‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ Review Roundup

January 15, 2014

The long awaited ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,’ stars Chris Pine the latest actor to take on the iconic role in the highly anticipated reboot of the franchise directed by Kenneth Branagh and based on the Tom Clancey series of novels.

Jack Ryan has been missed. If the old adage is true about absence making the heart grow fonder, than twelve long years should produce a great deal of longing for the character and the spy thriller series which saw its last iteration in 2002 with Ben Affleck’s Jack Ryan in ‘The Sum of All Fears.’ And before him, stretching back into its history, Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin filled those shoes.

For all the excitement and buzz, there is sadness as well as Tom Clancey, novelist and creator of the memorable character sadly has not lived to see this return. It marks the first time that Jack Ryan has been seen in the post 9-11 world as he transitions from CIA analyst to CIA operative and all the power and danger that entails. The new movie is also much anticipated as its director is none other than Kenneth Branagh (‘The Magic Flute,’ ‘Thor’) who is also on the other side of the screen as the villain, Viktor Cheverin, a Russian tycoon hell-bent on controlling the economy of the entire world.

The movie critics are weighing in on the much heralded return of Jack Ryan. Here’s a roundup.

“….Despite the occasional hard-to-believe moment, the reboot of the 1990s franchise (later doomed by Ben Affleck, before the next “Batman” turns him into a serial franchise killer) is soundly structured, smart and fast, with a plausible central scenario, several gripping moments and well-wrought dialogue. If it isn’t quite as gritty or intelligent as the Bourne movies it is — as Ryan responds when asked if he’s still “intact” after nearly taking a few unexpected bullets — close enough…..” — New York Post

“… Crisp, efficient and appreciably modest in scale for a picture that imagines a Russian terrorist attack massive enough to upstage 9/11, this conspicuous attempt to breathe new life into a long-dormant action franchise gets at least a few things right, chiefly the shrewd casting of Chris Pine….” — Variety

“….[Chris] Pine is fine as the uniformed-turned-covert patriot; he lacks the physical stature of his predecessors and it’s not entirely believable that he could prevail over the African bodyguard who turns on him. Beyond Costner, Branagh and Knightley, all good to have around, the cast doesn’t possess the sort of depth or number of prominent players that the earlier Jack Ryan features did….” — Hollywood Reporter

“….Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is half silliness, half swagger, but Branagh’s arms-akimbo impudence as a director makes it work. He takes it all seriously, but with a wink….Even though plenty of people will end up watching Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit on their iPads, or on a tiny square installed in the back of an airline seat, Branagh is steadfast in his love of grandeur. It’s as if his goal is to be visible from the moon. And who knows? Maybe he is….” — Village Voice

“….Branagh did a nice job of directing Thor, but all he can do here is try to energize the recycled pulp of the script. Costner is in fine dry form, Knightley is at her most open and gorgeous, and Pine goes through the motions of saving the Western world with a swaggery concentration that keeps you watching……” — Entertainment Weekly

‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ movie opens in theaters on on January 17, 2014. Will moviegoers flock to the reboot? Will they accept Chris Pine as the lead? These are always the looming questions.

Pictures: PR Photos

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