JACK RYAN

Fathers everywhere may have lost their favorite novelist recently with the passing of author Tom Clancy, but the man left a multitude of parting gifts on his way out the door. At least two new Clancy-branded videogames hit shelves in a couple months, and his most memorable fictional character is getting a big screen reboot.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit brings the famed C.I.A. analyst back to his rookie days and his first real adventure after he discovers a Russian plot to upend the U.S. economy through deadly terrorist attacks. This is the first of the Ryan films to not be based on one of Clancy’s novels, and that’s fitting as it’s once again an attempt at building a future franchise for the character. Chris Pine, already no stranger to franchise characters previously played by others, steps into the title role and follows in the big footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck. This is particularly impressive for an actor of Pine’s miniature stature (see above).

Check out the first trailer for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit below.

First thoughts? This could be fun.

I’ll be honest. I’m sold on any film the minute Kevin Costner shows up in the trailer, and the fact that it looks like he gets to act as both a senior source of wisdom here as well as an occasional ass-kicker makes it all the better. Kenneth Branagh pulls double duty as both the Russian villain (an accent he’s very familiar with) and the film’s director. It’s understandable why they’re advertising it as “From the director of Thor,” but the dude also directed one of the best cinematic adaptations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet so let’s keep things in perspective here. (Also, Dead Again is the bomb.)

Talent aside, the movie looks like good fun, and while Baldwin will always be the best Ryan (based on many things, most simply that he’s the least action hero-like of them all), Pine has proven himself capable of being a charismatic lead. Russian villains are boring as it’s all “money money money” with them, but a strong cast, some impressive looking set-pieces, and the one and only Mr. Costner make this one to watch out for. Even with that goofy title.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opens Christmas Day.


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