Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – Unconvincing, Unremarkable, Unfulfilling

Does the action genre of films require the least imagination, least talent, and the least intelligent/least demanding audience?

Yes, to all of the above.

To borrow a phrase from Bollywood jackass Akshay Kumar, I’d say most action films belong to the ‘leave your brains at home‘ category.

Be it Kollywood, Tollywood or even Hollywood, action films increasingly yield little joy to me or other discerning moviegoers.

A lot of the Hollywood action films differ from the Indian trash these days merely in finesse and a slightly better caliber of acting.

The plot is invariably wafer thin, the film often a sequel (Bourne, James Bond, Iron Man, etc) and often the bad guys are the usual tiresome characters.

If it’s not the Muslims/Al Qaeda, then the evil doers must be the Russians, the South American drug cartels or some whacko with a weird hairdo.

Sinister guys who are trying to bring down America and the world with their nefarious schemes and so must be brought down at all costs.

Deja vu.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – Tiresome Exercise

This evening I watched Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

Must be the unusually cold winter weather this year that’s making me act bizarrely and go out in the chill to watch movies like Jilla, Jack Ryan etc.

Based on novelist Tom Clancy’s creation, Jack Ryan is a CIA operative whose heroics have been showcased in four films over the last twenty-four years. I have seen Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger (both Harrison Ford) and The Sum of All Fears (Ben Affleck). Those days, I thought the ones starring Harrison Ford were decent.

Chris Pine, who plays Jack Ryan in this Friday’s release, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, looks like a callow teenager playing truant from high school.

OK, I exaggerate but you do get the point, don’t you? Seriously, this guy lacks the mojo to play a brilliant, bold CIA agent.

After suffering severe injuries as a marine in Afghanistan, Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) is recruited by the CIA and sent back to university to complete his Ph.D. He’s then sent undercover to a Wall St firm to detect financial shenanigans intersecting with terrorism.

Lo and behold, our Ryan soon detects strange Russian financial transactions involving large sums and before you can say nyet the analyst is in Moscow for an audit of the shady transactions.

No sooner is our analyst Ryan in Moscow than he turns into the field operative Ryan thanks to some Ugandan assassins.

From then on, silly is in hot pursuit of bizarre and then flies into a boringly predictable sleeper-cell ending.

The scenes involving Ryan sauntering into the office of terror mastermind Viktor Cherevin (played by the film’s director Kenneth Branagh) and downloading the crucial game plan to bring down America were pathetically silly. Even by Hollywood movie standards, it was ridiculous.

Which moron wrote the ungripping screenplay? Well, there were three – Adam Cozad, David Koepp and Takeshi Kitano.

The talented British lass Keira Knightley, who plays Ryan’s girlfriend, has no role to speak of in the movie. Mere wall-paper.

Every single stunt, car chase, shootout and fight was of the garden variety, the seen that before several times kind.

Since it’s a Jack Ryan film, the CIA and America must come out on tops. And, of course, they do in a predictable pattern!

Proving that Hollywood action films easily gets the putzheads rolling into the theatre, the hall was 98% full this evening.

8 Responses to "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – Unconvincing, Unremarkable, Unfulfilling"

  1. Arun s   January 19, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Hi SI, Pissed off after watching Wolf of Wall Street.

    Three hour long and aimless direction by Martin Scorcese.

    Watch only for Leonardo De Caprio. Regards, Arun

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    I’ll probably see it soon.

    I’ve seen the trailers in theatres several times…they didn’t look bad.

    • boopalanj   January 19, 2014 at 11:59 am


      It’s sort of a biopic. The film is based on the “real” Jordan Belfort’s memoirs. He was a really notorious stock broker and this link probably will tell you more about how he ran his company in real.


      An excerpt: “And when he ran short of sex-enhancing Quaalude pills while staying in a £9,000-a-night suite at London’s Dorchester Hotel, he told his chauffeur in New York to fly over on Concorde with more.”


      With that in mind, the film will make more sense. I went to this movie after reading about him a little, and with the only half I watched, I did not think it was bad. The problem is with the “real wolf” and his morality – Not with the movie.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      You write: The problem is with the “real wolf” and his morality – Not with the movie.

      Morality? How does this morality thing work in the real world? 😉

    • Madmax673   January 19, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      I probably think “The Wolf of Wall Street” might have been better if it had Vishal playing Jordan Belfort and Prabhu Deva directing it.

      I haven’t watched the wolf yet. But I bet it’s really good. I’ve been wanting to watch it for a while but couldn’t find time.

  2. Arun s   January 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Boopalan, I know that it is from a true life story.

    Who has done the editing?

    A Hollywood film running about 3 hours and you as a audience watch it and get frustrated.

    Watch films like Pursuit of Happyness for sincere presentation and taut screenplay.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    I’m not sure if you’re against lengthy playing time of movies in general.

    But my feeling is that if the movie is good then length never comes in the way of enjoyment.

    • boopalanj   January 20, 2014 at 4:33 am

      I have watched – Pursuit of Happyness, Motorcycle diaries, The King’s speech, Amadeus, Invictus, Gandhi, Good fellas to quote a few – all that portray real life characters and have a length of 2 – 3 hours.

      While there are some scenes that we always don’t like as a general audience when we don’t know much about the real life character, from a directorial point of view, it would have been necessary to capture those moments on screen for a complete view of the character. These movies generally are not meant to be conclusive in a way we expect them to be – like set a context – do something – end something. That is why I say a little reading helps.

  3. Arun s   January 19, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Hi SI, Apart from the length, I found the direction bit disappointing.

    Some scenes were great and some scenes were average.An hour into the film, I found it was not good.

    However I do not wish to dissuade you from watching it.

    Do not go to Wolf of Wall Street with high expectations.It is just an above average film.

    • fotobirajesh   January 20, 2014 at 8:55 am

      I am with you.

      I saw it yesterday and was really disappointed.

      I am not a fan of Hollywood films, but did expect some difference being a Scorcese movie, and hence got really disappointed.

      I dont have any problem with the length. There is an Italian classic – Le Meglio Gioventu, which is more than 5 hours, but will touch our heart. A movie should be able to engage the viewer irrespective of its morality/theme/length and for me Wolf fails miserably.

      Not that there are no good elements at all, but basically the movie goes ahead in the routine expectable hollywood path, with routine cliches present almost everywhere.

      Even a great actor like Jean Dujardin was wasted.

      I thought he was insulted, by giving him that crappy role.

      Also for Mcnnaughey, one of the brilliant talents in Hollywood, wasted again. What happens to his character actually?

      Above all, for Leonardo, how many times should we see him doing nearly the same kind of characters.

  4. boopalanj   January 20, 2014 at 5:02 am


    Off topic:


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Just read it in full. The author is a lone voice in the wilderness.

    Too late for Wall Street to be reined in.

    Not a single guy on Wall St has been punished for the excesses that led to the crash and recession/depression because Wall St was one of the biggest financial backers of the cock-sucker Obama in the 2008 Presidential elections (first term).

    In the months leading up to the 2008 Presidential elections, the financial sector contributed $43.74 million to Obama. Not surprisingly, the cock-sucker deep-throated the financial sector and after his victory refused to take any action against Wall St. Why would the fuckface bite the dick that provides him the cream he so loves!

    Source: http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/indus.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638

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