Blu-ray review: Jack Ryan - Shadow Recruit
(Paramount Pictures, M)
When is a prequel not a prequel? When it tells the origin story of a popular character but has him tied up in world events which follow those his older self experienced.
Chris Pine plays the young Jack Ryan, a marine turned CIA agent after the events of 9/11.
The only problem is the previous Jack Ryan movies, The Hunt For Red October, Patriot Games, Clear And Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears, feature a much older Ryan during the height of the Cold War and the activities of the Irish Republican Army.
This story makes no sense in that context, neither does it make any sense that Pine is the fourth actor to play the role. Alec Baldwin was followed by Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck.
It makes more sense when you hear, in the special features, that Ford was in contention to return to the role but the script took so long to develop that he went off and did other work.
One can't help wonder if the original intention was to have an older Ryan deal with the aftermath of 9/11.
So Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit feels more like a reboot than a prequel. The fact that it is based on the late writer Tom Clancy's character rather than on one of his books also gives it something in common with the recent James Bond reboot.
Both Bond and Jason Bourne are characters Ryan has a lot in common with, too, yet he is far more human than those two uber heroes.
He has a real life outside of his job and it's just possible that he might lose the fight or, even worse, his life, in this film.
Pine's performance is just what you'd expect from the same actor who played Captain Kirk in the Star Trek reboot, and Kenneth Branagh makes a wonderful Russian foil for him. A new Cold War is brewing and Branagh, who plays a Russian financial whiz, is about to launch an attack on the Western world with the nastiest of weapons . . . money.
It was great to see Kevin Costner, as Ryan's recruiter, back in a role that suits him. Although lovely as Keira Knightley is I felt her doctor just didn't quite fit as Ryan's love interest. Somehow she didn't seem his type.
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