I’m in sunny Florida this week, having taken a Boeing 767-400 through United down to Orlando. Flight time is a relatively short 2+ hour, but I got some work done while watching Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) on the seat back monitors. Note to United: really nice plane and the complimentary screen with viewing options is a nice amenity for the passenger. The flight was delayed an hour taking off from Newark, and the crying children weren’t my choice, but I shamefully liked that it was a half empty flight. Funny, because when I attempted to book it, the flight appeared full. Instead, I get a window seat and two seats to myself.
Anyway, so I watched one of Chris Pine’s latest Hollywood films. I do love a good Tom Clancy / Jack Ryan film. I missed the previous film The Sum of All Fears (2002) starring Ben Affleck. I don’t think it reviewed or performed well, as I don’t recall much interest or buzz when it came out. Fast forward to 2014 and we Chris Pine stepping into the role. Directed by Kenneth Brannaugh, the 2014 film is a prequel or reboot of sorts. As I read the history on this film, it turns out this is the first Jack Ryan film that isn’t based on any of Clancy’s original works. It’s a prequel about Jack Ryans’ start within the CIA.
Without giving out any key spoilers, I found the dastardly villainous plot to be a little… anti-climactic. I was also surprised at how quickly “Jack Ryan the 1st year junior CIA analyst” got turned into a field agent with such limited training and experience. I mean, I love Jack Ryan as much as any self-respecting red-blooded American would, but geez, doesn’t the CIA have more experienced assets to put up in the field to battle wits with Kenneth Branaugh’s villainous Cherevin and his FASB cronies?
Kiera Knightley stars as Jack’s fiance then young wife. She’s okay. Kevin Costner stars as Jack’s handler or manager or whatever. He’s also okay. The action in the film got a little hinky and unbelievable towards the end, again, because Jack is an now an analyst with previously unknown action star abilities and reflexes.
What I found ironic was the movie tagline: “Trust no one.” Spoiler alert! You can easily identify the bad guys, and you can trust all of the good guys. The writer and director (and Marketing Dept) warn you that you shouldn’t trust anyone, but really, there are no big twists. Rather disappointing and misleading. Once you realize that, it made the film plot even more anti-climactic.