Saturday, June 21, 2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit - Review

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT, the latest attempt by Hollywood to make us re-care about a dinosaur property, has the titled character (Chris Pine) battling some Russian non-action figures. He must prevent them from crafting another Great Depression for America, through the "fairy dust" nature of Wall Street stocks and the power of the American dollar. Apparently, the filmmakers forgot that this plot conflict also helped tank SPEED RACER. Though I was satisfactory with the usual blockbuster theatrics during its viewing, the movie quickly sailed away from my mind once the ending credits stopped ascending into nothingness. This vapor attention quickly transformed into a major case of fridge logic, as I was grasping straws trying to answer its plot holes, such as how Ryan is traumatized by his first kill yet is perfectly fine with murder all around him and by his own hands the very next day.

Even if you can give the vanilla, out-dated story a pass, the acting talent is harder to accept because it is not a tough pill to swallow but a large suppository. Pine delivers his worst performance since moving on up to the A-list, able to show off a few moments of charisma but often resorts to having his bushy eyebrows to do his job. Keira Knightley is a walking distraction; her unintelligible American accent would been her biggest red flag were it not for the loud sexism fully blanketing her character. Whether it is when her status as a white-woman-in-peril finally pops up or when she quickly believes that Ryan is having an affair because he dared to spend his mid-afternoon watching SORRY, WRONG NUMBER at The Film Forum, Cathy Mueller is a disgrace to see on the big screen in this day and age. But the absolute nadir of crap featured here is its director Kenneth Branagh, who stupidly forced himself into the picture as the main baddie. Able to keep the movie moving along off-camera, sacrificing his visual flair in order to maintain the institutionalized mediocrity of Hollywood, his acting presence stops everything in its tracks. He performs the evil role of Viktor Cherevin as a third-rate puppet, barely moving his lips to deliver a laughable Ruskie accent and maintaining a blank angry face. Unless you worship at the shrine of Tom Clancy and/or desperately need new thrillers in order to survive in this world, stick to Baldwin and Ford.


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