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Old January 20 2014, 03:12 PM   #1
Mr Light
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Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

I absolutely loved the Tom Clancy novels back in the day and read them many times over. I really love the Red October movie (Alec Baldwin will always be MY Jack Ryan). Patriot Games and Clear Present Danger I thought were much less successful, but they were also my least favorite books. Sum of All Fears I thought was better than I thought it was going to be.

So, here we are with another new Ryan Reboot with Chris Pine, this time with a completely original non-novel story.

It's not a BAD movie, and certain parts of it were pretty enjoyable, but it's definitely not as good as the previous movies. I really wish they had adapted one of the many excellent un-filmed novels rather than inventing their own story.

I did appreciate a semi-faithful establishment of Ryan's backstory, even down to his back injury in a helicopter crash. Though it irked me that Cathy was his rehabilitation doctor.

Most of the movie takes place in Russia, and that's generally where the movie wasn't that great for me. Right down to the damsel in distress rescue.

But the ending in Manhattan was very thrilling. The movie suddenly translated into a big budget action film.

Still, the whole time I was thinking how much better a novel adaptation would have been. My two favorite books, Cardinal of the Kremlin and Debt of Honor, have never been adapted. Well, I guess you can't really do Cardinal anymore since that was 100% Soviet Russia Cold War... Or you could do Bear and the Dragon with heavy changes (it's about a land war between Russia and China).

Nitpicks:
--I think the thing that bothered me the most was the dog. Costner steals the dog from some dude's yard and takes him to the park. He leaves Ryan with the dog. Then we see Ryan walking into the hotel alone. What did he do with the dog???????
--Keira Knightly cannot do a good American accent. Very distracting.
--So they rescue Cathy and Jack is holding a gun on the bad guy... AND HE LETS HIM LIVE? HE JUST RUNS AWAY? ALLOWING THE BAD GUY TO CONTINUE HIS EVIL PLAN TO DESTROY AMERICA?
--I enjoyed seeing people have coherent conversations while standing far apart in the middle of a torrential downpour and wearing hoods. Like they'd be able to hear each other!
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Old January 20 2014, 06:04 PM   #2
Gaith
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Do we really need another white male spy? (And yes, the fact that this is a contemporary reboot makes Pine's Ryan "another".)

With a $17m, fourth-place debut, the answer would seem to be "nyet".
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Old January 20 2014, 11:57 PM   #3
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

The problem with Jack's backstory in the novels is that he's kind of a business geek (in Red October the novel, he spends quite a lot of time just sitting around crunching numbers). I'm not surprised they had to jazz it up a bit for this film.

@MrLight: I agree, Baldwin did a GREAT job as Jack in Red October the film. That is one of my favorite films of all time, in fact. I've seen it a dozen times in the theater. I'm not a huge fan of Baldwin's acting but that one I did enjoy. He's my favorite Jack yet.
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Old January 21 2014, 07:49 PM   #4
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

What does the lukewarm box office returns of Shadow Recruit mean for Chris Pine's career/ability to launching a franchise?

Will he be mainly known for playing Captain Kirk?

Was Star Trek a fluke in his career?
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Old January 21 2014, 08:19 PM   #5
Timby
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

HaplessCrewman wrote: View Post
What does the lukewarm box office returns of Shadow Recruit mean for Chris Pine's career/ability to launching a franchise?
Probably nothing. "Jack Ryan" hasn't meant anything for audiences in over a decade, and the Jack Ryan character had become such an afterthought that Clancy had ghostwriters working on the "Ryan" books since 2007. No one gives a shit about a blatant Bourne / Bond mish-mash released in the doldrums of January.
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Old January 21 2014, 08:32 PM   #6
Locutus of Bored
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
The problem with Jack's backstory in the novels is that he's kind of a business geek (in Red October the novel, he spends quite a lot of time just sitting around crunching numbers). I'm not surprised they had to jazz it up a bit for this film.
This film actually takes the opposite tack. His economic, number crunching, and pattern recognition acumen are precisely the reason why the CIA recruits him and tells him to go work on Wall Street to uncover banking transactions and stock transfers that point toward potential terrorist attacks and attempts at economic destabilization. His business geek cred is the primary catalyst for the events of the story, which of course lead to the usual action scenes and so forth.
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Old January 21 2014, 09:45 PM   #7
Mr Light
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Well here's a funny thing. I just put in The Hunt for Red October.

Cathy is played by TNG's Beverly Crusher and she's using a British accent!!!

EDIT: I just finished watching Red October. Man, that is a great movie. Now that's how you do a Tom Clancy movie. Even though the movie isn't jammed packed with action, every scene is great. There's tension and drama and everything feels important and edge of your seat.
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Old January 23 2014, 04:22 PM   #8
Romulan_spy
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Mr Light wrote: View Post
I just finished watching Red October. Man, that is a great movie. Now that's how you do a Tom Clancy movie. Even though the movie isn't jammed packed with action, every scene is great. There's tension and drama and everything feels important and edge of your seat.
One of my favorite movies of all time! On scene that really conveys the tension and drama for me really well is when the damaged fighter tries to land on the carrier and fails. You see the fighter crashing and burning while the admiral explains how trigger nervous both sides are. You really get a "oh shit, we are this close to WW3" feeling from the scene.
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Old January 23 2014, 08:28 PM   #9
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Mr Light wrote: View Post
Well here's a funny thing. I just put in The Hunt for Red October.

Cathy is played by TNG's Beverly Crusher and she's using a British accent!!!
Or at least attempting to.
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Old January 23 2014, 08:59 PM   #10
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Posting what I did in the 2014 Movie Thread

I've seen all the Jack Ryan films in theaters so I felt a bit of obligation to the character to check this out. I was 13/14 when Hunt for Red October came out. Just old enough to have seen some Connery Bond films, seen him with Harrison Ford the year before and all the trailers made the sub sequences look intense, I was there. I recall thinking then there weren't many teens in the audience.....not much has changed except now I'm not a teen.

It's a solid film in and of itself. While watching it I didn't note any glaring omissions or plot holes. Someone may point them out, I'm going to pop in to the review thread later, but at the time I felt on first viewing it holds up. The pacing is done well and the elements come together in the finale nicely.
Chris Pine does solid work and the trailers don't do justice to the analytical work noted in the film. The trailer just shows his action moments. While I've never read a Jack Ryan novel(I know I should) it's clear from the Baldwin/Ford years that his analyst, almost detective like mind is his biggest asset.

Kevin Costner as his handler is a nice touch of Hollywood royalty involved in this incarnation. My biggest issue is with how they wrote Keira Knightly's Cathy as a very insecure, nosey individual who was as much a hinderance at times as an asset.

Overall a worthwhile film but it only has about 2 sequences really that scream "cooler" on the big screen. And I do like more than that when I pay full theater price. My honest assessment is if you can see it for $5-8 at the cinema you should. I'd like to see another installment now that the "groundwork" film is out of the way. I paid $12 cause the matinee show options at Nashville Regal chains are not convenient for my schedule. If it's a Netflix/Redbox viewing for you I don't think you'll feel disappointed at all.

Having read through the replies I had the same thought as Mr.Light about the dog!! I have 2 dogs myself so I had to know the moment he's seen walking back into the hotel sans dog, where's the dog now?!! My off the cuff off film explanation was that as a Golden and/or Lab mix it was smart enough to find it's way home unharmed and Jack released him somewhere safe.




Gaith wrote: View Post
Do we really need another white male spy? (And yes, the fact that this is a contemporary reboot makes Pine's Ryan "another".)

With a $17m, fourth-place debut, the answer would seem to be "nyet".
Kinda hung up on white male a bit aren't you?
Making race an issue, ok then. Well then where was the black audience when Tyler Perry brought Alex Cross to the big screen? Taking over the character for Morgan Freeman. Freeman who made two well received turns in the role. Like Ford with Ryan I've often thought Freeman not doing a third Cross was a shoe in and should've been done. Both men's second turns at the the characters were profitable.
Tyler Perry has a following, so where was the black audience? It's fair to call the film a test balloon that popped if RACE is THE factor for your complaint then. If it makes you feel better Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher didn't do super hot either domestically. It's WW would be the only saving grace. Cross' WW was nearly non-existence. Racist global movigoers.

I thought Alex Cross was a well done film. That chase through the parking garage. The psychotic with a code played by Matthew Fox was great. Cross' determination and professional code of ethics equally at play were well done....still, where was the audience?

Be above petty "another white male spy" comments, that doesn't move society ahead when you reach back to pull out tropes best left behind.
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Old January 25 2014, 06:27 PM   #11
Gaith
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Captain Craig wrote: View Post
Be above petty "another white male spy" comments, that doesn't move society ahead when you reach back to pull out tropes best left behind.
Er... a white American spy being menaced by an eeeevil Russian dude in Russia is perhaps the "trope best left behind", no?

I've got no problem whatsoever with white American male action heroes, and I greatly enjoyed the white male spies of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. But we've been rehashing the Cold War with eeeevil Russkies since GoldenEye, so my point is, isn't it time we had a CIA hero of, say, Middle Eastern descent for a change? Someone who could go on a secret mission to, say, Tehran, and not look wildly out of place?
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Old January 25 2014, 06:32 PM   #12
Shaka Zulu
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
The problem with Jack's backstory in the novels is that he's kind of a business geek (in Red October the novel, he spends quite a lot of time just sitting around crunching numbers). I'm not surprised they had to jazz it up a bit for this film.

@MrLight: I agree, Baldwin did a GREAT job as Jack in Red October the film. That is one of my favorite films of all time, in fact. I've seen it a dozen times in the theater. I'm not a huge fan of Baldwin's acting but that one I did enjoy. He's my favorite Jack yet.
Why are they making Ryan into a 00 agent when he's an analyst in this new movie?

Gaith wrote: View Post
I've got no problem whatsoever with white American male action heroes, and I greatly enjoyed the white male spies of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. But we've been rehashing the Cold War with eeeevil Russkies since GoldenEye, so my point is, isn't it time we had a CIA hero of, say, Middle Eastern descent for a change? Someone who could go on a secret mission to, say, Tehran, and not look wildly out of place?
People have been asking for a black James Bond for a while, and many were hoping it would be Idris Elba, so you're not alone there.

Myself, I want Elba to play a different and original spy character who just happens to be of color.
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Old January 25 2014, 07:22 PM   #13
Timby
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Captain Craig wrote: View Post
= Cross' WW was nearly non-existence. Racist global movigoers.
You say this in jest, but international audiences do have a statistical trend of being, well, racist. Look at the recent example of 12 Years a Slave in Italy -- Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender were promoted as the film's stars, even though Pitt has about three minutes of screentime and Fassbender's role is supporting. Movies starring black actors historically do not perform well in areas like Japan and Australia, and the Scandinavian countries pretty much reject any film that doesn't star beautiful white people. Say what you will about how nice it would be to believe that racism is over in the year of our Lord 2014, but discrimination is alive and well in the movie industry and among moviegoing audiences.
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Old January 28 2014, 01:26 AM   #14
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

My biggest problem was the dumming down of the non speaking agencies. So Dr Ryan is the great financial analyst, okay but once they figure out the plot the professional man hunters can do nothing without him thinking of the target first. The NYPD and the FBI who actually practice counter terror depends upon him a CIA money tracker to think of checking under the building for a bomb. Because he just was eye to eye with the biological parent of a sleeper suicide bomber he is able to get in the kids mind? And just how are Russian foster parent sleeper agents able to raise a kid in America and convince him to be a suicide bomber for mother Russia, that is the story I want to see.

I prefer the way Ford and Dafoe played it in Clear and Present Danger. In that case even though cut off from everybody it wasn't a case of I am Ryan and can think of everything myself. In the end having the world travelling spy come back to New York in the last seconds to take charge was better played in The Peacemaker with George Clooney and as that was before 9/11 you had an excuse for the cops not willing to take the shot or waiting for the CIA to save them.
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Old January 29 2014, 08:08 AM   #15
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Re: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

I liked it.
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