From the once promising director Kenneth Branagh comes the latest Jack Ryan film, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. After a reasonably long hiatus this latest film is a reboot of the franchise and just may be the most average spy thriller I have seen in quite some time.
The film starts of as Jack Ryan is presumably attending university in 2001 and as you may have guessed shows his reaction to 911. This spurs him onto becoming a marine where he is injured and then starts rehabilitation. From here he is recruited into the
CIA and unfortunately
this is all we have regarding the character of Jack Ryan. Chris Pine does an
admirable job in providing some degree of charisma which allows for the
character (or lack thereof) to still manage being somewhat likeable but
ultimately empty. Keira Knightley as Cathy is Jack’s love interest but once
again there is a lack of any character present beyond the most surface level
details. The character also fells completely unnecessary as the film continues
and we are left with cringe worthy scenes where a room full of CIA analysts are unable
to notice details that she just so happens to notice in what I presume was an
attempt to keep the character relevant. Sadly this attempt is in vain and is
forced. Likewise for the other characters, we are told and in some cases shown
what they do for a living. But characterisation and character growth beyond
that is close to non existent.
The action itself thankfully only makes up for a small portion of the film as it for the most part a blurry mess. Shaky camera is used to perplexingly poor effect and left me wondering on numerous occasions what exactly the characters where doing. With Jack Ryan’s low amount of poor action scenes it was thus up to the plot intricacies and twists and turns to engage. Sadly whilst the plot is serviceable it provides for few thrills and as the finale draws nearer it begins to increasingly fall back on clichés. The film as a result lacks character and moment to moment Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit could easily be mistaken for numerous other spy thrillers. The unengaging plot combined with a lack of any characters with some depth resulted in little reason to care for what the outcome was. This makes for what could have been an interesting finale in spite of its over reliance on clichés a relatively mundane affair.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit however is a hard film to dislike as whilst Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit doesn’t do anything particularly well it also doesn’t do anything particularly poorly (excluding the action scenes which are only a small portion of the film). The result is a film that I cannot recommend a cinema trip for. However if one finds themselves bored one day with nothing to watch it should make for a descent rental if one is a fan of the genre.