#5: JACK RYAN: SHITE RECRUIT
108 minutes. Starring Chris Pine, Keira Knightly, Kevin Costner and Kenny Branagh and directed by Kenny B.
Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Jack Ryan drops out of an economics degree at a London University and becomes a Marine to defend the US of A from terrorists. Sadly, Jack leaves the war against Afghanistan with a bad back, a job with the C.I.A - as a desk bound analyst - keeping tabs on secret banking data in Wall Street and living with his doctor and fiancée, Keira Knightly.
Meanwhile, back in Moscow sinister Kenny Brannigan twiddles his mustache sinisterly and cackles with evil intent.
Anyway, it's not long before Captain T. Kirk uncovers a big bad scheme and is racing all over the place to save America and the planet, while Superman's adoptive dad lends the occasional helping hand, which is helpful because paranoid, twitchy Keira Knightly proves to be Jack's Achilles heel and seems to go out of her way, at times, to scupper everything.
Not a bad film, just not a terribly interesting or exciting one and also one that isn't a patch on any of the Jack Ryans who've come before it. In those, Jack wasn't a man of action he was a desk jockey who ended up being physical to save the day. In this one, Jack is a superman with a bit of a bad back that twinges every now and then to remind us he's 'damaged, but in a good way' but which doesn't prevent him, running, leaping, hanging off speeding trucks, diving out of things and generally being Jason Bourne and James Bond rolled into one, even down to bathroom killings.
I could whinge on about the plot holes and huge clunks that drag this down or the use of explosions in the trailer that don't happen in the finished film, but what's the point. It's a bland, homogenised, by-route spy flick that has all your favourite cliches happily shoe-horned into it for you to play Spy Lotto. Henchman shooting Villian - CHECK. Race against time bomb search - CHECK. Computer hacking against the clock - CHECK. Blah blah blah. Elaborate computer searches on multiple screens - CHECK. Instantly recognisable location helpfully subtitled - CHECK.
All that said, Kenny is an old-fashioned, solid director who doesn't go in for all that shaky-cam so you get to see the action properly and he even displays a couple of elegant camera moves like Pine's arrival at the Russian hotel. Likewise, our K isn't one for long rambling films that outstay their welcome and this one comes in at a nice, lean 106 minutes. And Chris Pine is easy to watch so the film isn't a total disaster, not by a long stretch.