run time: 105 mins
considered: Action, Drama, Thriller
starring: Chris Pine, Kiera Knightley, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh
movie summary: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit provides audiences with a different angle for Tom Clancy’s most famous agent Jack Ryan. Ryan (Chris Pine) is an US Marine who is college educated with superior intelligence skills. During a mission in the Middle East his chopper is attacked, he is badly injured, and ends up rehab. While in recovering he meets a beautiful therapist named Cathy (Kiera Knightley) who motivates him to get back into shape with the promise of a date when he succeeds. One of the CIA’s highest officers, Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner) has kept an eye on Ryan during his rehab and wants to recruit him to work for the agency.
Ryan accepts the job offer and becomes a Wall Street accountant for a cover, his primary job is to monitor international companies and their stock dealings. After a United Nations vote against the Russians, Ryan discovers many Russian companies’ stock values haven’t changed, which raises a lot of red flags at the agency. Harper sends him to Moscow to meet with Russian tycoon Viktor Cheverin (Kenneth Branagh) to audit his company with the hopes of uncovering a clue about a potential Russian terrorist attack against the United States. Ryan is headed into the action for the first time in a long time, although his first big problem is telling Cathy that he is headed there for work and that she can’t come.
In the Russian capital, Ryan gets into his first gun fight when his limousine driver attempts to kill him. He meets with Harper after to discuss the events of the day, the strategy to meet Cheverin, and how to get the information they are looking for. Ryan gets blind sided when he meets Cheverin, who has had his own audit done so his services are not needed. Harper and Ryan now have to rethink their plan when Cathy shows up at the hotel. She finally finds out that Ryan works for the CIA and that he is on a top-secret mission in Russia. Cheverin arranges a dinner to welcome the couple to his homeland, which gives Harper a chance to launch a new plan with Cathy’s help.
Cathy ends up getting kidnapped while Ryan escapes Cheverin’s office building with the data. She is rescued while Cheverin is injured during the ensuing car chase and gun fight. On the flight home all three put their heads together to figure out where the attack on US soil is going to be, and after connecting some dots, all fingers point to another attack on New York City. Ryan realizes that Cheverin has a sleeper cell group that lives in Pennsylvania who may already be on the way to the Big Apple, so once they land time is of the essence for the CIA to figure out the target and foil the crime before thousands of people die.
my thoughts: Chris Pine has done pretty well for himself in Hollywood playing a variety of roles in the action/adventure genre with his break out performance coming as Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek reboot. He steps into the role of Jack Ryan, played by some heavyweight actors like Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and manages to hold his own in terms of action movies and intelligence. This role is more serious which takes away some of Pine’s trademark sarcasm and smart ass comebacks, but gives him a chance to showcase his other abilities.
People who go see Jack Ryan should not expect the typical action packed everything blows up kind of movie, but a smart spy movie with a solid supporting cast led by Costner and Knightley. The story leaves a few holes open at the end but focuses more on the chase of information then the end result when they get it. The whole point is to foil a terrorist attack without the use of guns and weapons, which is refreshing considering the path American agencies usually take when tracking down terrorists.
my star rating: 6 out 10