Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Jack Ryan – Shadow Recruit

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 63% (Critics) / 67% (Audience)
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh
Written By: Adam Cozad and David Koepp
Starring: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley and Kenneth Branagh
Studio: Paramount Pictures

Synopsis:Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack. (Source)

The Good:
Of every performance in this film the one that made the biggest impression on me was Kevin Costner as Ryan’s handler Thomas Harper. Costner brought a world weariness to the role while not losing any of the veteran agent’s skill or effectiveness. An entire movie of this CIA agent taking out some rogue KGB agents would have been a lot of fun.

The Bad:
Alas that was not what we got here. Instead we got an overly earnest boy scout in Pine’s Jack Ryan who spent way too much time typing on laptops and desperately protecting thumb drives to ever be anything more than serviceable as an action hero. And dropping Kiera Knightley in the middle of this to look pretty and be a damsel in distress didn’t add much to the proceedings either.

The Ugly
For an action movie the action was not all that great. Aside from a very Bourne-esque scene early in the movie where Ryan does battle with a behemoth of a bodyguard, nothing really pops in terms of action in this film.

Final Verdict: A pretty much formulaic bit of spy business that attempts to update the Jack Ryan character for the current times but in an age where Jason Bourne has set a great blueprint for thoughtful action and the James Bond franchise has perfected on that blueprint, it is hard to generate much interest in such a staid and run of the mill film as this one. Nothing is particularly bad about JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT but it is sadly not impressive in any way either.

Grade: C-

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