Film Review: Character Reboot ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ Pales as Compared to Masterful Predecessors

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CHICAGO – It’s been 12 years since we’ve seen Tom Clancy’s masterful, Jason Bourne-esque character Jack Ryan in 2002’s “The Sum of All Fears” (led by Ben Affleck), which itself was a character reboot. We first saw Jack in 1990’s “The Hunt For Red October” as Alec Baldwin and then twice in the body of Harrison Ford with 1992’s “Patriot Games” and 1994’s “Clear and Present Danger”.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

Clancy, who died very recently on Oct. 1, 2013, would not be proud of 2014’s reboot of the earlier reboot. “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” is plagued by shallow character depth that doesn’t give the interestingly complicated character justice like his other stories and films based on them do. It’s the first Jack Ryan movie that’s not directly based on one of Clancy’s novels and it suffers because of it.

StarRead Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”.

The thin script, which is the debut from rookie writer Adam Cozad following a previous draft by Hossein Amini (who wrote the brilliant, Oscar-nominated Ryan Gosling film “Drive”), leaves you underwhelmed and disappointed.

Despite lacking in story and character development, it finds saving grace in cinematography and swift action sequences that can glaze your eyes over enough not to consistently offend your thinking. Even then, we see mixed-feeling results when James Bond-like technology competes with someone who’s supposed to be an intellectual action star.

You never get the sense that 2013’s “Star Trek Into Darkness” star Chris Pine is physical enough to take on the role. You also can’t believe that he’s suddenly an economist turned computer hacker. Chris Pine is no Matt Damon or Pierce Brosnan and this version of Jack Ryan is child’s play as compared to all versions of Jason Bourne and James Bond.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit stars Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh, Colm Feore, Lenn Kudrjawizki, Alec Utgoff, Peter Andersson, Elena Velikanova, Nonso Anozie, Seth Ayott and Gemma Chan from director Kenneth Branagh and writers Adam Cozad and David Koepp based on the character created by Tom Clancy. The film opened on Jan. 17, 2014 with a running time of 105 minutes. It is rated “PG-13” for sequences of violence and intense action and brief strong language.

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” review.

Chris Pine in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Chris Pine stars in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”.
Image credit: Paramount Pictures

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” review.

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