OK, right up front I'll admit I love the Jack Ryan film series. I cannot remember reading a Tom Clancy novel, but most likely I have sometime or another. And as any Clancy fan knows there have been many "Ryans", some better than others. There was Alec Baldwin in Hunter for Red October, Harrison Ford in The Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, Ben Affleck in The Sum of All Fears, and now we see Chris Pine playing Jack Ryan in the newest incarnation, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Yes, I am showing my age, because I have seen all of these in theaters when they were first released starting with Red October in 1990. But I digress.
What do you do when you have a great character who have has run his course, saved the world multiple times? He has out smarted the super powers of the world as the junior man in a big organization, usually as the little guy, quick to pick up on what is going to happen before any else does, and thankfully sometime with a bigger pay grade takes him seriously? You do the ultimate prequel and show how it all began, but put it in present day.
Chris Pine does a good job as Ryan, although he doesn't seem quite up to the part. During the movie, I could not tell if that was an issue with Pine not being up for playing the part of Ryan, or the character himself being up for the big leagues. Whatever, it works. Although, speaking as an older adult, Ford was better in the role, but then again that was when the character was more developed.
Kevin Costner plays the role of Thomas Harper, the CIA agent who recruits Ryan. And he does it so well, but what doesn't Costner do well. (Come to think of it why was he not cast as Ryan in the earlier days?) Kathy Muller, Ryan's fiancee, is played extremely well by Keira Knightley. Muller, a doctor moves with the correct amount of effort and emotion through her role as doctor, lover, then decoy.
The film is 105 minutes and moves along smoothly. The story line is clean and well played out. I found nothing (well almost nothing) unbelievable. I do recommend the movie. However I think every movie goer should keep in mind this is the prequel and like all stories, though well played, needs some developing. As I said, I never could figure out whether it was the character or the actor playing the character - but Ryan was a little off his game. But, that's OK, because I know all is well since I saw the next story in the series in 1990. Wait, since this Shadow Recruit was done in the present time (2014) does that mean we are back to the future?