It's been many years since the last cinematic entry for Jack Ryan

It's been many years since the last cinematic entry for Jack Ryan. 2002?s The Sum of all Fears was also a prequel of sorts to the previous three movies featuring everyone's favourite CIA Analyst who always seems to do more than analyse.

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Unlike all previous films Shadow Recruit is a completely original story not based on any source novel. And it seems to re-energize the franchise. While The Sum of all Fears was by no means a bad movie (I actually prefer it to the sleepy, and largely underwhelming Harrison Ford entries), it was lacking a certain pop. Here, we take a quick detour through the events that lead our hero into where we will start to recognize him: what made him want to serve his country; the helicopter crash while being a marine and the rehab which he had to endure to walk again (mentioned in The Hunt for Red October); through his romancing his future-wife; and recruiting into the CIA.

It all happens at just the right pace. Not too much time is spent on getting him to the present day, while filling in enough gaps that are important to the story and introducing him to relevant characters.

This period also introduces us to Tom Harper, played by Kevin Costner, who seems to be going through a career resurgence as elder, mentor-type roles in recent times, much like Liam Neeson back in the late 90s/early 00s.

Once we move in to the present day, and see Ryan in his daily role as CIA analyst/regular worker we get to see the plot move along at a rapid pace. We get to see glimpses of his perceptive skills. And also a look at how his private life has evolved from the earlier scenes. While the espionage movie staples, of keeping his real identity from his girlfriend (here played by Keira Knightley) are front and center. Once he gets assigned to go to Moscow to meet withKenneth Branagh's Cheverin the plot thickens and the action heats up. We see how out-of-his-depth he quickly becomes once the assassin tries to fulfill his assignment in the hotel room. The acting, choreography, directing are all spot on and Chris Pine proves why he's the perfect choice for the lead role of Jack Ryan. While he's still in a state of shock as to why he might be targeted for assassination he has the mental wherewithal to defend himself and overcome the threat.

From this one scene the pacing picks up and rarely let's up. The espionage aspect comes more to the fore, with the exciting break-in to Cheverin's office and hacking of files. Only the, albeit necessary, other scene with Knightley and Branagh over dinner fails to hold your attention with as much interest. We are waiting for this intercut to finish before we can return to the meaty section back in the office.

The resulting chase is awesome and was a highlight of the trailers. Ryan running down his kidnapped lady again showing fantastic choreography.

The final third back in the USA also keeps viewers interested and more high-octane action with Ryan again being called into physical service in the back of the van. An analyst ? I think not.

The ending of Cheverin was a little anti-climatic after the main event but really left no other option.

Chris Pine, Kevin Costner gave great performances. Pine is easily the best incarnation of Jack Ryan since Alec Baldwin's original in the Hunt for Red October way back in 1990.

As mentioned before, Costner was very solid and acted like a true father figure to Jack which also grounded the story and made it more relate-able.

Director Branagh seems to be growing in confidence immensely as an action director since Thor, and it serves him well here. He's always been a fine director, but of more personal, character driven pieces, which is why the interplay here between the lead characters is as engaging as it is.

Unfortunately, Keira Knightley is a bit of a low point as far as point as the main cast is concerned. She seems to rely too much on her smile while her insecurities with Jack in her personal life seems to be a little overacted at times. She seems more comfortable in her early scenes at the hospital. And her reaction to the reveal about Jack's true career doesn't seem to ring true, but that's more how it was written than her performance. This is her first blockbuster franchise since The Pirates of the Caribbean, and since her last role in 2007?s entry she's been focusing on smaller, more character driven roles and projects and I wish she'd been using more of what she'd learned in those films here. She's not bad in the film by any means, but just not as enjoyable to watch as say Natalie Portman in the Thor films.

Kenneth Brangh's portrayal seemed a little one-note and he seemed to play Cheverin as a monotonous villain with very little empathy who doesn't really pose any menace. But in a film that deals with very modern threats such as techno-terrorism that's hardly a surprise, and by making him too much of a physical heavy the script might lose it's way.

To sum up then, a very engaging, entertaining movie that brings back Jack Ryan to the screen in his fifth outing and first since 2002. An edge of the seat-thrillride with a good mix of both action and intelligence. Chris Pine adds another franchise tick to his resume. And he's proven why he's such a fine actor with subtle nuances that add an extra dimension that has yet been seen in this character.

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Posted in Landscaping Post Date 11/16/2020






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