Arts movie review

Too predictable, too cheesy

Though entertaining, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit falls short

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Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley) in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the fifth installment in the action thriller series.
Larry Horricks


Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Starring Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, and Kenneth Branagh

Rated PG-13

Now playing

Jack Ryan, a dashing blue-eyed young man eager to serve his country suffers a terrible — and grossly depicted — helicopter accident. While recovering, he falls in love with his nurse, future fiancée Cathy (Keira Knightley). But we all know that. Jack Ryan is a character created by Tom Clancy, previously played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck, though this time the story is not based on a Clancy novel.

A former student of economics at the London School of Economics, Ryan is recruited by a CIA-agent-turned-father-figure, William Harper (Kevin Costner), to work undercover at Wall Street. His profession obliges him to lead a secret double life, making his fiancée suspicious and fear he has an affair.

But Ryan is too good a boy to be entertaining any fantasies of infidelity. His mind is busy looking for fishy transactions that look like a threat. And he finds them. Led by Viktor Cheverin (Kenneth Branagh) the Russians are plotting to sink the U.S. economy and execute a terrorist attack. He is flown to Moscow where, after a welcoming murder attempt, he has to deal with his suspicious girl’s surprise visit. The truth comes out and she is relieved to learn his beau is not a cheater but a CIA agent on a quest to save the US. At that point everyone is involved, and she has to play along. While she flirts with Viktor, Jack hacks their system and William monitors and protects the whole operation.

As an action thriller it will do its job at making you wish you had a tablet of Pepto-Bismol on you. But as far as the story goes, it is just so predictable! Gosh, there were a few scenes that told you all you needed to fill in the blanks and some others that were just plain cheesy: meetings in the forest, gratuitous beatings of employees, godlike light emitting from the presidential office upon the completion of the mission and a riddle that’s solved by the “most unlikely person” … An entertaining film I would not pay to go see.