Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
There are a group of films out there which I like to call “enjoyable mediocrity”. They usually come and go on the theaters with not a lot of fanfare. They don’t try to elevate their respective genres (usually action or detective thrillers) or do anything really unique. These are the movies that are rented by your parents on a comfortable Friday evening. Jack Ryan is one of those movies.
And there is nothing wrong with this. Movies don’t always need to challenge us. There is a wide swath of the market for movies just like this, movies with are easily palatable with a straight-forward plot, likable characters, and a few action scenes thrown in now and again. In fact, I would say that these movies have some level of necessity. It keeps the general public’s interest in movies and it maintains that comfort level of being able to pop in a movie with a bowl of popcorn on the couch and simply enjoy. These sort of spy thrillers like Jack Ryan are really good for that.
As long as its competently made and doesn’t unsuccessfully try to over reach its station, I have nothing against these movies. And I have no problem sitting down and having fun with them myself. And Shadow Recruit works on those level, even with some car chases (I really hate car chases…). This is a pretty fun film with a point A to point B story of trying to stop a Russian terrorist plot. Chris Pine is a good leading man and Keira Knightly was good as well, though I have to admit that her American accent kept throwing me off. Mind you, she was acting along side Kevin Costner, the king of off accents…
I guess its probably fair to say that all of the Jack Ryan films exist in this niche of “comfy movie night” films. Many people will say that Hunt for Red October goes beyond this, and perhaps they’re right. Personally, I feel like Patriot games has more to offer and would probably be one of the higher echelon films within this niche. But Shadow Recruit joins good company and maintains enough strength to keep up with them.
Jack Ryan is a good rental. Don’t forget the popcorn.