Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is an International Spy film that tells the origin story of the Tom Clancy character Jack Ryan. The movie stars Chris Pine as Jack Ryan, Kevin Costner as his handler, Keira Knightley as his girlfriend and Kenneth Branagh as the villain. The plot focuses on the rivalry between Russia and the U.S. as the former devises a secret plan to take down the U.S. and Jack Ryan and his team are the ones who have to stop it. The movie plays it safe with the International Spy story arcs the positive that is enjoyable and entertaining but the down side is that at times the film is predictable but that doesn’t ruin the movie.
The story is that of a classic espionage film. The first half of the story spends its time setting up the pieces for the second act and climax of the film. It sets up the problem and the process of figuring out what the Russians are doing and completing the planning. It also uses the time to set up most of the characters. The downside to this method is that to those who want to have spy action throughout the majority of the film are going to be bored but if you are interested in how the art of spying really goes then you might enjoy the first half more. The second half of the film is the spy movie with the action and the race against time to stop the Russians. The second half is the more entertaining half and has a good climax.
Chris Pine puts on a normal performance as Jack Ryan. He plays it safe rather than trying anything new as the character. He does a good job and is entertaining on screen, the only downside is that he plays the type of character he normally plays which is the sarcastic normal guy who is serious when he needs to be but enters into awkward moments. Pine does a pretty good job as Jack. The only negative is that I had a difficult time seeing Jack Ryan; I kept seeing Chris Pine instead.
Kevin Costner plays Agent Harper who recruits and leads Jacks team. He plays the mentor role in the film. He does a good job for the time he is on screen and it was entertaining to watch his interactions with Pine. Overall, he does a good job and can keep you from getting bored during the slower scenes. Keira Knightley plays the girlfriend, Cathy, and she does an okay job. The romance between her and Ryan is not under major focus aside from the spy movie cliché of him hiding his secret life from her and her accidentally getting involved. The romance doesn’t have that much chemistry on screen but they hide that by putting in that they have been in a relationship for over 5 years. They act like a normal couple at that point in a relationship, which was a good choice.
Kenneth Branagh plays the villain of the movie. He portrays a Russian businessman, which comes across as a man who you would not want to cross. He was charismatic and ruthless when pissed off. Since he also directed the film it must have been difficult to film since he didn’t have his director’s view on his scenes. He did a good job and is entertaining to watch on screen as a patriotic terrorist for Mother Russia.
The cinematography holds up pretty well. The action scenes are really realistic and possible to do. That is a tribute to how Tom Clancy writes his stories and his characters. He writes them as realistic as possible. Overall, the movie is an enjoyable film it does have predictability and is sometimes hard to follow if you are not paying attention but the movie is worth watching. The movie doesn’t take any risks instead plays it safe. The movie is an entertaining thrill ride. It can be boring sometimes, but the boring moments don’t take up too much time.