Guess who’s back?
Photo: Courtesy of paramount pictures
Jack Ryan returns in a reboot of an old favourite by adam hawboldt
‘ll never forget the first Jack Ryan movie I watched in theatre. It was Ottawa. The year was 2002. The movie was The Sum of All Fears. Prior to that, I’d seen all the Jack Ryan films — The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games. Clear and Present Danger. But I saw them all on VHS or DVD. And I dug them. There was something about Jack Ryan (whether played by Alec Baldwin or Harrison Ford) that I found compelling. Something in the way they portrayed the reluctant, uber-intelligent hero that appealed to me. So when The Sum of All Fears came out I decided to see it in a theatre. And if you’ve ever seen the movie you’ll know that, at one point in The Sum of All Fears, a nuke is dropped on a football field. The moment that explosion went off I looked around the room and every
a pretty young nurse named Cathy (Keira Knightley) — whom he eventually marries.
last face was frozen in shock. Not a word was spoken. Now, you have realize this wasn’t long after 9/11, and seeing something like that blew people’s hair back. Reminded them of a not-so-distant event that they were still trying to come to terms with. Right. And the only reason I mention this is because Kenneth Branagh’s latest film, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, begins with the destruction of the World Trade Towers being watched on television by Jack Ryan (this time around being played by Chris Pine). Seeing as this is a reboot, a reimagining of Tom Clancy’s vision, Ryan is still a student when 9/11 happens, at the London School of Economics. He doesn’t like what he sees so he enlists in the Marines, gets shot down in a helicopter while on tour in Afghanistan, and meets
The only thing that isn’t good about the movie is the script. It’s too formulaic… Adam Hawboldt
Soon he’s recruited by the CIA (by Kevin Costner, to be precise), and is set up, under cover, as a financial intelligence analyst on Wall Street. He does that for 10 years. Then one day he’s told he’s going to Moscow.
Why? Because there’s a dastardly Russian who is trying to bring about the collapse of the American economy, as well as the destruction of lower Manhattan in a terrorist attack. The bad guy, we later find out, is a scheming oligarch named Viktor Cheverin (played by Branagh, who did double duty as director). Jack Ryan’s goal? To stop Cheverin, naturally. And that’s about as much of the plot as I’m willing to give away at the moment. But rest easy knowing that Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is neither the worst nor the best of the series. The worst was easily The Sum of All Fears. The best, no doubt, was The Hunt for Red October. This one fits in there nicely, right around Patriot Games. Maybe not that good, but close. Pine is solid as Jack Ryan, Costner is good in his role, Knightley and
jack ryan: shadow recruit Kenneth Branagh Starring Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner + Kenneth Branagh Directed by
106 minutes | PG 13
Branagh, too. The only thing that isn’t good about the movie is the script. It’s too formulaic, too predictable. A tweak here and a twist there and who knows how good this movie could’ve been. That said, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is still a decent spy movie. It just won’t blow your hair back.
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Published on Jan 17, 2014