Thursday, September 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Review: Rebooted patriot games in ‘Jack Ryan’

By
From page B2 | January 17, 2014 |

Having clung to the Russians as go-to villains long after the Cold War thawed, the movies find themselves current again with their favorite arch-enemy.

Cooling Russo-American relations have yielded an opening for the return of Tom Clancy’s CIA analyst, just in time for the Sochi Olympics. In the Jack Ryan reboot, “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” Chris Pine takes over as the spy who was played by Alec Baldwin (“The Hunt for Red October”), Harrison Ford (“Patriot Games,” ”Clear and Present Danger”) and Ben Affleck (“The Sum of All Fears”).

It’s a decent legacy of a dark-haired, intellectual action hero. Ryan is a navigator of murky, reasonably realistic, international espionage worlds. He has neither James Bond’s preternatural suavity nor Jason Bourne’s visceral butt-kicking skills, but instead anxiously finds his way with patriotic cunning.

“Shadow Recruit,” which was scripted without a Clancy book by Adam Cozad and David Koepp, tells a new backstory for Ryan. Inspired by Sept. 11, he joins the Marines and is heroically injured in Afghanistan. During his recovery, he meets his eventual fiancee (a doctor named Cathy played by Keira Knightley) and is lured to the CIA by a mysterious recruiter (Kevin Costner, unconvincingly trying to exude a Donald Sutherland-like gravitas).

He’s covertly embedded at a Wall Street bank where he uncovers a Russian plot to buy up U.S. Treasury bonds, which he suspects will be sold off in a coordinated act of terrorism and currency devaluation. Surely, if Ronald Reagan (whose endorsement of Clancy’s first novel, “The Hunt for Red October,” propelled his fame) was still around, he’d swoon over a spy thriller based on the harrowing threat of inflation.

Ryan’s investigation leads him to the Russian oligarch Viktor Cherevin, played by Kenneth Branagh, who also directed the film. Certainly, it takes a bite out of the nationalistic politics when the movie’s villain is played by a knighted British actor known for his Shakespeare work.

Branagh endows his film with (mostly) old-fashioned competency — something often lacking in today’s action films — but little to distinguish it from superior thrillers that have come before. The best thing here is the sleekness of modern Moscow, where much of the action takes place. The film is filled with a nighttime mix of neon and taillights set against the Kremlin and other monuments — a handsome enough rendering to send a viewer back to the recent Bond, “Skyfall,” for those elegant Shanghai scenes.

But “Shadow Recruit” is also disappointingly formulaic, relying on the familiar set piece-driven story of an implausible heist and a time-bomb finale. Knightley is too strong a force for this girlfriend role. And when the global scheme is figured out in a minute with a bank of computer-searching analysts, one foresees the obsolescence of the action film: sprawling plots undone with a few keystrokes.

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” is perhaps most significantly a test for Pine as a movie star. Early in the film, when Ryan is forced to defend his life in a hotel room battle, he ably depicts the shock and horror of a man encountering such a circumstance for the first time.

But Pine also fails to make his Jack Ryan more than an afterthought to Baldwin’s know-it-all or Ford’s reluctant hero. As Costner’s character says, he too much resembles “a Boy Scout on a field trip.”

One unlikely cameo should be noted: New York’s famed repertory art-house theater, the Film Forum, appears early in the movie when Ryan swaps information at a screening of “Sorry, Wrong Number.” At least in “Shadow Recruit,” the interior has finally been upgraded to plush stadium seating.

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” a Paramount Pictures release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “sequences of violence and intense action, and brief language.” Running time: 105 minutes. Two stars out of four.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Theatre DeVille in Vacaville closes

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 16 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Focus on school attendance now, always

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Pepperbelly’s for sale

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 4 Comments

Jury selection begins in 2011 Fairfield murder trial

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

 
Seniors get help at Kroc Center health fair

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Drug court success stories tell their tales

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Suisun City Senior Center seeks holiday donations

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Lunafest returns to Fairfield in November

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Weather for Sept. 18, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Emotions mount on final day of Scottish campaign

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
More than 2,000 homes threatened in California fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Maps provide early warning of California fire risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
US military role in Iraq raises combat questions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Police: Ambush suspect was military re-enactor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
House grudgingly approves arms for Syrian rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Ex-VA doctor: Phoenix report a ‘whitewash’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
School district police stock up free military gear

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 4 Comments | Gallery

NASA’s Maven spacecraft reaches Mars this weekend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Liberia president praises US for Ebola help pledge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Obama reaffirms opposition to US combat in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
AP Interview: Iraq premier says no foreign troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Doctor says Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
US scientist: Ebola unlikely to become airborne

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Opinion

 
Give new crime report a chance

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7, 27 Comments

 
Homeless find welcome in Vallejo

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 7 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
My brother fails to make an effort to when it comes to my kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
U2 returns to iTunes Top 100 — 26 times

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

Directors Guild finds TV diversity hiring stalled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

 
Giants snap tie in 9th, beat Arizona to narrow gap in West to 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers’ Kaepernick fined for inappropriate language

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Rodriguez gets 1st MEL soccer win since return to league

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Pegulas’ bid to buy Bills OK’d by NFL committee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
FSU benches Winston for 1st half of Clemson game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Umpire West suspended 1 game for grabbing jersey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
After making ‘mistake,’ Vikings bench RB Peterson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sharks sign D Braun to 5-year, $19 M extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockets acquire Jason Terry, picks from Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Panthers remove DE Greg Hardy from active roster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Barry Bonds appeal heads back to court

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL, union agree to new drug policy, HGH testing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders rookie Derek Carr focuses on job at hand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

.

Business

Brown signs ride-sharing insurance legislation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
US homebuilder confidence soars in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Anthem, hospitals join to offer new insurance plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Drag queens dress down Facebook over names

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

Wells Fargo pays $290,000 in sex harassment case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Fed signals plan to keep key rate at record low

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

Margaret King

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9