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Jack Ryan - Shadow Recruit


Stars: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh, Peter Andersson, Elena Velikanova, Gemma Chan, Colm Feore, David Paymer, David Hayman, Alec Utgoff

Director: Kenneth Branagh

The first of the Jack Ryan thrillers not to be based on a Tom Clancy novel (he wrote nine) is exciting, entertaining, cinema-by-numbers, which sets our young CIA agent somewhere between James Bond and Jason Bourne. Car chase? Tick. Motorbike chase? Tick. Heroine kidnapped by bad guys? Tick. Suspenseful sequence when Jack breaks into enemy HQ? Tick. Desperate life-and-death struggle against would-be assassin? Tick. Formulaic? Tick.

The plot, which initially seems to be about an oil pipeline through Turkey which will rob Russia of a huge percentage of its income, develops into a Russian plot to buy up half of Manhattan, then, after a self-planned terrorist attack killing thousands, sell the trillions of dollars they've secretly acquired on the stockmarket and ruin the US economy. Mmm. Not sure the Russians have really thought this one through.

Well, Ryan's training as a Marine comes in handy in handling the subsequent action, directed con brio by Branagh, who also plays the tight-lipped Russian put in charge of bringing America down.

Ryan's contact is played by Costner at his most Gary Cooper-ish, and his fiancée feistily by Knightley, with an authentic-sounding American accent. Lucky Pine: the boyish action star - son of character actor Robert Pine and grandson of 1940s' screamer Anne Gwynne - who also heads the new Star Trek series, would seem to have two mainstream franchises on the go at the same time.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 18 Jan 2014