Nerdlocker Movie Review – Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit


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Director Kenneth Branagh brings an origin story to one of Tom Clancy’s most endeared characters. For those not familiar with Jack Ryan, here’s a brief history. Ryan has been portrayed on screen by such actor’s such as Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October, Harrison Ford in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger and most recently with Ben Affleck in the Sum of All Fears.

I, for one, was skeptical going into the film due to how iconic the character is. I thought The Sum of All Fears wasn’t the best representation of Jack Ryan since the film deviated from the books entirely, but I had faith in Director Kenneth Branagh as he reboots the franchise once again.

We are introduced to Jack Ryan played by Chris Pine (Star Trek into the Darkness, Horrible Bosses 2) as a college student who is thrust to go into the Navy after the events of 9/11. While in service, he goes down in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan and suffers substantial injuries to his back. We are then introduced by both Keira Knightly (Pirates of the Caribbean, Pride and Prejudice) who portrays Cathy Muller a nursing student rehabilitating Ryan and Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves, The Untouchables) as C.I.A. operative Thomas Harper who recruits Ryan into becoming a deep cover analyst who must uncover any potential terrorist attacks.


The film starts off high paced with the helicopter scene but becomes slow once it fasts forward 10 years later as Ryan is so deep undercover that he must head to Moscow after he discovers abnormal activities in a company that is backing the investment firm he is working for. Between the set up to the main story plot and the run around he must have with now fiancée Muller it got a bit slow.

Once in Moscow though things do pick up and the movie becomes the espionage spy thriller you are expecting from the get go. We meet Viktor Cherevin played by Kenneth Branagh (Frankenstien, Valkyrie) who is doing double duty as director and actor. Cherevin is the CEO of the company that Ryan is investigating, but his real motive is what pushes the movie to what it really is; Branagh’s performance was ruthless. He brought the aggression that I wished both Chris Pine and Kevin Costner would have had.


The movie itself is great, especially at this time of year. I was disappointed by a lot of the cast as the acting was subpar. Chris Pine does a good job as Jack Ryan as the character is thrust into a world he’s not used to. But as the film progresses he takes the lead and becomes the character we all want to see. Keria Knightly really doesn’t do much, but compared to Bridget Moynahan portrayal of the same character, it was tolerable. I had to keep in mind that this was not a continuation from the Sum of All Fears. Kevin Costner as the veteran actor that he is did a decent job as well but his portrayal wasn’t memorable.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a good reboot for the Jack Ryan franchise and is terrific once you get into the second and third act. The film is at times edgy and has enough suspense and action to bring this espionage film together. I would say it is a good film to checkout but I wouldn’t say rush to the theaters.

Rated PG-13 for: Violence and intense action.
Run time: 1 hours and 45 minutes.
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightly, Kenneth Branagh, Alec Utgoff, Lenn Kudrijawizki, Elena Velikanova, Gemma Chang and Derek Lea.
Director: Kenneth Branagh


Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3 / Acting: 3 / Directing: 4 / Visuals: 3
OVERALL: 3 out of 5 Nerdskulls

Check out the trailer below:

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