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JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT is an attempt to invigorate Tom Clancy’s legacy. A best selling author who has died sadly last year left many books that could become great films. SHADOW RECRUIT re-invents the saga of JACK RYAN, placing him into 21st century and giving him new enemy - the war on terror. The first forty minutes of the film establish the reasons why Jack joined CIA, the origins of his relationship with his glamorous girlfriend (Keira Nightly) and why being a simple analyst he can fight and kill like 007. Then we go straight to Moscow where action begins. Little surprise there, with all conventional kidnappings, car chases and face off with the psychotic russian villain (Kenneth Branagh). While many characters of the film speak absolutely incomprehensible fake Russian, Branagh is pretty good (I am Russian myself so I can judge), but when he speaks English his fake accent is terrible. Being from aristocratic family this Russian villain could speak pure Oxford English and remain believable.
Branagh’s directorial work is better than his acting. With a rather simplistic and weak script (think one hour episode of 24) he manages to produce a very tight movie, adding sentimental touches to both villains and protagonists’ story lines.
The photography has a realistic touch to it and avoids much hated by me but ever so popular nowdays shaky camera trick.
The soundtrack by Patrick Doyle, Branagh’s collaborator on Thor, is a good stand alone listening and lifts up the film where required.
While the final act of SHADOW RECRUIT is very enjoyable and worth the wait, the end result cannot withstand second viewing. Would Tom Clancy be happy with the latest instalment? Unfortunately he is not here to tell.