Review — New Jack Ryan film is entertaining, but fails to break mold of other movies in genre

Jack Ryan is the rugged step-brother of James Bond. He’s smart, heroic and somewhat suave, but lacks the sophistication of Bond. In the new action-thriller “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” Chris Pine portrays a young analyst for the CIA, who is immediately thrust into action saving the United States from Russia.Undercover - Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) and Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner) regroup in Moscow in the new film ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.' The film opened Jan. 17.

The film begins with 9/11 and Ryan, based on a Tom Clancy character used before in many other movies, watching attack footage from abroad. Moments later, he’s a Marine in a helicopter flying over Afghanistan. Hit by a missile, the film flashes forward eight months to Ryan in physical therapy learning to walk again. Followed by an unclear timeline of events, he is recruited by the CIA to work undercover searching for potential terrorist threats to the economy. With one last flash forward it’s 10 years later and he’s working as an analyst suspicious of Russian accounts.

This all happens in about 10 minutes, setting a fast pace for the movie that doesn’t really slow down. While that might be typical in an action movie, the plot is often driven by the next explosion or kidnapping. But it does mean the film takes a little while to settle into the storyline.

As the film progresses, Ryan’s girlfriend, Cathy Muller, is introduced and is portrayed as insecure and needy. So much so, that when Ryan is whisked off to Moscow seeking to uncover what lurks hidden in Russian accounts, she follows him, suspicious of an affair. Somehow assured of her suspicions by discovering a gun in his hotel room, she’s relieved when she learns the truth.

It’s funny in the moment, but mostly just an odd sidestep from the imminent threat.

With his girlfriend at his side, Ryan moves on to stop a terrorist attack and an assault on the U.S. economy. Shooting, breaking and entering, distraction and car chases ensue, leading with the predicable escape of Viktor Cherevin, the Russian businessman out for revenge.

Stateside, the action continues but concludes with inevitable success. The key to any good action-thriller.

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” is just that, a standard action thriller. There’s certainly nothing different or outstanding, but for those seeking an action-packed flick, it suits just fine.

The film opened Jan. 17.

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