A movie from another time: Jack Ryan

jack-ryan-shadow-recruitIN THE 105 minutes I sat in the Commodore watching Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, I was transported back to my childhood. This is the kind of spy movie that doesn’t often get made anymore but the kind that I used to spend many hours watching as a child. It feels very ‘Cold War’ in that it sees the US facing off with Russia once again but it is enjoyable none the less.

Chris Pine plays Jack Ryan, the eponymous intelligence analyst who, on a routine visit to Moscow, is ‘activated’ and gets embroiled in a plot to bring down the US economy. Keira Knightley is on surprisingly good form as Ryan’s fiancé and Kenneth Brannagh directs and plays the movies megalomaniac villain, Victor Cherevin.

Brannagh is excellent as the completely insane super villain and has shown he has some serious directorial credentials with this. His last offering was Thor, which remains the best movie to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Jack Ryan has proved he has a real eye for action movies. It is perfectly paced and clocking in at only 105 minutes is a breath of fresh air when compared to bloated, indulgent pieces such as The Wolf of Wall Street.

Despite the many positives, Jack Ryan is firmly one for the guys. There are only three female characters in the entire movie, two of them completely incidental, and Keira Knightley is little more than eye candy. The movie does seem slightly self-aware of this issue but its attempt to give Keira Knightley a more substantial role to play feels jarring and unnatural. As if a group of trained and experienced intelligence analysts would listen to the theories of a civilian?

In truth, Jack Ryan is little more than a paint-by-numbers spy thriller, but that’s not necessarily a criticism. It ticks all the boxes. Insane villain? Check. Edge-of-your-seat car chase? Check. Completely over-the-top plan to destroy the world? Check.

It is a movie from another time, when action movies were concise and spies saved the world every weekend at the multiplex. I’ve missed movies like this and I will be eagerly awaiting a sequel.