Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit


Watchable only because of the stellar cast.

FILM: When it comes to espionage thrillers, Matt Damon as Jason Bourne (The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum) is iconic for me.

That said, it is understandable for fans of the genre to have certain expectations of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit as it boasts the stellar casting of Kenneth Branagh, who is also the director, Chris Pine, Kevin Costner and Keira Knightley. Oh, and it is based on a character created by Tom Clancy.

But it is more a case of smoke and mirrors than actual edge-of-your-seat thrills. And the story- line is a bit of a stretch of the imagination.

The opening shot is of Jack Ryan, as a student, watching the 9/11 attacks on television. Next, he is in the army and is injured in a crossfire in Afghanistan.

While recovering, he is approached by CIA official Thomas Harper (Costner), who thinks Jack’s analytic abilities could be useful to them.

Ten years later, Jack, now dating Cathy Muller (Knightley), who helped him in rehab, is working as a compliance officer on Wall Street.

When he spots an anomaly with their partnered Russian organisation, run by Viktor Cherevin (Branagh), and links it to a possible terrorist attack, Jack finds himself operating as an active agent in Moscow. Working with Thomas, they work hard to foil the attack on the US, which would have crippling economic ramifications.

Although the high-tech gadgets in the film are quite nifty, the action scenes are run-of-the-mill.

Knightley’s character is more irritating than pleasantly distracting. Branagh makes for a fitting badass, but that put-on Russian accent is a tough sell. It is rather nice to see him face-off with a stalwart like Costner, though.

An entertaining movie, thanks to the presence of eye-candy in Pine, but it really is nothing to write home about.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted and extended scenes. Jack Ryan: The Smartest Guy in the Room. Commentary by Kenneth Branagh and Lorenzo di Bonaventura. – Debashine Thangevelo