Prior to seeing the movie, I would have categorized it as action/ thriller/ drama, but it does not hold ground on any of those genres. There is action, but not as much as you would expect. The thrill is light as air because of the predictability of the storyline. When it comes to the drama, there isn’t much that keeps your mind glued to the story. But it’s not a total letdown.
The movie follows Jack Ryan, a character who first appeared in many Tom Clancy novels. It starts on a slow note with a peek into the story of CIA operative Jack Ryan played by Chris Pine. Jack dropped out of his PhD program to join the Marines after 9/11. After surviving an air strike abroad and while recovering in a rehabilitation facility, he is recruited to the CIA. He then works on Wall Street analyzing financial data and looking for transactions indicating terrorist involvement. Halfway through the movie, the story still feels like it’s going nowhere. It then kicks into motion when Jack is sent to Moscow for a field assignment. We then get to see Kenneth Branagh portray Viktor Cherevin, a Russian industrialist with a secret agenda to sink the American economy. Kenneth portrays Viktor with finesse and seems capable of being a strong villain, though he is downplayed by the script (perhaps because he also directed the movie). I wish that he was on screen more. While the movie has other big names like Kevin Costner, playing Jack’s recruiter, and Keira Knightly, playing Jack’s physical therapist and later girlfriend, neither has much to contribute to the story and both lack substance.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ultimately contains poorly written characters that you never connect with and a really bland storyline of a CIA agent averting an attack on homeland. It fails to pack the punch of Tom Clancy’s original character. Personally I wouldn’t call it a bad movie, but I would only suggest watching this movie on the big screen if you lack a better option. (Psst… If you haven’t seen previous releases such as American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street, Her, or Frozen, please consider going for those movies first!!!)