ByAnthony Sargon, writer at
Anthony Sargon

The last time we saw Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in theaters, it was in 2002′s reboot “The Sum of All Fears” starring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman. It’s been almost 12 years since that movie, so you know what that means: time for another reboot! While the film starts off strongly enough, it eventually becomes too generic and repetitive to really stand out. There may be enough here to relaunch the series, but it could and should have been better given the talent involved.

When new CIA recruit Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) is sent to Russia in order to audit a suspicious Russian company run by Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh), he soon uncovers a plot to crash the U.S economy. Ryan is then forced to take action to stop Cherevin before it’s too late.

My major problem with the film is that it’s perfectly content with relying on generic action tropes in order to keep the audience interested. There are about three scenes that involve a timer and something that needs to be either downloaded, uploaded, or defused. By the time you reach the climax, you’ve probably stopped caring about the outcome. I was checking my watch pretty consistently after about an hour and thirty minutes through the film.

The performances are, for the most part, serviceable; Chris Pine is a very likable lead, and he’s a fine Jack Ryan. I’d say the standouts are Kevin Costner as his mentor, Thomas Harper, and Kenneth Branagh as Viktor Cherevin (he has a couple of pretty badass moments). I will say that Keira Knightly was pretty terrible as Jack’s girlfriend, Cathy, which was disappointing.

Kenneth Branagh does an adequate good job with the direction, but he’s let down by a lazy script from David Koepp and Adam Kozad. There are so many implausible things that happen as well that you’re kinda left scratching your head. Hilariously enough, the film makes these CIA agents look like the least competent secret agents in the world. Jack Ryan, who is a brand new recruit, is bossing everyone around, and even his nurse girlfriend makes a discovery that helps the CIA with their investigation, which I found to be incredibly stupid and highly unnecessary.

The Verdict:

A mostly likable cast will only take you so far. There’s potential in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”, but it’s let down by a generic and lazy script that’s more than happy to substitute brains for brawn. I was disappointed.

Numerical Score: 6/10

Originally Published on A Geek's Blog

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