Pin It
Favorite

Sneak Attack 

Tom Clancy's most famous character continues, somewhat blandly

click to enlarge film2-1.jpg

Not all ticking clocks are made equal. When Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) warns, "Once I start the audit ... " you just might black out from boredom. That's the kind of countdown only an IRS agent could love.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit — yet another reboot of Tom Clancy's signature creation/cash cow — is the kind of shrugging action movie jury-rigged for a January audience starved for fresh entertainment. (Even so, the film drew middling numbers in its opening weekend.)

Writers Adam Cozad and David Koepp plod through the lengthy opening, which reframes economics whiz Ryan as a post-9/11 enlistee in the Marines who is eventually tapped to be an analyst for the CIA and work undercover on Wall Street.

The first Jack Ryan picture not sourced from a Clancy novel, Shadow Recruit modernizes Ryan's biography without injecting anything particularly original into the franchise or the intelligence genre. A high-stakes motorcycle chase; a control room of analysts barking as they plink away on their computers; an Energizer Bunny-like baddie who won't stay dead: We've seen it before — and better — in the Bond, Bourne and Mission: Impossible franchises.

Those films also understand how crucial it is to have tertiary characters who are quick with a quip or possess a quirk or some glimmer of magnetism — they provide texture and elevate the generic to the specific. What's startling about Shadow Recruit is the thinness of its bench. The starting lineup isn't bad, although they all come with an asterisk. Pine can do "likable everyman hero" in his sleep, but there are few Hollywood leading men with shoulders broad enough to carry two franchises, and he's better as the rakish Captain Kirk in the Star Trek reboot. Kevin Costner, as Ryan's CIA handler, does his low-key rumply thing — he has a nice bit with a dog — and he's fine. Director Kenneth Branagh casts himself as a Russian business magnate moonlighting in economic terrorism, but he's too controlled to maximize the character's zealotry.

As a director, Branagh also is in the midst of a reboot, shaking off his heir-to-Olivier mantle to rebrand himself as a big-budget action guy. He fared better with the fun, faux-epic bombast of 2011's Thor, which dovetailed in its own way with his previous work spoon-feeding Shakespeare to the masses. Shadow Recruit has no such ambitions: Branagh might as well have opened a can and dumped it on a plate, the ridges of a factory-line production still perfectly visible on a gelatinous cylinder of crud. ♦

Trailer


Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Rated PG-13 · 105 minutes · 2014
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Producer: Mace Neufeld, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, David Barron, Mark Vahradian, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Paul Schwake
Cast: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh, Keira Knightley, Gemma Chan, Karen David, Nonso Anozie and Colm Feore

Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Tags: , , ,

  • Pin It

Speaking of Film, Review

Latest in Film

  • Mind the Gap
  • Mind the Gap

    20th Century Women offers a compassionate take on generational shifts
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Golden Arches
  • Golden Arches

    Michael Keaton gives us the story of McDonald's in the Founder
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Print (and Reprint) the Legend
  • Print (and Reprint) the Legend

    Jackie keeps repeating its intriguing ideas about turning people into icons
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
The Nixon Rodeo, Project Kings, Wasted Breath, Itchy Kitty

The Nixon Rodeo, Project Kings, Wasted Breath, Itchy Kitty @ Knitting Factory

Fri., Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Kimberley Jones

  • Missed Connections
  • Missed Connections

    The Girl on the Train isn't the next Gone Girl
    • Oct 13, 2016
  • Third Time, No Harm
  • Third Time, No Harm

    Kung Fu Panda 3 doesn't reinvent the franchise, but that's totally fine
    • Jan 28, 2016
  • Historical Miss
  • Historical Miss

    Bryan Cranston does what he can with the flawed Trumbo
    • Nov 25, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Review


Film


Music


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Spy vs. Spy
  • Spy vs. Spy

    The Man from U.N.C.L.E. carves out a unique space in a crowded espionage marketplace
    • Aug 12, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation