The cinematic icon over the past 20 years, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan has been completely rebooted in this weeks, Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit.
Of course, over the years Ryan has been played by many great actors including Harrison Ford for a few, now it has been handed over to Chris Pine. I am liking him more all the time. This also included a nice supporting role played by Kevin Costner, who is starting to settle into more modest roles. This also has the terrific Kevin Branaugh, and the wonderfully flawed Keira Knightley.
This whole thing has been updated, and has reintroduced us to Ryan in 2001, as he is inspired to leave college and join the Marines after 9/11. He is an officer in the Marines, and is wounded terribly after his helicopter is shot down in Afghanistan a couple years later. After physical rehab he is recruited by the CIA to work almost completely off the books as an analyst on Wall Street. His undercover job is to make sure that America is not cyber attacked by enemies.
Not to give too much away, this is a nice story that shows that there are more in the world than just the stereotypical terrorists shown in many movies. This is true to the Ryan franchise. Yes, it has been updated nicely, but this is just a good old fashioned USA vs. Russia, Cold War feeling story. It has been a while since we've gone down this road. And although updated well for a new audience, this story will be very authentic for the already built in fan base that has been a fan of the Ryan character and stories for many years.
Pine is very easy to watch on screen, and is a natural choice to play Ryan. He, over the years and roles has really shown remarkable versatility. Costner is great in his small, but important role, and is still in the process of reinventing himself well. Branaugh as the Russian villain is great, and he also directed this film. Knightley is all grown up now, an is brilliantly cast as Ryan's love. She has a very integral role in this movie, and she is very alluring on screen. Plus, she really injects a ton of welcome and the right kind of estrogen, into this tank of testosterone. Great decision. She is perfect.
Overall, there are a few bits of silliness in this, but not enough to kill it. There are a few draggy parts, but that's not a killer either. This is true to the Ryan franchise, and is pretty good. It also is a nice diversion in January of all the stuff still hanging on from the holidays, and better than most of the releases that are sure to come this month, as it is movie purgatory for a few weeks.
Jack Ryan:Shadow Recruit. Perfect? No. But a nice two hours on a cold winters day.