22/01/2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Since repeatedly checking one's watch is generally considered a poor reflection on a film, what does it mean if you voluntarily go to the toilet near the end when you're not that desperate and the film is supposed to be leading up to a thrilling climax? I'm going to assume that isn't good, but sadly, neither is Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

After hastily informing us that Ryan quit school and joined the U.S. Marine Corps because of 9/11 only to break his back and spend months learning how to walk again, Miss 2014 Kevin Costner shows up as a CIA agent who offers to pay for the completion of his PHD and provide a future job on Wall Street. While in rehab he falls for his doctor Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley, who makes use of her botched American accent and one facial expression) who later assumes he's cheating and gets herself involved in his trouble because women, amiright? Somewhere along the line Kenneth Branagh pops up with a Russian accent and oh god I'm so bored who cares?
This is without doubt the dullest and most formulaic thriller I've seen for some time. I felt like I was watching something from the '90s, and I don't mean that in a cool vintage way because for all of its sleekness and computer-based jiggery pockery, there's no charm, no humour and no personality. In short: it's the cinematic equivalent of Nando's plain chicken. It would've made all the difference if they threw in an explosion or two, Branagh had some Alan Rickman-style fun as the foreign baddie and Chris Pine took advantage of the leading man powers we all know he has but nope, no peri-peri sauce for us.

Although it's the first Jack Ryan movie not to be adapted from a Tom Clancy novel this is obviously an attempt to kickstart the franchise but at this point I'd rather see crazy Alec Baldwin speeding around New York on a bike then sit through anything of this ilk again.

Oh, and don't expect to find out what "shadow recruit" means. They leave us in the dark over that, among other things.