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Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Review

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#1 of 3 Yavin


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Posted January 17 2014 - 09:27 AM

Director Kenneth Branagh, once known only for tackling projects in the realm of classic literature, seems to have been bitten by the action bug lately. Returning to the genre, after getting his feet wet on Marvel's Thor, he once again proves himself capable of helming a blockbuster action tentpole — even if he's still a little green behind the ears. Early on in the film, as Harper is watching Ryan wince his way through physiotherapy, in the wake of suffering debilitating injuries in Afghanistan, he's asked if he thinks Ryan will ever walk again and replies, "Only if he decides he has somewhere to go." Shadow Recruit does have somewhere to go, and Branagh knows how to get it there — but he speeds to its endgame at a pace that tends to diminish the impact of its events, pausing the action mostly to show just how far out of his depth Ryan is on his first mission. The quick pacing does benefit the film by handing it a constant momentum that, in turn, generates the tension necessary to sustain an action thriller; but its brevity in comparison to the far-reaching scope of the events within makes it feel like but a snippet of a larger story.


3.5 out of 5.


Here's my full review.

Read all my reviews here.

#2 of 3 Patrick Sun

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Posted January 22 2014 - 12:28 PM

Won't lie, I grew up reading the Jack Ryan novels while in college, and enjoyed most of the films in the franchise.


While I liked the updating of Jack Ryan in today's times, I felt this film, as a re-introduction to a new film audience, moved a little too briskly, a little too by-the-numbers for my liking.  So the script was the weak point for me.  Kenneth Branaugh's direction (and acting) was okay, nothing special. I didn't mind Chris Pine's take on Jack, nor even Keira Knightley as Cathy, but I guess I wanted a wider cast of characters to lend a little credibility to the "origin" story.  It would have been sort of cool to have a slightly younger Kevin Costner in the John Clark role for later installments in the Jack Ryan franchise, instead of Harper, the guy who keeps tabs on Jack's promise after his military career takes a detour.


I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.

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#3 of 3 Tommy R

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Posted January 25 2014 - 01:05 AM

Saw it today, and probably my least favorite of the 5 Jack Ryan films. Not that I didn't like it, it was a nice little flick. But it by far had the least amount of OOMPH, if you know what I mean. Plus it gives into the shaky-cam crap of the last decade during the action scenes. Overall though, it really was a fun watch. Was dreading it being as horrible as last years Die Hard 5, and was pleasantly surprised. I'd give it an even B. And I feel a little bad when I think that they probably won't be making a follow-up, since I really liked the Pine-Knightly-Costner trio. With better scripts, I think they could've made a really cool franchise out of this film's foundation. Oh well, back to another 10+ years of no Jack Ryan films and never ending false starts for a Without Remorse film. :(

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