ryan a very amiable, charismatic hero for us to cheer on. Unfortunately the good ends there. What makes me critical about the cast of Shadow Recruit is that they have so much potential to be better developed – frustratingly, the temperaments we have onscreen are (at best) tepid. The film’s saving point is probably its star power, in tandem with a handful of quirky one-liners that serve as desperate attempts to assert a sense of personality.

CONCLUSION. I’ll be honest: this wasn’t worth the ticket price. The trailer for this movie is highly misleading and it’s not that exciting a ride at all. If you simply must quench your thirst for espionage then please be forewarned that you’re likely to leave the theater, parched. 

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CHARACTERS: 4.4/10
STORY: 4/10
REWATCH FACTOR: 2/10
OVERALL: 4/10
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