Welcome back everyone! As you can probably guess (thanks to the title and poster) today’s discussion will be on, duh, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. I saw this last Friday with my husband for our tenth anniversary (I gave him the choice of Catching Fire or Jack Ryan…he chose Jack).
I’ve never read any of the Jack Ryan books, nor have I seen the movies from the 80’s and 90’s. So I went into this with a mostly clear perspective, with no pre-conceptions…except one. I expected a LOT of explosions, high-speed chases, and so forth. Pretty standard spy/thriller movie fare.
That’s not what I got. At least not for the first quarter to third of the movie at the very least. It opens with Jack learning about the 9/11 attacks while studying in England toward his PhD and then jumps forward to him being a 2nd lieutenant in the Marines, where he’d gone after the attacks. His heroism brings him to the attention of the CIA for recruitment (not to mention the papers and reports he’d been filing prior to his helicopter crashing and injuring him). Then the movie jumps forward 10 years, where Jack’s now an auditor for a financial firm and analyst for the CIA, watching for global terrorism possibilities in the economic world.
He finds some irregularities and that’s when the more typical spy/thriller stuff comes in. He’s off to Russia and action/adventure commences as he tries to adjust from being a desk analyst to an actual field operative. I loved that they showed Jack’s vulnerability, confusion, and upset over being forced to take a life (hey, the assassin was trying to kill him – kill or be killed). It gave the character some real depth, not just letting him go off and kill people and not think twice about it.
Jack’s mission in Russia (trying to uncover exactly what the Russians are doing with the money they’ve hidden) is thrown a bit into a tailspin when his long-time girlfriend (and former physical therapist from the helicopter crash) shows up and gets dragged into his cloak and dagger stuff. Let’s just say she was….stunned to discover he was CIA. I loved her reaction when he told her. She’d thought he was cheating on her, so her reaction when she discovered the truth of it was…amusing.
And that sort of humor could be found throughout. No, this isn’t a comedic movie, nor should it be thought of as trying to be. However, there are little tidbits of humor sprinkled throughout. Kevin Costner was great (and he’s abruptly busy again in the movie world). He’s aging quite well and I thought he played Harper well and believably. He wasn’t doing ridiculously tough stunts that wouldn’t be believable in a man his age, but neither was he just sitting back and letting his operatives run into danger without providing backup.
Chris Pine as Jack Ryan – a very nice choice. Pine’s doing a great job at avoiding being typecast as Captain Kirk in the new Star Trek franchise. God knows he’s done a bunch of movies (This Means War, Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Rise of the Guardians, etc.). I enjoy his acting and let’s face it – he’s easy on the eyes. Not gorgeous in a Michael Fassbender/Eric Johnson/Tom Hiddleston sort of way, but still pretty good looking.
I will say though, despite the great casting, it was jarring to hear Keira Knightly without her British accent. I kept expecting her to burst out with it, but she held it together decently.
Overall – I thought Jack Ryan was a great movie and worth the time to go see. While it wasn’t my first choice (I wanted to see Catching Fire again, which hubby hasn’t seen), I don’t regret going.
So – have you seen the new Jack Ryan movie? If so, what’d you think? If you’ve seen it and the prior Jack Ryan movies, how do you think it compares?