‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ review: Run-of-the-mill, but not unenjoyable

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.

'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' review: Chris Pine (Jack Ryan) and Kevin Costner (Thomas Harper) in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Chris Pine (Jack Ryan) and Kevin Costner (Thomas Harper) in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Movie synopsis

In this origin story of Tom Clancy’s iconic hero, a young covert CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Chris Pine), uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit review in a nutshell

Your typical Cold War-era spy thriller involving Americans and hammy Russians.

Would I recommend you watch it?

Do you usually like spy thrillers? This is another one to add to your collection. Since the Cold War is long over, you can imagine how oft-used and trite this storyline is. But the action bits are watchable enough, even though it’s not outstanding.

Also, if you like Chris Pine and Keira Knightley, they look pretty here, though they lack chemistry. But like I said, watchable.

Click here to jump to the bottom for where you can watch Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

Or continue reading for a full review.

Full review of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (with little to no spoilers)

Some Russians living in the past are planning the collapse of the U.S. economy, and it’s up to a brilliant CIA analyst to stop them. If this plot sounds familiar, it’s because every other action movie ever made, save those about unstoppable vehicles or sci-fi elements (and sometimes not even then), has it, give or take a few minor changes: the nationality of the villains, the “thing” they want to collapse, the government organisation of the hero’s vocation.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is enjoyable enough, but sadly run-of-the-mill, if you were expecting more. (I did hope a little, since Kenneth Branagh directed it, and I loved what he did with Thor.) There is even a motorcycle scene near the end that reminded me of the one in The Bourne Legacy. But since I watched the movie for Chris Pine, Keira Knightley and Kenneth Branagh (who also plays the villain) — and would do it over again — I would hardly call it a waste.

Keira Knightley (Cathy Muller) and Kenneth Branagh (Viktor Cherevin) in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Keira Knightley (Cathy Muller) and Kenneth Branagh (Viktor Cherevin) in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Chris Pine is, well, Chris Pine — his boyish charm is what I go to see him in movies for. (Think of his Jack Ryan as a little like Captain Kirk, but less brash.) Keira Knightley is gorgeous, but she looks as breakable as a twig — and that’s all I can say, because her role is essentially just the girlfriend who must be protected. They didn’t exactly have tons of chemistry together, but I could accept that because I like both actors — though other moviegoers may be less forgiving. (And they are: the movie isn’t doing well at the box office, which rules out Paramount’s hopes of another bankable franchise.)

Kevin Costner as Jack Ryan’s mentor is adequate: do the job, collect the paycheck, dust your hands off. But Kenneth Branagh’s villain is so one-note; he seems to be hamming it up at times. Or is it the fault of the script? Because I don’t believe for a second that Kenneth Branagh *doesn’t* know when he is hamming it up; so it’s either deliberate on his part, or the character was just written that way.

Kenneth Branagh in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Kenneth Branagh as the extremely well dressed Russian villain. Because lord forbid an evil mastermind look anything less than polished.

Watch it if you like action movies, and don’t mind seeing something you’ve already seen a thousand times before. Or if you really, really like the actors, like I do.

Where to watch Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit in the U.S.

Streaming services: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is on fuboTV. It’s not on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or any other streaming services.

Rent/Buy: Get it on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Microsoft, FandangoNOW, Redbox

Where to watch Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit in Singapore

Streaming services: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is on Netflix Singapore and Amazon Prime Video.

Rent/Buy: Get it on iTunes

Where to watch Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit in other countries

Please refer to my handy guide here on how to find and legally watch movies online, even if you’re outside the U.S.

Share this:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on telegram
Share on email