Movie Review – Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

By  | 

Jack RyanIf there’s a standout in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” it’s the villain, Viktor Cherevin, played by none other than the director himself, Kenneth Branagh (“Thor”).  If stares can kill, he’s got them.  And he doesn’t threaten bodily harm; he just does it.

An origin story based on Tom Clancy’s character and more than a decade after the last Jack Ryan movie, Star Trek’s leading man Chris Pine (“Unstoppable”) is a man of intelligence and action, a former marine turned brainy CIA analyst and reluctant field agent.

The patriotic-minded young man was a Ph.D. student in the London School of Economics when 9/11 happened.  He enlisted and served in Afghanistan until his unit got ambushed and he was badly injured.  It’s at the rehabilitation center he met his future fiancee and doctor Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley, “Pirates of the Caribbean”) and recruiter-handler, Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner,“Man of Steel”).

Now embedded in a Wall Street firm as a financial analyst, Ryan discovers a plot by the Russians to crash the U.S. economy and destabilize the world.  He’s sent to Moscow to conduct an audit of the financial irregularities in Cherevin’s company and finds a lot more than he’s bargained for.  Things grow awry fast, especially after Cathy suddenly shows up to surprise him with a suspicion that he’s having an affair.  A surprise attack by a hitman, tense infiltration of the Russian firm, high-tech hacking, kidnapped fiancee, shootouts, car chases, hijacking, sleeper agent hunting, and a ticking bomb that ends in a kaboom.

This is one movie that could actually benefit from more running time to add depth to the characters or complexity to the story (and perhaps minimize the plot holes). “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” feels generic.  Nothing special.  It doesn’t have a style distinctive to a franchise (like a Bond or Bourne movie does).  But for what it’s worth, this fast straight-shooter is a splash of summer thrill in the winter.

Copyright (c) 2014. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: She can be reached at

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *