Monday, 20 January 2014

Jack Ryan: Film Review


Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is an unusual film in that it is about a character who is the poster child for a lot of Tom Clancy's novels and films inspired by his novels. The character of Jack Ryan has had many faces, Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and now Chris Pine. Very much like James Bond, the character of Jack Ryan is the American super spy though unlike Bond the narrative makes Jack Ryan out to be an every man, an average Joe who rises to the occasion to become something more. It is this every man style of narrative that most films go for to bring the audience closer to it's protagonist.

With this reboot we start at the beginning(again) of Jack Ryan's career. This time however it is brought into the modern era. We meet Jack Ryan in his formative years in college, then 9/11 occurs and we are flash forwarded to Jack Ryan as a soldier, his unit is attacked and we are(again) flash forwarded to him in his rehabilitation where we meet Cathy(Kiera Knightley), the love interest. Jack is then recruited by shadowy agent Thomas Harper(Kevin Costner) to help with protecting the United States from terrorist actions. Flash forward(seriously?) ten years and we begin the narrative anew with Jack Ryan being sent to Russia(that's right the Russians are the bad guys) to seek out the nefarious leader of a conspiracy that may bring the United States to its knees.

Hey,have you ever wanted to travel back in time to a place where Americans are always good guys and Russians are bad guys and are patriotic to the extent that they will destroy an entire nation just to feel important again? Well you've come to the right place, welcome to cliche 90's film which is unusually set in 2014. There is so much wrong with this film,from the boring action set pieces to the unbelievably bad Kiera Knightley who gives such a terrible performance it just aches to watch, every little romantic moment her and Pine have is full of cliche's and I cringed watching every single one.



The most disappointing part of this film is the talent on hand and the talent behind the camera. I mean come on, Kenneth Branagh is the man who brought Thor to the mainstream. He is a fantastic actor, writer and director, so what happened? His character is laughably bad and is given literally two dimensions to work with. There is a terrorist attack shoe horned into the last twenty minutes which is absolutely ridiculous. Well there you have it, a film that celebrates everything America, Michael Bay would be proud.