Movie Review: Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 3/5 Stars

Bottom Line: A bit of a convoluted plot.  Some good action.  All in all, mindless fun.

This is not your daddy’s Jack Ryan.  Gone is the Cold War intrigue between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. of the Tom Clancy novels.  Here is the new economy intrigue between the U.S. and the C.I.S. as Jack Ryan gets rebooted for the next generation.  Also gone, unfortunately, is the cerebralness of many of the prior Clancy movies as the reboot decides to go the pure action route.

Every reboot needs an origin story and this one has it.  Economics PhD student Jack Ryan drops out of the London School of Economics when 9/11 happens.  He joins the Marines and is sent to Afghanistan.  He ends up getting shot down in a helicopter and severely injuring his back.  While in rehab, he meets his love interest and is recruited into the CIA as an undercover analyst.

Analysts are boring, though.  So after an assassination attempt, Jack quickly goes from analyst to operative.  There is a large suspension of disbelief required for this moment.  I won’t go into more detail than that, but the whole thing about Jack becoming an operative is kind of eye-rolling.  It doesn’t detract from the movie at all, but it would have been nice if they weren’t so sloppy.

The movie has all of your necessary spy thriller scenes.  There’s the breaking into a super secure building to steal information.  There’s the distracting the bad guy so the break-in can occur.  There’s the kidnapping of the love interest.  There’s the car chase to rescue the love interest.  There’s the montage of unlikely jumping to conclusions where they figure the whole plot out.  There’s a bomb.  There’s a motorcycle chase scene.  There’s Jack saving the day.

Yes, it’s all pretty formulaic, but it works.   I would like a Jack Ryan movie with a bit more depth than this had, but I also wouldn’t mind seeing another one of this quality.