Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
|Featuring:||Chris Pine … Jack Ryan
Keira Knightley … Cathy Muller
Kevin Costner … Thomas Harper
Kenneth Branagh … Viktor Cherevin
Lenn Kudrjawizki … Constantin
Alec Utgoff … Aleksandr Borovsky
Peter Andersson … Dimitri Lemkov
Elena Velikanova … Katya
Nonso Anozie … Embee Deng
Seth Ayott … Teddy Hefferman
Colm Feore … Rob Behringer
“Trust no one”
Jack Ryan was always considered a financial wizard. In fact, he went to a famous economics school in London. One day at school, though, he watches clips as the Twin Towers fall in New York City. It is at that moment he is determined to serve his country.
Flash forward two years. Jack serves as a private in the Marines. On a deployment to Afghanistan, though, his helicopter is ambushed. While recovering at the army medical center, he is offered an opportunity to serve in the C.I.A. as a financial analyst—undercover in Wall Street for a finance company to keep track of world-wide trading.
One day he notices something is off about several accounts he keeps track of. As he points out, “The U.S. Dollar is going up when it should be going down” and is suspicious of terrorist activity. He then flies to Moscow to visit a Mr. Victor Cheverin to gather information on the company’s activity. What he discovers, however, goes beyond finances. It’s up to Jack Ryan, CIA operative, to stop the terrorists from causing world chaos.
“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” reminds me a lot of the “Mission: Impossible” films, minus the extreme amounts of action. While “Shadow Recruit” certainly has its moments of heart-pounding action, it is more of a political thriller. “Shadow Recruit” fails to live up to the standard of an action movie. As a political thriller though, “Shadow Recruit” excels in every area. The problem I have with this film, and perhaps this film is too complex for myself, is that unless you are familiar with geo-politics or the field of finances, parts of this film may go over your head.
While this may have detracted some of my appreciation for “Shadow Recruit,” I have to say I still enjoyed this film very much. It’s well written, suspenseful and full of excellent performances from Kevin Costner, Chris Pine, and Keira Knightley (who always impresses me, even during her earlier “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise). As I said, while it’s definitely not as action packed as a “Mission: Impossible” film, it still has that same level of complexity, and still serves as a thriller. For that, I applaud “Shadow Recruit.”
Violence: Violence is limited but still present in “Shadow Recruit.” There are some fight scenes, shootings, a couple scenes where people are stabbed. As mentioned, we watch as Ryan’s helicopter is ambushed. Ryan kills an enemy by suffocating him under water. There are also a couple car crashes. That’s about the extent of the violence though.
Profanity: The profanity count is as follows: h*ll (2), G*d-d**nit (2), f*ck (1), b*tch (1), sh*t (1), bull-sh*t (1), sh*t-hole (1), God’s name is used in vain twice and Jesus’ is used five times.
Sex/Nudity: Very limited. In the beginning of the film, we see Knightley’s character in a towel. Ryan and his girlfriend are seen in bed together (sex is implied but not shown), and Ryan and his girlfriend share a couple of kisses.
Other: After the helicopter attack, Ryan is shown with his face covered in blood. One character is shown drawing his own blood. Cheverin makes a comment to Ryan about his girlfriend being in Ryan’s hotel room as a “dirty secret.” There’s also a drug scene where we see Ryan, undercover, taking Percecet with a glass of wine.
The theme that really stuck out to me came in a scene about halfway into “Shadow Recruit”—involving Ryan’s girlfriend discovering that he is in the CIA. Before she finds out, though, she is concerned that Ryan did not trust her enough, given the love they have for each other. Trusting God also comes with this difficulty. It’s easy to think that we have all the control and be hesistant to allow God to take control. I know I certainly struggle with this every day. Trusting God is never an easy feat, but it’s worth it.
“Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit” is a well written, well performed spectacle of a film. While it may not be the most action-packed movie I’ve encountered, it certainly serves a purpose as a well-rounded intense political thriller. Fans of this genre will definitely want to see “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.” I only recommend it to teens and adults though. Well worth the price of admission.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.