Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ★★★

Beginning with a slow burn, Shadow Recruit feels much like a prologue film. It introduces us to the shadowy wing of the CIA helmed by Kevin Costner’s Harper, and gives some back-story to the Jack Ryan character we’ve (sort of) come to know in a handful of other films in the last 24 years. The film lies somewhere between a heist film and an espionage/terrorist plot film, and when it’s banging on all cylinders, it’s a great ride. Sadly, it takes quite a bit of time to get there, and there’s not much to rivet us in the build-up.

Chris Pine is easily the best Jack Ryan I can remember (granted, it has been 24 years since Alec Baldwin first played the role), but while this film does have a new modern voice (probably sounds like Kenneth Branagh, hopefully in a Russian accent), it’s really not covering any new ground. For the most part, that’s okay. I just hope if this is an ongoing series, the next Pine-centric Jack Ryan won’t get bogged down in so much setup.

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