Jack Ryan: A new spin on an old story

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Laurianna Cull

Once again an action flick pits the U.S. against Russia. It was done in “Rocky 4,” 1984’s “Red Dawn,” “A Good Day to Die Hard,” and now in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.”

In this action film, the story of Tom Clancy’s fictional character Jack Ryan takes place in modern Manhattan.

The movie begins in 2001 with Jack Ryan, played by Chris Pine (“Star Trek”), watching the twin towers fall on television as many of us did. This spurs him to leave college and join the marines.

The film then jumps ten years into the future where he is now an analyst for the CIA who stumbles upon a Russian attempt to crash the American economy with a terrorist attack that would eventually lead to a second Great Depression.

Jack is thrown from his comfortable desk job on Wall Street and is suddenly in the field, where he is in a race against time to save the country.

Chris Pine had a list of talented actors to live up to who have also played the character of Jack Ryan in previous films, including Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Afflek.

However, Pine gave a convincing performance as his character progressed from college student, to a marine, to a wounded veteran, to having a CIA desk job, to starting in the field and finally owning the field.

Also in this all-star cast was Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves”) playing Harper, a seasoned CIA operative. The vengeful villain of the story, Viktor, is played by Kenneth Branagh (“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”). Lastly, sporting an American accent was Keira Knightley (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) who played Pine’s love interest.

Knightley gave a decent performance, albeit not her best. Knightley spent half her energy trying to maintain the American accent meaning she only gave about 50 percent of the performance she was capable of.

Overall, the film has everything on the action flick check list: normal guy becomes a hero, secret government operations, explosions, a damsel in distress, and against all odds, the hero saves the day.

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” put a modern spin on an older character. And by adding in the attack on the twin towers in the beginning of the movie, the film captured the audience’s attention by invoking a shared experience by our generation.