You might pay to see a Jack Ryan reboot but what you get here is another kind of reinvention - Shadow Recruit softens the hard, cold killer image of the government spook, the CIA agent. Yes, they might have to kill a few people but they don't much like it and they're hurting inside. The Tom Clancy adaptations always had a close relationship with Langley but this is a warm and fuzzy hug.
n the fifth instalment in the series (although this is not a Clancy story) Jack Ryan's raw CIA analyst takes off to Moscow to investigate the accounts of one Viktor Cherevin (Branagh) in the hope of digging up the timing of a possible terrorist attack on America...
We don't do that anymore,' says Kevin Costner's CIA agent when pressed about waterboarding at Guantanamo by Chris Pine's eponymous hero. For a thriller... Recruit spends a chunk of time exploring a visibly shaken Ryan's guilt over having dispatched a bad guy; the likeable Costner's touchy-feely father figure warns the newbie that the feeling might never go away. See? Good guys essentially.
ranagh, going through some rebooting of his own as he moves from Shakespeare adaptations to blockbusters, delivers a thriller that while largely competent (and boasting one particular gripping sequence) is on the whole a formulaic and familiar outing for Clancy's CIA man. Bar a Bourne-esque bathroom scrap and a car chase Shadow Recruit is light on action with most of the tension coming from downloading of vital info moments before being rumbled.
nightley has little to do but suspect her fiancé of infidelity (Ryan's job is a secret) and be rescue fodder, Branagh is fine in an 80s Russian Bad Guy way and Costner is content to slip into the background. And Pine? He has a rather uninteresting character to play with; Ryan's on-screen likeability (or lack thereof) depended on Baldwin, Ford and Affleck but this time the character is given some wholesome traits on paper - he's brave, smart, ambitious, he saves buddies from burning choppers, he sets other buddies up on dates, he likes football. And while Pine's willingness to look weak with regards to that first kill is welcome the reason it's here sits uneasy.
ction fans might be disappointed but those that feel the CIA are unfairly represented in movies will be pleasantly surprised.