Monday, 16 June 2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

Well this looks like a reasonably slick espionage mov...BANG! REBOOT! ugh! Yep Ryan's back in the fifth film of the Tom Clancy novel adapted franchise that really did seem like it was dead in the water. But guess what! this time they have abandoned the Clancy stories completely and gone with a fully original idea that just happens to be yet another fudging origins tale...Jesus H Christ! another flippin' origins reboot.

So we see how Ryan starts off his career, becomes a marine, gets badly injured, meets his future wife and finally ends up working secretly for old man Costner blah blah blah...its all of no importance. Bottom line Ryan is working as a covert CIA analyst and trying to snoop out suspect money transactions that could lead to terrorist attacks. Low and behold he finds one! a suspicious looking operation that stereotypically leads him to Russia where he must bring down the evil Kenneth Branagh with lots of hi-tech jiggery pokery.

What can I say? the entire cast of this film felt completely miscast in my humble opinion. Kenneth Branagh directed this film and conveniently gave himself the meatiest role as the main bad guy. The problem is whilst Branagh can do a marvellous Russian accent he can't really pull off the bad guy spiel too well and comes across as trying way too hard with his dastardly cool as ice persona. I get the feeling he's been watching Alan Rickman in 'Die Hard' too much, watching him slap his men around just came across as funny. Pine as the main protagonist Ryan was always coming across as 'Kirk' to me quite strangely, every time the action kicks in I just see him running around spaceship corridors. While he isn't bad as the main guy he isn't exactly thrilling to watch either, he does the desk jockey pen pushing angle well but in the thick of some realistic action he doesn't quite sell it for me. I think the problem being we've seen Jack Ryan as a young smart keen company boy already with Affleck and Baldwin, and this doesn't really feel any different, wash rinse and repeat. The less said about the awful Knightly the better frankly, she just doesn't look comfortable in this type of movie, stick to your rom-com's and silly fantasies dear.

I think in general this is a standard run of the mill espionage action thriller that combines elements from 'The Bourne Identity' and 'Mission: Impossible'. I'm sure you can guess what I'm getting at...this film offers nice sequences of standard hi-tech computer hacking gadget filled tomfoolery with some nice chase sequences and a bit of fisticuffs to boot. None of it is anything remarkably special, we've seen it all before albeit this time its inevitably slicker and glossier.

The whole rollercoaster sequence where Ryan must infiltrate Branagh's posh offices, hack his computer and download/upload files for the CIA is the main set piece and admittedly its done well. Think of the Cruise sequence in the first 'M:I' flick where he's dangling from wires...well that doesn't happen here but there's the same kind of high tension as Ryan must hack n jack within a time limit before his actions become noticed and the bad guys come running. Its the best bit of the whole film and it did make me sweat I won't deny, of course you know he will make it but still. Other than that its pretty much the same kind of stuff you've come to chases, damage porn, a few punch ups and a big explosion at the very end which really should of caused a lot of damage despite the film making it out to be a happy ending.

It all came across as a very tame safe sanitized action thriller with not much action or any solid brute violence. I'm not saying that violence makes a film but I think this needed some beefing up definitely. Branagh is a competent director but here he offers nothing new or anything to stretch the limits of our imaginations. There are many espionage franchises out there these days and at the end of the day this just doesn't cut the mustard if you ask me. Back in the day the older Jack Ryan movies fared better because there was less competition in this genre, these days forget it, this is going nowhere fast.