Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is an Action Thriller that is 50% romance, 25% action and 25% comedy.
Having said this, the film still has a nice balance, and during the action sequences it was very tense, making it feel thrilling.
The film opens with the devastation of 9/11, establishing early on that the film is about terrorist attacks on America. This opening and central idea makes the film feel like it was going to be a very predictable and conventional secret agent film.
However, I admit I was wrong about that. The film is about Jack Ryan (Chris Pine), and his duties as part of the CIA. Yet, many aspects of it surprised me and it wasn’t as predictable as I originally thought.This was mainly thanks to the unexpected personalities of the characters, as well as plenty of shocking plot twists.
For me, the highlight of the film was the villain, Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh), because Branagh’s performance was very amusing, with his portrayal making it hard to dislike the film’s ‘baddie’. What’s more, through the dialogue we begin to learn the background of Viktor, making us sympathise even more. This did take me by surprise, as it is not something you would normally expect from an action thriller; action thrillers generally consists of the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’ with no in between. However, I did like this because it gave the characters more than just one dimension, making the film and characters feel more realistic.
On the other hand, the protagonist, Jack Ryan (the ‘good guy’), was portrayed as a very honest man. Chris Pine plays a CIA agent, but one that lacks James Bond confidence and isn’t quite as fearless. As well as this, the audience is led to understand that he is a character who had to learn to kill, something that he first seemed incapable of.
Through the film, Jack Ryan had to balance his duties as a CIA agent and his love with Cathy Muller (Keira Knightly), something which creates a nice plot background to the action scenes.
During the film, Jack is unable to tell Cathy the truth about his mysterious behavior, leaving her to believe he is having an affair, which does lead to tension between the two.
The romance between these two characters works really well, with great chemistry between Knightly and Pine bringing the relationship to life. Their romance is definitely a story that the audience would want to follow, suggesting this isn’t the end of Jack Ryan, it’s only the beginning.
Overall, it was a film that was full of life and has a quality for everyone to enjoy. Seeing Tom Clancy’s character brought to life by Chris Pine was wonderful and I look forward to seeing more of Jack Ryan in the future.
Image: Jack Ryan © Paramount Pictures 2014