“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” In Review

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”

Release Date: Friday January 17th, 2014

Run Time: 105 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action, and language.

Cast: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley

Chris Pine.  That’s all you really need to know.  Review over.

Moviegoers who enjoy formulaic spy action films will inevitably flock to theaters this weekend for the much anticipated “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”, which opened for wide release on Friday.  The movie, which is based off of the character created by author Tom Clancy (The Hunt For Red October, Clear And Present Danger), follows the life of CIA analyst Jack Ryan who unexpectedly finds himself thrust into a covert operation where his actions determine the fate of The United States of America.

“Shadow Recruit”  is fifth in a series of movies based on the Jack Ryan character.  Actor Chris Pine (well known for his role as Captain Kirk in the modern “Star Trek” series) follows in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin (“The Hunt For Red October”), Harrison Ford (“Patriot Games” and “Clear And Present Danger”), and Ben Affleck (“The Sum Of All Fears”) and gives a performance that does not disappoint.  Unlike his predecessors, the latest in the Jack Ryan series is based solely off of the character and not a specific book giving the screenplay writers the rare opportunity to develop their own story.  The only problem is that, beyond the initial backstory of the character, they simply don’t.

Where writers Adam Cozad and David Koepp succeed in the creation of “Shadow Recruit” is that they took time to develop their version of Jack Ryan’s backstory (something we haven’t seen in previous films based off of the character).  By doing so, the authors introduce the audience to the compassionate, more relatable side of Ryan.  In the film, moviegoers are reminded of the horrors Americans faced in September 2011 and how that impacted the lives of many young men and women who joined the military shortly thereafter dedicating their lives in service to their country.  The audience is then reminded of the sacrifice that so many soldiers made overseas in an effort to stop terrorism.  From there, Jack Ryan’s character is truly born.  The remainder of the film, which very much followed the traditional formula for its genre, was well played by the entire cast.  Although predictable in nature, it’s a great film.

If you’re into well scripted action movies with a great cast, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy all 105 minutes of this film. Overall, on my scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is the worst, 5 is the best, and 10 is the worst again, I give “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” a 4.275 with an emoticon base sub ranking of “You get ‘them terrorists, Ryan!”.


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