Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

For a character that was played by four actors, Jack Ryan has struggled to find its footing on the big screen. While it hasn't reached the heights of Ethan Hunt, Jason Bourne and James Bond, he still has a screen presence that screams potential franchise material. If everything goes well for this origin story, Pine might even see himself another big franchise. Despite its little entertaining qualities, the entire movie was underwhelming for an origin story. It fell drastically on climactic parts, and it lacked a thrilling aspect that keeps the flick interesting.

As far as the story goes, Jack Ryan got recruited by the CIA through becoming a desk agent, stationed at Wall St. to see if there are unusual economic activities that may be a threat to national security. When a Russian company raised flags, Ryan was sent to Moscow to do an audit, but instead launched his career as an operative, getting his fiancĂ© Cathy involved when she surprised him with a visit. 

I was expecting the whole production to scream "spy thriller, super awesome sequences" but it didn't. Most of the thrilling parts were either done electronically, or worst, on an escalating climactic scene to turn only into a let down. My favorite scenes were actually of the villains in the forest. The scenes had a sinister mood to it, more than the supposed thriller parts of things.

The direction of the film wasn't bad, but spy thrillers are not Branagh's strong suit. The script was rather weak for a reboot, and there really wasn't much to work with in terms of sequences. It tries to be smart, but it does not bring anything unique or original to the table; the story has been rehashed from time and time again. As far as Jack Ryan goes, Chris Pine does a good job. It might be because this is the first Jack Ryan flick I've seen, but nevertheless, he has the whole spy thing down pat. Despite being a fan of Keira Knightley, I didn't like how her role was delegated, and I'm pretty sure her role would stay the same if subsequent films are produced. Kenneth Branagh has a whole brooding villain to his character, written to have more substance, yet doesn't make much of an impact. 

The reboot of the character was to introduce him with a bit of an origin story, but does it make a good one? It looks like all the cards have been dealt, and subsequent movies would find it a bit difficult to make his character interesting. We know that this Jack Ryan is loyal, and despite being a former Marine, is still in adjustment to his new lifestyle. I would want to see on how they'd fully reboot the character, but as a whole, this left me disinterested with the franchise.

Final Word: It has the elements to make a top notch formulaic spy thriller, but it underwhelms and falls flat.

Cast: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Year: 2014

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