Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: A shadow of the former Ryan but still pretty good

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comJanuary 16, 2014 

Film Review Jack Ryan

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Chris Pine in "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," an action thriller about a young covert CIA analyst who uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Larry Horricks)

LARRY HORRICKS — AP

Chris Pine -- Star Trek's Captain Kirk -- is taking on another near legendary role. He's the new Jack Ryan, Tom Clancy's slick spy from his now classic novels. The film starts with Ryan watching the World Trade Center attack in 2001 and joining the fight in Afghanistan. He's wounded in a helicopter attack and crash. While hospitalized, he woos and wins Cathy Muller and is recruited by CIA honcho Thomas Harper.

Flash forward a decade and Ryan -- who is now a CIA analyst undercover on Wall Street -- discovers a Russian plot to bring down the U.S. economy. He's sent to Russia to figure out what's happening and to give it the usual action hero fix.

Pine is the fourth actor to do Ryan, joining a group nearly as fabled as his character: Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. He lives up to the challenge, but much of that may be because of director Kenneth Branagh's (Thor) storytelling skill and camera wizardry. Pine is also helped with great co-stars, Branagh as the film's villain, Kevin Costner doing Ryan's boss Harper, and Keira Knightley, who plays Muller, and from a pretty good story from first-time writer Adam Cozad that is polished by old pro David Koepp (Angels & Demons).

Clancy -- who died late last year -- might take exception to the liberties his beloved character's back story. Unless you're a purist, you won't notice that Ryan is a shadow of his old self. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit starts fast and stays there. And from the time Ryan hits Moscow to the riveting -- but not that unexpected or original -- ending, this one is a nail-biter.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars

Rated PG-13 for mature themes, some violence. It is playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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