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Review Rating: 2/4

Release Date: January 17, 2014

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action, and brief strong language 

Categorized as Action, Thriller

Directed by Kenneth Branagh


Post-deployment, post-injury, isn’t it every army man’s dream to be recruited for the CIA?  I don’t know but that’s what all the movies seem to tell me.

After being severely wounded during his deployment to Afghanistan, second lieutenant Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) thought the CIA was his next best move. He returns to the London School of Economics to complete his PhD and then accepts a position as a CIA analyst, doubling as an investment analyst on Wall Street. He soon realizes that this job isn’t going to be all rainbows and ponies, or even as simple and uninvolved as he was originally promised.

Ten years of working his desk job and discreetly meeting higher-up agents in old movie theaters, Jack is beginning to regret his secretive career of choice as it continually strains his relationship with his fiancé Cathy (Keira Knightly). Then, at work he discovers inconsistencies and secret accounts in the documents of certain high up Russian government officials. Uncovered, the hidden accounts are revealed to be a complex plot of financial terrorism against the United States and the rest of the world.

After alerting his bosses in the CIA, Jack finds himself assigned to the case and stations in Moscow. There, he must confront face-to-face the dangerous men behind the plot and shut down the operation without further risking his own safety, his fiancé’s and that of America as a whole.

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”, based on Tom Clancy’s spy novels of the same name, is the action movie of all action movies. It has all the right ingredients: terrorism, Russians, sexy female characters, kidnappings, the CIA, a dash of secret agent play and, of course, guns and explosions. And while all of that is fine and good, I mean it in the worst way possible. It’s nothing you haven’t already seen. The Russians are out to destroy the U.S. and the CIA has to stop them- your typical American hero story. I could name six other films off the top of my head that have the exact same basic plot line. It’s the Borne trilogy’s slower, dumber American cousin.

That being said, it isn’t a bad film by any standards. “Jack Ryan” is entertainment, a fun ride. The acting is decent, aside from Knightly’s flat-out awful American accent. The action is believable enough and the plot takes just enough twists and turns to keep the audience intrigued, not lost. But unfortunately, it’s not anything exceptionally worthwhile. This is one film that you can wait until matinée price or even until it’s on DVD or Netflix to see.

photo from [http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/moviemom/2014/01/jack-ryan-shadow-recruit.html]