Verdict: 2 / 5
I remember seeing the trailer for Jack Ryan for the first time in the cinema and bursting into uncontrollable laughter for some time.
It sounds like a parody from CollegeHumor; from the tacky overblown Russian villains to the blue eyed All-American hero destroying them, to the random explosions. Tom Clancy was very good at what he did, but what he did was create Cold-War era plots, and unfortunately, the Cold War is very much over. As are the 80s.
I would have been less offended if it even had generic Middle Eastern adversaries yet again. I would be bored, but I would find it more topical than once again trotting out the Russians for another showing. Leave it alone America, yes, you beat the big mean Soviets, well done, now let’s all move on as a culture. Wait for Putin to actually take over the world before you make movies implying he’s basically Darth Vader without the helmet.
At the very least this movie has some talent behind it, I guess. Chris Pine is a great leading man of our generation, and I don’t discount his talent in that department. Kenneth Branagh takes the role of chief villain and director, and he is skilled in both. The remainder of the slots are filled up by Kevin Costner, who I have warmed to in years, and Keira Knightley, who is… okay I guess.
The plot isn’t much though, Jack Ryan is a Shadow Recruit, and he must stop the Russians from bankrupting America overnight and crashing its economy. Things blow up. People are shot. Espionage happens.
Jack Ryan is pretty but vacant of any real soul. If you’re okay with that, go ahead. If not, avoid.