Thursday, 23 January 2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Hollywood has done very well out of CIA operative Jack Ryan. No matter which actor portrays him, no matter his age, no matter the setting, they keep churning out movies with this character and we keep on going to see them.

In 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' it is back to the future and we see how Ryan, portrayed this time by the startlingly blue eyed Chris Pine, was recruited into the CIA following a period of recuperation after an incident in Afghanistan. He is employed as an economic analyst looking for signs of economic terrorism and he discovers something awry with, you guessed it, investment accounts in Russia.

That's the catalyst for this latest Ryan adventure.

Life for a CIA operative may be incident filled but it also can be surprisingly easy. Computers rarely fail. Files can be downloaded with the speed of light no matter how complex or numerous they may be. And should you find yourself unexpectedly in need of, let's say, the blueprints for what lies beneath an entire block in New York City; these can be organised instantaneously.

Kenneth Branagh has directed this iteration of the franchise and perhaps unwisely has given himself the major role as Russian villain. I say unwisely because he has available, in a lesser role, a real life Russian in Mikhail Baryshnikov who would have made a perfectly charming villain with the advantage of being a native Russian speaker. Curiously Baryshnikov is mentioned nowhere in the credits as far as I can see. I hope he was paid!

This is not the best, nor the worst of this type of espionage thriller. Most of what transpires is fairly improbable and while the first half lacks suspense the second half generally makes up for it.

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