Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
CIA Agent’s Origin.

Am I the only guy that has never actually heard of the character Jack Ryan? Maybe. I mean, I’ve seen some movies featuring the guy, but it’s not like the name itself is memorable enough to remember over the movies. Of course I’ve heard of and even seen some of the other films, which are The Sum of All Fears, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, and The Hunt for Red October. I don’t really remember the ones I’ve seen, but the titles ring familiar with popularity. However, Jack Ryan as a character still seems more forgettable than he should be, which I’m sure is why they added his name to the title of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. If people really knew this guy, I’m sure it would be like all the rest and just be called Shadow Recruit. I digress. I still wanted to see this movie because of rising action star Chris Pine. Had to see how he would add to this semi-silent franchise.

Okay, so basically this Jack Ryan character is this patriotic fellow that joined the marines when he watched the events of 9/11 transpire before his eyes. After surviving a huge accident, he is recruited by this underground CIA operation that would have him act as an analyst that kept track of financial trafficking that would eventually lead to terrorist activities. When he runs into hidden Russian accounts that would eventually lead to another Great Depression, he is transformed into an agent to go inside and ultimately stop this from happening.

Okay, so let’s talk about the foundation for this story. This is a spy movie, right? So let’s have some spy stuff. Yeah, there were a couple of scenes that are really effective and very Mission: Impossible-like but for the most part, it has a really slow start. It is an origin story, I get that, so they wanted as much character and story development as possible, but it wasn’t exciting story or character development. Wall Street has always been boring and confusing to me. So confusing, in fact, that other characters in the film had to ask this guy to clarify details to them – and they are in the CIA. Come on. Even then, it didn’t really make sense or feel like an espionage story.

I think the main idea was to have a more realistic story that the CIA would actually investigate instead of say, cliché moments that we’ve seen before with the CIA, like terrorist attacks, but isn’t that what Hollywood film is all about? Fulfilling people’s wishes to see those cliché moments when they are accepted? Sure, we want originality sometimes, but I’m not so sure it worked in this case. For the most part, even the spy stuff felt like your typical spy movie. Decent car chases, fights, and tech-savvy scenes, but it lacks…a special quality. Even with the name Jack Ryan added to the title, I still think he’s a forgettable character…that’s sad.

It’s not a bad movie, it’s just not as special as it definitely should be. It has the solid ability to hold your attention, and it has some intelligently written scenes here and there, but that’s it. It doesn’t stick out as your go-to spy movie, but it makes a decent rental.

The Good:

Chris Pine has the face for action. No matter the film, he’s still fun to watch as he races about, trying to avoid global catastrophe. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a pretty decent rental as it has the ability to hold your attention until the end.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, even with the addition of his name put into the title, Jack Ryan is still a pretty forgettable character. Now, I haven’t seen all of his films, so I can’t say the same for the movies, but Shadow Recruit isn’t as good as what it sets itself out to be.

Memorable Quote:

Viktor Cherevin: You Americans like to think of yourselves as direct. Perhaps you are just rude.

Jack Ryan: You Russians like to think you’re poets but perhaps you’re just touchy.

6 thoughts on “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

  1. I’ve seen Sum of All Fears (and played the game) and Red October, and I liked those movies, but I haven’t seen the Harrison Ford movies yet.


  2. Good review Dave. Despite it not being the most memorable thing in all of the world, I still had fun with it. And hell, if they decided to roll with this franchise and give it a try, I would not at all be against that.


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