Jack Ryan's a Reacher
Whilst studying economics in London, Jack Ryan (Chris Pine - Star Trek: Into Darkness) felt drawn to join the marines after witnessing 9/11 on TV. His time in the marines was short lived but heroic when a chopper accident left him seriously injured and having to learn to walk again. But not only does he meet Cathy (Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game), the love of his love, whilst recuperating but also Harper (Kevin Costner - 3 Days to Kill) who recruits him to the C.I.A. to be a shadow agent on Wall Street, seeking out financial anomalies in accounts of a Russian by the name of Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh - My Week with Marilyn). But what Jack discovers not only leads him to Moscow but also leads to him becoming an active agent as he finds his life in danger as soon as he lands.
"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" on one hand is a nice reboot of the Jack Ryan series of movies with a storyline which introduces us to him and Cathy, allows us to see that whilst a genius when it comes to economics and trading is also a patriot who will do anything for his country and also the love of his life. And of course there is a bad guy with some nefarious plans involving not just bombs but also bringing down the US economy. As such it feels like "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" is not just a reboot but also a bit of a re-imagining bringing the character of Jack Ryan more in to line with say a James Bond or an Ethan Hunt.
But on the other hand "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" feels rushed and that may come from the fact the original script was an action thriller called "Dubai" which then got re-written to work as a reboot for Jack Ryan and so all the back story stuff ends up rushed, added to the start of the movie but with no great effect. It is a shame because the main storyline works as a nice action thriller with just enough action to keep entertaining but not so much that it over powers the storyline which is a routine bad guy good guy vehicle.
Part of what works about "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" is the casting with Chris Pine playing Jack in such an effortless way you would think he was born to play the part mixing action heroics with some minor touches of humour. And Kevin Costner is equally good at playing Harper, making him a character who you can sense saw a lot of who he once was in Ryan and so warming to him like a son. But for me the casting of Keira Knightley as Cathy was wrong, often appearing to be a mix of a deer caught in the headlights with school girl giggles, yet in a blink of an eye she suddenly turns in to a super cool character, who is unfrightened by the danger they were in.
What this all boils down to is that "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" is certainly an entertaining movie, the sort which if you were channel surfing late at night and stumbled across you might end up watching. But at the same time I sense the movie could have been so much more than it ended up with parts of it feeling horribly rushed.