Movie Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit(2014)

The first official movie review of 2014. I am in touch with what is recent but this is the first time since Catching Fire that I am seeing a movie opening weekend. I would take time to have reviewed The recent Hobbit but, well..later.


Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writers: Adam Cozad, David Koepp, Tom Clancy(based on his books)
Stars: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh

Russia.Let’s start with saying that Russia is the center of a lot of plots. Russia usually plays the bad guy. The last DIE HARD movie?(never saw it) ahh.. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 4, which was incredible, had Russia as the bad guy and they even go into the Kremlin. I was thinking maybe THE PEACEMAKER as well was Russians having the nuclear weapons. I think Hollywood and its writer’s think the world really will involve Russia at the helm of all imminent disaster, and they actually might be on to something(but still don’t forget about the Middle East) The list goes on but in this reboot of Jack Ryan Chris Pine is found with having some room to replay a character we already love.

Plot/Overview: The previous four Jack Ryan movies(HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER,CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, PATRIOT GAMES AND SUM OF ALL FEARS). Chris is the fourth actor to play Jack Ryan and in light of Tom Clancy dying recently, it seems to be even more relevant to do this movie. Shadow Recruit goes back to the early days of Jack Ryan, studying economics in London. In light of September 11th Jack gets patriotic and becomes a marine. In route to Afghanistan his helicopter gets shot down and he saves two lives as well as his own but is given a tough chance of ever walking again. In rehab Jack meets his future girlfriend, Cathy Muller(Keira Knightley). He does humorously call her a sadist and says he hates her but only because, at that point, he couldn’t walk. In his recovery Thomas Harper(Kevin Costner) recruits him to work for the CIA as a covert financial analyst. The story skips ahead 10 years later and Jack is doing exactly as he is told. “Its gonna get lonely, but that’s how we like it,” Thomas tells him. His girlfriend doesn’t know what he does. The plot picks up to reveal that Russia is trying to crash the U.S. economy. Jack says it will be the second great depression. He goes to Moscow to try to fix what he sees to be the problem. This is when the action happens. Viktor Cherevin, played by the director of the film, Kenneth Branagh. Is at the helm of the U.S. terrorist plot. And, as revealed by Cathy, he has an imminent death approaching. All bad guys want to go down in their destructive plots and schemes as doing something worth remembering before they die. He says a very key line, he says, “regret stacks up like old books you don’t read!” In America, we say it more like, a potential terrorist is a terrorist, so lets go blow up some countries to get rid of all of them( ha ha, just kidding!)


Jack Ryan in the past movies was at an older stage in his life. In the Harrison Ford ones he is married and has at least a daughter(if I remember right) but here Jack is at the very beginning of discovering the difference of analyzing something and then holding a gun and having to kill someone. He almost dies when he gets driven to the hotel. His girl finds out about him and the CIA. I mean, you have to tell the girl eventually.

The plot leads them back to America where Viktor’s son takes a bomb and tries to detonate near Wall Street. Jack Ryan to the rescue and played by with a sweet motor cycle sequence he stops the bomb. He is not just analyzing now, he was being fully operational.

Lines and Final Thoughts
Chris Pine had said in a Men’s Fitness article that the physical stuff of the film were easy for him. He said that the challenge of playing this character was that the audience needs to see you think.

And I think you see him think. I think knowledge and action play off each other well in this film. So many times action films just have cool action with no depth in the actual reason behind an evil menace doing what he is doing. I think you care in this film. And these characters let you care for them and care for America. It doesn’t matter what party you are apart of. The point is that America will always do what we have to to stay safe and if that means killing the terrorist then that is what we will do. And in this film, Viktor, actually dies by the hand of his own Russian friend. Or, maybe not so much of a friend, after he had failed.

Good Lines I liked
His boss tells him, “We are on a luxury yacht, don’t sink us!”-

Viktor says, “You Americans are just rude, he says you Russians like to think of yourselves as poets perhaps you are just touchy.”

Viktor says,”Regret piles up like books you haven’t read.”

Viktor says that Jack Ryan is dangerous!

Thomas finds out that Jack told Cathy and he says, “No, this is not couple’s therapy!”

I have great trust that after loving both Star Trek and this film that Chris Pine is becoming a new male figure in the spotlight. Ryan Gosling might have his demented art house thing going on(partially quoting Chris in that article saying the art house part on Gosling) but I tend to like Chris Pine way more because he isn’t mopey or walking around with something hanging over his shoulder. He is tough. He is human. He is becoming someone we will like in the future. So, see it to believe it!


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