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JACK RYAN: Shadow Recruit. Credit: Special
JACK RYAN: Shadow Recruit. Credit: Special
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By Jeri Jacquin, Movie Maven

Coming to theatres from director Kenneth Branagh and Paramount Pictures comes the next generation to experience JACK RYAN: Shadow Recruit.

This film tells the story of Jack Ryan (Chris Pine), a college student who, after 9-11, joins the military and fights in Afghanistan. After a helicopter crash that breaks his back he is sent back to the United States to recover. At the hospital he meets Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley), who is studying to be a doctor.

Also watching over Jack is Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner) who sees promise. He persuades Jack to join his group as an analyst with a Manhattan financial firm. Quickly he discovers there are accounts from Russia that are a threat to the United States.

The company sends him to Russia to find out what is happening with the account holder Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh). Immediately it becomes clear that someone in Russia wants Jack dead as Harper helps him along.

The information they need is on Viktor’s computer and Jack will do whatever it takes to stop another attack on U.S. soil!

FINAL WORD: Pine as Ryan was fine. Of course I felt like I was watching Captain Kirk through a lot of the film. All that was missing was setting his phaser to stun and taking out the bad guys instead of drowning them. I don’t mind Pine at all, seriously I don’t. I think my crankiness comes from the story itself.

Costner as Harper had the same protective feel for young Jack as James Earl Jones did for the ‘young’ and older Jack. There is a presence about Costner in this role that I liked. Not sent to baby sit anyone he made me laugh out loud at his ‘couples therapy’ comment. It is truly thrilling to see him back on the screen once again.

Branagh as Viktor looked like a sick man even before it was mentioned. That waxy pale skin with the brownish-red bad dye job was an interesting character choice. His Russian accent was pretty cool and kept me listening during the dining scene with Knightley. Mainly his character was quietly insane and Branagh does it nicely. As the director however, I’m not sure what he was going for?

Other cast include: Lenn Kudrjawizki as Constantin, Alec Utgoff as Aleksandr Borovsky, Peter Andersson as Dimitri Lemkov, Elena Velikanova as Katya, Seth Ayott as Teddy Hefferman, Colm Feore as Rob Behringer, Gemma Chan as Amy Chang and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT three tubs of popcorn out of five. I have to admit I was closer to a lower number because there are a few things that truly irritate me here. It is a political thriller so that should draw fans of that genre and Kevin Costner is awesome so on with my rant.

First off, I understand that HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER was in 1990 but I’m not dead yet! I remember details about “Jack Ryan” from that film that just don’t gel with me on this film at all. I mean does NO ONE remember what Admiral Painter said about Jack?

Okay, let me remind you – he says that Ryan was in a helicopter crash in “the Med” that killed his entire crew and he studied his Academy senior year from a hospital bed while learning to walk again. So if that’s the case then Ryan definitely has bad luck with choppers.

Sorry, I get a little cranky when I have to watch a re-mix of a character that I liked from an original film. I mean I was willing to take on Harrison Ford as the older Jack Ryan for gosh sake. Just can’t go backward, sorry.

Was I entertained? A little because I felt like I had it already figured out. I really hate when that happens.

In the end – trust no one!  

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