Jack Ryan returns for another intense adventure and this time he is a fighter. In the other films he was usually an analyst without much combat experience but here he was a full marine who was an expert at survival and getting the job done. So you can bet that he was taking a lot of wins and could handle himself in the field. It’s an interesting change and hey I do like my action scenes so that works out. It’s not quite as solid as the last one but still makes for a fun adventure.
The movie starts off with Jack getting a big injury and he has to do some tough rehab for a very long time just to walk again. Fortunately he meets up with Cathy and the two of them get engaged. Jack is then recruited by Thomas into the CIA so it’s all fun and games but then he notices a big move by Russia. They’re messing around with the stocks and currency. It looks like this could be a major play to take down America once and for all so Jack will have to go there in person but this last second trip is going to be putting a lot of tension in his relationship with Cathy since she doesn’t know about his true job. Can he save the world and salvage his relationship or will he have to choose one or the other?
One positive out of the gate is that the series still keeps a lot of political intrigue into the mix even while it is focusing on the fights more. The plan to take down the U.S. through a stock crash is quite inventive and while I may have some issues with seeing that go so smoothly, it’s a fun plot. It’s different and we get to have a lot of discussions from the characters on how this would work and how to stop it. The short answer is that you don’t just stop it, you have to foil the terrorist part of the plan actively and rest will fall like domino’s. I feel like as a last resort they could take the stock market down but that would cost billions on its own and would probably just delay the inevitable.
As for the action, that’s fun. We get a high speed chase scene and Jack has to take one guy down early on. He seemed quite outmatched so he was smart to use the terrain to his advantage. It was a nice way to start off the Russia adventure since the danger hit close to home almost immediately. Although it also made you think of a fun alternate premise for the film. When Jack escapes the room his contact tells him he just has to survive until he can meet with the next agent. Imagine if the rest of the film was him trying to survive in a foreign country with plenty of assassins after him? I think that would be very interesting but ultimately it would be a different movie.
The writing is on point here as well. The movie goes by in a flash and it always feels like a lot is going on. The characters are good too. I liked Thomas as the senior agent here and he actually made himself useful. A lot of the times it feels like these agents are only around to hand out the moral of the day but then they get bumped off or written out. Here he actually acts like a senior member should and is always watching out for Jack. He makes sure to step in if things are getting too dicey and pops quite a few of the villains with his sniper rifle. That’s absolutely how this should go.
As for the villain, he is definitely a downgrade from the last few. He has a lot to prove and really wants to get a win for Russia but he has some pretty well known weaknesses. He loves money and he can’t resist women. These weaknesses are so well know that the heroes and his own minions know this so they use it against him. That part’s a bit annoying because of course the instant Cathy wants to help, her role is to distract the villain while Jack infiltrates. That just seems to always happen and I’d rather for once her role would be to take him down while Jack breaks in or something like that. At least the movie uses it as a weak weakness for Viktor which costs him a lot but it’s still very overdone in the movies.
His minion wasn’t very smart though. Why would you tell your own boss about how he’s failed and how Russia will be disappointed? That’s like asking for your boss to take you down. There was no way that he was going to survive after that. No shot at all. Catchy was a good heroine at least. She was able to handle the dangerous situations really well without panicking or making mistakes. While she had some issues with Jack initially due to the secrets, you can actually blame Jack there because Cathy gave him multiple opportunities to come clean. He was just way too slow on the uptake and handled it all really badly.
If you see that your girlfriend is asking if you’ve seen a specific movie that you just saw yesterday, wouldn’t you think that something is up? He should have just said that he saw it. If he had to lie about the reason then just say he needed a break and saw it by himself but anything is better than just avoiding the question or saying he didn’t see the movie. He was also sloppy to leave the ticket there.
Beyond his romantic slip ups, Jack is a good main character though. He’s always ready for action and does well on the tech side as well. It’s definitely handy when you’re a computer whiz and you can fight. That makes him the ultimate dual threat here. With a solid cast and story the movie was certainly set up for good things. The only weaknesses here would really be the main villain and the romance. It didn’t really add onto the story and having a better main villain is always a great way to instantly elevate the film. We get some decent banter though so with the writing still being on point the villain doesn’t really hurt the film.
Overall, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a good film and a solid way to try and kick some new energy into the series. If you like classic action thriller films then you would like this one and throw on an extra point if you also like the political intrigue and drama there. This one has a bit of everything even if it’s a bit of a step down from the last one. I’d recommend checking this one out, it’s a quality all around movie.