February 5, 2014 by Hope W.
Some Russians living in the past are planning the collapse of the US economy, and it’s up to a brilliant CIA analyst to stop them. If this plot sounds familiar, it’s because every other action movie ever made, save those about unstoppable vehicles or sci-fi elements (and sometimes not even then), has it, give or take a few minor changes: the nationality of the villains, the “thing” they want to collapse, the government organisation of the hero’s vocation.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is enjoyable enough, but sadly run-of-the-mill, if you were expecting more. (I did hope a little, since Kenneth Branagh directed it, and I loved what he did with Thor.) There is even a motorcycle scene near the end that reminded me of the one in The Bourne Legacy. But since I watched the movie for Chris Pine, Keira Knightley and Kenneth Branagh (who also plays the villain) — and would do it over again — I would hardly call it a waste.
Chris Pine is, well, Chris Pine — his boyish charm is what I go to see him in movies for. (Think of his Jack Ryan as a little like Captain Kirk, but less brash.) Keira Knightley is gorgeous, but she looks as breakable as a twig — and that’s all I can say, because her role is essentially just the girlfriend who must be protected. They didn’t exactly have tons of chemistry together, but I could accept that because I like both actors — though other moviegoers may be less forgiving. (And they are: the movie isn’t doing well at the box office, which rules out Paramount’s hopes of another bankable franchise.) Kevin Costner as Jack Ryan’s mentor is adequate: do the job, collect the paycheck, dust your hands off. But Kenneth Branagh’s villain is so one-note; he seems to be hamming it up at times. Or is it the fault of the script? Because I don’t believe for a second that Kenneth Branagh *doesn’t* know when he is hamming it up; so it’s either deliberate on his part, or the character was just written that way.
Watch it if you like action movies, and don’t mind seeing something you’ve already seen a thousand times before. Or if you really, really like the actors, like I do.