Director/Actor Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a high-tension action picture once it gets going. Its only problem is expressed in its very title.
The film starts out with too much about Jack Ryan, the injured war hero, being brought back to physical health by a loving doctor, having caught the eye of a CIA operative, being sent back to school, having moved in with the loving doctor, being recruited by the CIA to work in the banking industry…
That covers 5 or more years of Jack Ryan’s life and, while I don’t want to say it felt like 5 years of watching, it did take up too much time and could have been dealt with through better writing by taking place during the opening credits. We came to see an action film, not a biography!
However, the Shadow Recruit portion of the film takes place over a few days and is truly exciting with thrilling chases and fight scenes. And, yes, this portion covers, at least, three quarters of the film.
Christopher Pine is a fine precursor to Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner is spot-on as his Control, Keira Knightly is her usually beautiful self and Kenneth Branagh is excellent as the ruthless Russian bad guy.
I give Jack Ryan a 2+ and Shadow Recruit a 4+, for a 3+ out of 5, overall.