There was quite a lot of hype surrounding the dawning of this film as the Jack Ryan franchise from Patriot Games to Sum Of All Fears is truly loved. Unfortunately no matter how great the cast and how big the budget is, this time around there was one key and frankly crucial element missing from this project. For the very first time in the franchise, novelist Tom Clancy, yes the writer of all the books adapted into films, did not pen this story and boy does it show.
Russia once again becomes a threat to the US and this time hostile intentions would combine economic grenades followed by real ones to compound a fall in social equity. The plot is not a bad one, but the delivery of the severe nature of the threat comes from the danger being explained rather than shown and that dampens the threat. It's like saying "I've got a really big stick to hit you with" rather than showing the stick even if its never used.
"Russia once again becomes a threat to the US and this time hostile intentions would combine economic grenades followed by real ones to compound a fall in social equity."
Chris Pine as a young Jack Ryan is not hard to believe, but his life threatening situations in comparison to everything we know his character has faced or I should say is going to face are dull. On top of that, TV shows such as Alias and 24 and films such as Goldeneye raised the combat/spy game in plot and action. After those, the Bourne films pushed the genre even further. And then we can't forget how the ante was once again raised in the form post-Brosnan Bond with Casino Royale and Skyfall .
I mention these films as Jack Ryan fails to match any of them in terms of sophistication or rawness. In fact Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a cold relic, of cold war plots that might have been fantastic in 2001, but in it’s arrival now in 2014 - it's is way too late.
Kenneth Branagh does a better job of directing then he does acting, falling into a cliché Russian mould - speech patterns intact too. But even with him at the helm and with Keira Knightly, Kevin Costner and Kenneth's supporting roles, the film is just too flat and doesn't really seem to get going to be that engaging. Disappointing.