The reboot is nothing new. Studios are constantly searching the content they own for something new to bring back and try and make a quick buck off of. Some studios, it seems, enjoy rebooting a series that only a few years ago had a third film released and could have easily made another annoying sequel (we’re looking at you “Spider-Man” trilogy).
In the case of “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”, the studio opted to reboot a series that hadn’t had a film since 2002. Length of time since the last film doesn’t guarantee a successful film.
This Paramount Pictures released film was directed by Kenneth Branagh (“Thor”, “Sleuth”) and written by Adam Cozad and David Koepp (Panic Room”, “Jurassic Park”). It is based on characters created by Tom Clancy.
This action thriller stars Chris Pine (“Star Trek Into Darkness”, “People Like Us”), Kevin Costner (“Draft Day”, “3 Days to Kill”), Keira Knightley (“Begin Again”, “Anna Karenina”), and Branagh (“Wallander”, “My Week with Marilyn”).
I’ve only ever heard of the previous entries involving the character Jack Ryan, so fortunately for me, comparing any of them to this new film isn’t possible.
I think what makes this interesting is the idea that there will be some action in place and a relatively quick pacing to grant the film its thriller status. However, if you were led to believe this was the case, through TV spots, then this is your warning to stop believing that.
While this is a film that happily delights in not just filling you with several minutes of non-stop action, every other scene, it’s also the thing that makes this film difficult to watch. There’s so much back story at the beginning, which is fine and expected, for a reboot, but at the same time, there’s a point where I stop caring. The next troubling thing is that it takes so long to get to even the most interesting things. Between personal touches of PIne’s and Knightley’s characters, and his boring job, one can’t help but wonder when the fun stuff, the reason you wanted to see this, is going to begin? It doesn’t. Not really.
After all that, there’s really a collective of 40 minutes worth of anything that makes this film worth it. As a thriller, it’s supposed to build up a little bit of tension and contain scenes that really get you to hold your breath with anticipation. Sadly this was only accomplished once and rather predictably. It was still more fun to watch, than most of the rest of the film, but I expected more.
While the few, actual action scenes, were fun to watch, it was Knightley that kept me interested far more than I should’ve been. In this case, it wasn’t just the fact that she’s beautiful, but that she’s sporting a pretty awesome American accent. In films where I know the accent is different, I have no choice but to judge them as well. Most do a very good job, and some, like Emma Stone in “The Help”, don’t manage it as well as you’d expect. Knightley was practically flawless. Of course, I could recognize some differences with pronunciation, but that’s almost a given, as she’s not speaking in the normal manner she’s used to. I was mostly amazed at how consistent it was and was able to be really excited for that, as I haven’t heard her with a different accent since “The Jacket”.
While this film wasn’t anything spectacular, especially that original or adding to the genre, it was fun. Just a quick way to escape and have fun. On that front, I can’t tell who’s to blame. The writers weren’t necessarily bad, but the difference comes, they had to really create the story. As opposed to the previous films, this one wasn’t based on any particular novel, where everything’s more or less given to you. I like that they wanted to be original, but that’s probably what hurt this film the most.