This new version of the saga of CIA analyst Jack Ryan begins as Jack attends the London School of Economics. 9/11 happens. He subsequently enlists in the Marines, sustaining severe injuries when the chopper deploying him to Afghanistan is shot down. While in intense rehab, he grabs the attention of Harper, a man who works for the CIA and who would like Jack to finish his studies, get a job on Wall Street, and seek out terrorist plots through their financial transactions. Ten years pass. Jack finds anomalies in the accounts of a Russian named Cherevin and thinks he should go to Russia to check out what's going on. He's told not to tell anyone who he is, including his girlfriend Cathy, which makes her doubt him when she catches him in some lies. In Russia, Cherevin assigns someone to assist Jack, but when the two are alone, the man tries to kill Jack instead, so Jack kills him. Obviously, Cherevin is hiding something. Jack goes to meet him and says he'll bring his fiancée along, but ...Written by
firstname.lastname@example.org / revised by statmanjeff
It's ironic that "Jack Ryan" is part of the title for this one because this is the furthest from the character that any of the films have been. Beyond a some what similar back-story, the doctor soon to be wife, and that he works for the CIA, Ryan is not Ryan. They turn him more into a spy/field agent than the brainy analyst that he's meant to be. As a result, there is nothing in this movie that makes it stand out from the rest of it's genre. It's just another spy movie with an over the top villain that's plotting world domination. It's predictable and generic. They sacrificed what made the Jack Ryan character unique.
I'm not saying that the movie didn't work as some Bond/Bourne/Mission Impossible wannabe with bits and pieces slapped together from every spy thriller ever made. It captured successful elements from those films pretty well. It's just a shame that they relied on recycling tired and over used narrative when there is still a bunch of great Ryan books that they have yet to adapt. There should be no reason to slap together this films story when a much more talented writer like Clancy still has more stories to draw from. I agree with Peter Travers comment "It's a product constructed out of spare parts and assembled with computerized precision."
Despite following a predictable formula very closely instead of the source material, the movie still works as entertainment. Chris Pine is great, despite the writers failing him, and he really carries the movie. He could be a great Jack Ryan if they actually wrote the character correctly. Branagh delivers a pretty good villain, even though he's more suited for a Bond film. There are a couple of scenes that deliver good suspense. It's just not a Jack Ryan movie. It seems that they only used Jack Ryan for the brand name rather than faithfully trying to tell a story about him.
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