Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit does its best to sound intelligent by bringing geopolitical battle lines into the picture, it lacks the intensity to be categorised as espionage cinema, writes Paloma Sharma.
Based on a character created by American author Tom Clancy, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is the fifth installment of the Jack Ryan series.
Jack Ryan’s was one of the many lives that 9/11 changed forever. Ryan (Chris Pine), then a PhD student at the London School of Economics, drops out to become a marine in the US military and serve his country.
An exceptionally intelligent soldier, Ryan is wounded fatally in Afghanistan while saving two of his men when their chopper is attacked by a missile.
Although he manages to survive, his leg is rendered almost completely useless. That's when he meets Cathy (Keira Knightly), a final year medical student who needs to assist him in order to earn her credits in physiotherapy and become a full fledged doctor.
But Cathy is not the only one who has an eye on him.
When a shadow from the CIA comes knocking on Jack's door with an offer that the patriot in him cannot refuse, little does he know that a decade later everything that he holds dear will be endangered.
Let's be honest here - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is no Bourne, but it isn't a Mr and Mrs Smith either. While it does its best to sound intelligent by bringing geopolitical battle lines into the picture, it lacks the intensity to be categorised as espionage cinema.
Kenneth Branagh, the film's director, builds up an interesting story by choosing to talk about economic terrorism and blood money but he leaves one little time to reflect. The camera keeps spinning, Ryan keeps running and the story keeps slipping away until, eventually, you all but suffocate.
Although the politics of the film seems like it came from George Bush's playbook, which in itself is quite a disturbing thing, if the film were viewed in isolation from its ideologies, it had so much potential.
Both Pine and Knightly have very little to work with since life altering events are treated as secondary to the fight scenes and cheesy political commentary. That, perhaps, explains the below-par acting from the leads.
The strongest character of any spy-related film is the antagonist. Unfortunately, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit 's bad guy, Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) is the most boring, one-dimensional villain to hit the screen.
While not a complete waste of time, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit could have used a solid script and some more patient direction before waltzing into a theatre near you.