Kenneth Branagh brings a pantomime Russian villain and a sub-Bourne seriousness to an incredibly unimaginative and flat action flick. Chris Pine plays Jack Ryan, a completely uncharismatic and undeveloped action hero, a former soldier, high in handsome but lacking in cool, allegedly very good on computers and clearly adept at handling high paced car chases in major cities. He’s in love with Keira Knightley, mainly because they’re both incredibly good looking. It’s got a very hackneyed post-911 plot, muddled with an equally boring Cold War sensibility which laps cliche upon cliche.
Any Shakespearean sophistication which may be expected from Branagh’s direction goes unnoticed as the film lack flair, attempting the slickness of the Bourne franchise with plodding, middle of the road visuals and plot mechanics. Branagh’s villainous Russian has its tongue so firmly within its cheek that it smacks of self indulgence from the director. What on earth is a ‘Shadow Recruit’? It’s a couple words cobbled together, much like the entire film.
Review by David Rank
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is out now in the UK and US. Running time 105 mins. Certificate 12A (UK).