Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is the second failed attempt at a Jack Ryan reboot. The Sum of All Fears similarly recast Jack Ryan with a younger actor set in modern day. When Ben Affleck was dropped, no sequels were made in over a decade. Although Tom Clancy wrote over 17 Jack Ryan books, Shadow Recruit is 100% original. Clancy passed away before he had a chance to see it. Although I was alive when The Sum of All Fears came out, I didn’t take notice of Jack Ryan until his name was used in a title.
Chris Pine is another younger Jack Ryan who does just fine on his own. Shadow Recruit depicts his early days of enlisting in the Marines after 9/11, becoming a CIA analyst, and meeting his future wife Dr. Cathy Muller. An American Keira Knightley has a large role since their relationship is a big part of the story. Ryan is recruited by Kevin Costner as another high level CIA agent Thomas Harper. There aren’t too many familiar faces aside from Colm Feore as a completely different character than the one he played in The Sum of All Fears.
This time the Russians are definitely the villains. Kenneth Branagh is both the director and Russian oligarch Viktor Cherevin. Once again I found myself lost, but I understood Cherevin sought to topple the nation’s economy. Ryan is still primarily an analyst, but he does see more action. There’s a bathroom brawl, shoot outs, and a motorcycle chase. Unfortunately, most of the action is cut with intense shaky cam. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit does the hero justice, but his movie making days are over.