Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

RAM Releasing

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Hide and Seek Sung-soo is a successful business owner with a perfect family, a gorgeous condo and an enviable life all around. He also has memories of a step brother he essentially abandoned years ago. When he gets word that his brother has gone missing he heads to the man’s apartment and discovers a dangerous mystery. This Korean thriller manages to be far creepier than any “typical” piece of Asian horror as psychopaths will always be scarier than long-haired ghost girls. More than that though the film is directed and edited to near perfection. Sequences thrill, excite and terrify as the story unfolds, and while the script has some major issues they’re easily ignored because everything else works so damn well. From the legitimate twists to the commentary on class warfare and fears, this is a fantastical thriller. [DVD extras: Making of]

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Jack_Ryan_Shadow_Recruit_Trust

The thing that separates Jack Ryan movies from the James Bonds and the Mission: Impossibles and the Bournes, etc., is that Ryan is an analyst for the CIA. That means they should be smarter than your average spy thriller. Sometimes they’re at least as smart. However, the latest, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, is one of the dumbest, more cliched entries of the genre. It’s an embarrassment of plotting and exposition, with so many instances of presumed circumstances that fortuitously turn out to happen that it may as well be called “Jack Ryan: Lucky Duck.” To put it in modern context, it’s like a bad episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet has a lot less interest in characters and the logical choices they’d make. Questions I had leftover at the end of Shadow Recruit may be explained in Tom Clancy’s Ryan novels, but that shouldn’t matter. This isn’t even an adaptation so much as an “original” story inspired by those books and featuring a character with the same name. I wouldn’t be surprised if fans of Clancy find it no more a true Ryan installment than Die Hard fans found A Good Day to Die Hard recognizable as a movie fitting into that series. Feel free to give me clarification or suggestion of an answer to any of these, and remember that, though it should be obvious, this post is full of SPOILERS if you haven’t yet seen the movie.

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JACK RYAN- SHADOW RECRUIT

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit isn’t an action movie. Sir Kenneth Branagh‘s reboot of the Tom Clancy-based franchise is a straight-up thriller, and that’s an important distinction to make. The film may have a globetrotting story, which goes from New York to Moscow, but Branagh’s set pieces are all contained, even the motorcycle chase at the very end. If you counted the amount of bullets fired in this movie, it would be drastically less than most spy thrillers. That fact likely spoke to Branagh, who was more invested in Jack Ryan’s quick thinking than the character’s skills in combat. If you asked him about Thor a few years ago, he would’ve expressed more interest in the themes of brotherhood than Thor swinging his hammer around. Branagh has always been a character-driven filmmaker. When you make a juicy four-hour version of Hamlet, you have to be. Everything from that Shakespeare adaptation to even Peter’s Friends seems to play a part in Branagh’s blockbuster filmmaking. The director and co-star (he plays the Russian villain, Viktor) recently discussed his progression towards tentpole filmmaking with us, along with the excitement and education that comes with it.

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review jack ryan

Alec Baldwin. Harrison Ford. Ben Affleck. Playing Jack Ryan is almost as dangerous of a job as being Jack Ryan, and now 24 years after Tom Clancy‘s most famous character first hit the screen in The Hunt for Red October he’s back with a new face and a new reboot. This is not a good thing. Ryan (Chris Pine) is a college student when the Twin Towers fall in New York City, and the event leads him to join the U.S. Marines. An early mission in Afghanistan leaves him incapacitated and struggling to regain his physical faculties, but a mysterious C.I.A. agent named Harper (Kevin Costner) recruits him to help follow the money on Wall Street being used to line terrorist pockets. Ryan’s nose for numbers and patterns identifies a possible discrepancy with a Russian company headed up by Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh), and then all hell breaks loose. Unlike those earlier films, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is not based on an existing Clancy novel. The “original” story uses elements of the Ryan we already know but adds in additional elements to increase his heroism and speed up his journey into the C.I.A. These elements work well enough, but as the story and action unfold it quickly becomes clear that those novels featured something else sorely lacking here. Brains.

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Jupiter Ascending

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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JACK RYAN

This dreaded dump month is only going to look worse considering all the terrific December releases we just saw: Martin Scorsese, Spike Jonze, and the Coen Brothers’s three incredible films; Ron Burgundy’s hilarious return; and David O. Russell‘s pretty good movie. Even with 47 Ronin kind of stinking up the joint, it couldn’t ruin last month’s holiday filmgoing spirit. December ended a satisfying year on a tremendous note. Of course the start of 2014 can’t live up to all those award contenders, not even with I, Frankenstein going to bat for it. Frankenstein’s monster turned pretty boy action hero should at the very least give us something to talk about, but if the trailers are any fair indication, I, Frankenstein is not one of the five must see movies of the month.

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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.

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published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


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