Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit - Movie Review

Starring Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh, Keira Knightley and Colm Feore.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh.


This is the epitome of the standard, competent spy thriller. Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) is a Cold War hero moved to the 21st century, where Russians are still the main bad guys. This doesn't reignite the franchise any more than the Ben Affleck-led Sum of All Fears in 2001.

But it is in the hands of director Kenneth Branagh, who has shown he knows how to add a little fun to tentpoles. Ryan's origin, recruitment and training are all handled efficiently. When we get to the main case, when a lot of the suspense is happening on computer screens and thumb-drives, the pacing and direction are still tight. Branagh's got that Putin dead-eye stare down, and Costner's a fine mentor for Pine.  I didn't have a problem with Keira Knightley's acting but her character didn't feel consistent.

Pine's good, and I wouldn't mind seeing another installment, but based on the box office, I think that might not happen. It needed to gross $170 million worldwide to justify a sequel and today is when it passes $100 million.

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