“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” focuses on the Tom Clancy-created character, Jack Ryan (Chris Pine), a CIA analyst who’s suddenly made operational after coming across hidden files suggesting a Russian oligarch is about to unleash a devastating financial attack on the United States. As the most knowledgeable person on the case, Jack’s superior, William Harper (Kevin Costner), decides he’s the man for the job and sends Jack on his first field assignment to Moscow where he’s expected to uncover the details of the terrorist plot before Kenneth Branagh’s Viktor Cherevin can topple the economy.
Oddly enough, more happens to Jack in the 15 minutes prior to everything in that synopsis. We meet a young Jack in London where his studies are interrupted by the 9/11 attacks. He’s inspired to join the Marines and becomes an all-star solider until his helicopter is shot down, landing him in rehab for months. His doctor-in-training, Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley), motivates him to suck it up and get back on his feet, and that’s when Costner’s Harper moves in, waiting until the time is right and then recruiting Jack for the CIA. Now that’s a movie. The script doesn’t give these life-changing events much time to breathe, but based on this sampling, had the film chronicled the ups and downs of Jack’s career prior to becoming an analyst, there would have been far more heart and meaning to the experience.
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