Film Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is suitably entertaining action thriller. Nonetheless, it lacks originality and depth.

A former Marine, a young Jack Ryan is headhunted by the CIA. As a covert CIA analyst, Ryan uncovers some unusual stock market activity which leads him on a trail to Moscow…

Many readers and cinemagoers will be familiar with the Jack Ryan character. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit takes him back to the beginning, charting his induction to the CIA and the case which establishes his reputation. The film paints Ryan like a superhero or James Bond figure, and this film is his origins story.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit‘s narrative is by the numbers. There is little inventiveness to distinguish it from other action thrillers. The film lacks complexity; the narrative is too lean to feel substantial. The Russian antagonist is reminiscent of Cold War-era Bond films, and as a result comes across as a bit of a caricature.

There are a number of aspects of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit which are dubious. The film certainly requires a suspension of disbelief. Ryan is extremely adept at the more physically demanding aspects of his role, for example, despite admitting his limited training.

The action sequences are slick thanks to the editing and Kenneth Branagh’s direction. The ending however does lack a little fizz. The film is slick, thanks to its cinematography. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has a glossy sheen; it is a shame the plotting does not quite match the polished visuals.

Chris Pine is suitably cast as the action hero title character. It is a shame that both he and Kevin Costner are not given meatier roles. Branagh hams it up a little as Cherevin.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is an entertaining (albeit mindlessly) ride. Audiences expecting more substance might be disappointed by the generic thriller.

Stuff To Look At

Film stuffs galore, including the Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit trailer, Machete Kills, Into The Woods and more…

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Here is the first Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit trailer. The release of the trailer comes in the same week as the character’s creator, author Tom Clancy, passed away. Starring Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, and Kenneth Branagh (who also directs), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is out in UK cinemas on 26th December 2013.

Rio 2

Talking animal alert! Rio 2 features the voices of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann and Jamie Foxx. Blu, Jewel and their three children venture to the Amazon for a family reunion. Rio 2 is due for release in April 2014.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Here is the latest trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. This middle instalment features Orlando Bloom returning as Legolas, but a distinct lack of Gollum in the trailer at least. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is out in UK cinemas on 13th December 2013.

Machete Kills

Machete Kills is the follow up to 2010’s Machete. The film features more outlandish casting (including Charlie Sheen) and a more outlandish plot. Machete Kills hits cinemas on 11th October 2013.

Into The Woods

Meryl Streep Into The Woods

Well, Meryl Streep looks different. She plays the Witch in the first image released from Into The Woods. Based on the musical of the same name, Into The Woods is an amalgamation of a number of well-known fairy tales. The film also stars Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt and Chris Pine. It is set for a Christmas Day 2014 release in the US.


Here is the first full trailer for Disney animation Frozen. With a talking snowman as a sidekick, the film seems perfect for Christmas. Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Idina Menzel provide the voices. Frozen   hits UK screens on 6th December 2013.