Friday, January 17, 2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit- Review

I'm beginning to believe Jack Ryan might have the ability to regenerate like the Doctor. Because, every time I see him he's played by a younger actor. That being said, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit may not be the best action thriller. But, it is promising start to a new year of movies and a new series of Jack Ryan films. But, for every high this film this film experiences. There are lows that hurt this film as much as one of Jack Ryan's punches.

One of the best things about Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is the acting. Chris Pine brings a fresh cockiness and perspective. on the title character. He is able to tackle all the sides of Jack Ryan with much ease. As he can move from the most romantic person in the world to strategic action hero in one breath. And once he makes that transition he becomes more than just another Bourne carbon copy. Kevin Costner, does a great job of playing the to the point mentor, William Harper. The only actor who fails to deliver completely is the director, Kenneth Branagh. Who magically, ends up with some of the best lines in the script. But, when he ends up with some the worst he's unable to turn them around. His slow and staggered delivery is no match for Pine's agility as an actor. Causing their scenes together to be awkward at best.

Most of the film itself is beautifully shot and filled with plenty of shadows to hide in. Unless, it's a fight scene. Which are shot entirely in close ups. Creating, an unclear bout as I am left to assume Jack Ryan is punching somebody. Unless, somebody is punching him. Wait, are they kicking each other? Who knows. Occasionally, there's a wide shot which clarifies that Jack Ryan is wrapped around somebody and punching them. But, then it's back into the melee of swooshy close ups. These fight scenes are few and far between and it's easy to say he take's about one person down with his bare hands per act. As for the rest of the camera work it's best when it's a locked off shot. Because, the Steadicams have a tendency to wander off and lose focus of what's important. Which seems to be a common theme in some of the editing, too.

For instance, there is this huge elaborate chase scene through the streets of Moscow. Yet, there are frequent cuts to establishing shots of Moscow that have none of the car chase in them. It's a very baffling choice to make. But, when the right decisions are made in the editing and the shooting one thing is created. On the edge of your seat action sequences. Most notably the one at the climax of the film. Which is brilliantly built up to.

Although, there are some pacing issues and a general lack of espionage. The script manages to remain somewhat tidy. A little too tidy, in fact. It would have been nice if we spent more time with the sleeper cell and if Jack Ryan had more than one scene of hardcore spy action. There could have been more intense moments that could have made the second act more interesting. There seems to be minimal amount of espionage in this script in order to call it a spy movie. Especially, compared to Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol or Skyfall.  In return, we end up with a nice little reboot, that's not too heavy on origin story.

As I stated in my opening paragraph, this is a very promising beginning to what will hopefully be a new franchise for Chris Pine. I'm looking forward to Jack Ryan's next adventure. I just hope it's not in Russia.

Paul's Score- 7 out of 10

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