20 minutes ago
Tuesday, 28 January 2014
Film: 'JACK RYAN - SHADOW RECRUIT'
The Jack Clancy-created character, Jack Ryan (Chris Pine), in an original story (though hardly original for film) is recruited by CIA senior, Kevin Costner (long time, no see), and discovers that Russian money has been poured into purchasing American stocks and shares, whereupon he is assigned to go to Moscow to root out why. There he meets the Russian who turns out to be, predictably, the arch-villain (played by Branagh himself, unsmiling, stiffly patriotic and complete with nefarious-sounding accent) and from there on it's a game of cat-and-mouse as Ryan attempts to get into the Russian's computers to find out what's really going on.
Keira Knightley plays the romantic interest whose curiosity about Ryan's secrecy (Does he have another woman? Heavens, NO!) pulls her into the centre of the action. But she remains essentially a peripheral figure, not having that much to do, aside from distracting the Branagh character during a meal, so allowing Ryan to get on with his treasure hunt quest.
The whole film is so reminiscent of all those cold-war espionage thrillers (plus a good dose of 'Mission Impossible'). We get furtive meetings on benches in public areas, whisperings galore, instructions and communications through ear-pieces, surreptitious hand-transfers of information and evidence, 'goodies' who turn out to be 'baddies', car chases (plus a motor-bike pursuit), bombs with a helpful digital timer counting down to zero, hacking into computers while on the edge of being discovered, CIA operatives (all disconcertingly young) with lightning-speed typing skills (never a single mistake) - it's all here, and which of them have we not seen before? (Btw: Why is it that when a person, masquerading as an anonymous member of the public, 'accidentally' bumps into someone, the latter never checks immediately afterwards that his wallet is still in his possession? Don't these people ever go to the cinema?)
During the course of the film I did find myself being fairly entertained, though when it was over it all seemed insubstantial and memory-disposable. Efficient enough, then, but not a contender for my 'Best of 2014' list................5.5.