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Luxuriating in the quiet, comfortably dull zone between the Academy Award nominations and the unveiling of the champions (Sunday, March 2nd) lurks the placating, coddling, mindless two and three star action flicks; knowing beforehand that the hero lives, enjoying the thrill of the chase; lusting for the inevitable demise of the nefarious antagonist; herein lies “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”.

Chris Pine joins the fraternity of writer Tom Clancy’s CIA operative; his elite predecessors: Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck should be more than welcoming to the devastatingly handsome, athletic Pine; seething with intelligence, insouciant charm, and riveting sky-blue eyes; eyes that can fracture the most intransigent of gazes. He had iconic shoes to fill, and the fit is flawless.

Ryan, recruited and “handled” by CIA agent “Thomas Harper” (an aged but venerable Kevin Costner) after being wounded in Afghanistan; trained as a financial analyst, he discovers a Russian plot to sabotage and create a massive Wall Street holocaust; from Moscow to New York, the predictable but energizing plot unfolds.

Directed and co-starring Kenneth Branagh as “Viktor Cherevin”, the indefatigable culprit behind the toxic attack; he’s a snake and uses his slippery, diabolical tongue to woo Ryan’s fiancée, “Cathy” (lithesome, Keira Knightley); repulsive yet compelling, easily the finest scene in the film.

“Jack Ryan:Shadow Recruit” is not a great film but nonetheless provides a respite from the esoteric, thought-provoking fare we crave in our filmic experiences; a dessert that satiates an overindulged, overstretched, movie palate.

TWO & 1/2 STARS!!


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