Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: Film Review

Based on the popular character created by late author Tom Clancy, ‘Jack Ryan’ goes to Russia in the fifth edition of the franchise, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. This time there’s no Sean Connery on a submarine. Rather it’s Chris Pine as Jack versus Kenneth Branagh as Viktor Cherevin, a thin-lipped Russian tycoon out to destroy the US.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit follows the story of young Jack who goes on to join the Marines from being a student at the London School of Economics following the 9/11 terror attacks. While on this tour duty in Afghanistan, he is left scarred forever. Soon, he is absorbed into the Financial Intelligence Unit of CIA under the guardianship of  Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner). Working as an undercover financial analyst, he discovers a Russian plot to devastate the US economy. Adding a touch of romance to this action-thriller is Jack’s relationship with his fiancée Cathy (Keira Knightley).

Branagh of Thor fame also dons the role of a director for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and has done a remarkable job. The script by David Koepp, co-written with newcomer Adam Cozad is balanced and shows well with quick and sharp dialogues. Other technical aspects like cinematography, editing, sound design, visual effects etc is apt bringing out the script perfectly on screen.

Chris Pine as Jack Ryan has done a commendable job marking the return of the character 14 years  after Ben Affleck’s take in the fourth edition of the franchise, The Sum of All Fears. Keira Knightley as Cathy Muller, a no-nonsense doctor has done justice to her character. Watching Kevin Costner onscreen is always a delight. Costner was impressive as the CIA agent, Thomas Harper.

Subtle details like sleight-of-hand work and the exchange of a brown envelope in a movie theater showing 1948 black-and-white classic Sorry, Wrong Number add a special vintage touch to the modern-day spy flick.

Nothing in this world is perfect, so is this movie. The major flaw of the movie was its pace. 105 minutes seemed too short as the events were way too fast paced, leaving no scope for the audience to absorb what was happening. Secondly, post-interval, The narrative allowed Keira to be involved in the spy world. Since the inception of the movie, she was clueless about Jack’s profession and suddenly she is in the center of the sting. This development is a cliched style which could be easily avoided.

Why must you watch this film?

There is action. There is drama. The right amount of speed. And Keira Knightley. Boys, what else do you need for a perfect weekend movie plan. Ladies, don’t be disappointed. There’s Chris Pine to keep you engaged. Also a tribute to late author, Tom Clancy.

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