Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

January 31, 2014

Movie Review

‘Recruit’ in shadow of past Jack Ryans

VALDOSTA — ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’

Action/Mystery: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Starring: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley and Kenneth Branagh

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Rated: PG-13 (Violence and strong language)

Movie Review: “Shadow Recruit” has a few smart moves as an action film based on characters created by famed writer Tom Clancy. However, the film plays as if it is from the Cold War period of filmmaking, when times have changed.   

Dr. John Patrick Ryan (Pine), a young CIA analyst, goes to Moscow, Russia, to investigate a possible threat to the United States. Ryan quickly finds Russian agents have planned a terrorist attack to crash the U.S. economy. While senior CIA operative Cmdr. Thomas Harper (Costner) looks over Ryan’s shoulders, Ryan must infiltrate the headquarters of mogul Viktor Cherevin (Branagh), and the ruthless terrorists hiding behind his corporation.

The arrival of Ryan’s longtime girlfriend Cathy Muller (Knightley) complicates the mission in Russia.

Pine is a nice-looking guy who can sound intelligent. When one looks past those bright blue eyes, one finds he is not the type to play a sophisticated brain like Jack Ryan. Pine appears more like a fraternity jock from a wealthy family. He is not a compelling lead, although he is likable. 

Pine is not the only problem. Other characters appear bland for a spy versus spy film. They appear flat because they appear underdeveloped. The cause is a story that tries to do too much. Unneeded moments clutter the story.

Some good qualities exist regarding this film. It tries to take a Cold War-era theme and inject it with modern themes, such as terrorism, cyber espionage and the global economy. The attempt is smart but the mixture does not accumulate to a fulfilling venture.

Grade: C (Rests in the shadow of other Jack Ryan productions.)


‘I, Frankenstein’

Action/Science-Fiction: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Miranda Otto and Yvonne Strahovski

Director: Stuart Beattie

Rated: PG-13 (Violence)

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