By Jacob Montgomery (Texas)
I think a reboot of Jack Ryan was exactly what needed to happen. It was wise of the filmmakers to go with a completely original story, not just for mainstream appeal, but for contemporary resonance, too. And also, given that most of the previous most famous Jack Ryan books have already been made into films, I understand and agree with these decisions. However, the question does remain; did they do it well?
The film does have some problems; it’s far from perfect. The plot itself is a bit too complicated, not so much that you can’t follow what’s going on, but just enough that makes you tilt your head. Also I will admit that the villains’ plan seems scarily plausible, but I don’t know if it would hold up to scrutiny. However, I’m not an economist, so I was able to buy it. And some of the action scenes rely too much on the shaky cam.
However, any flaws this movie had are well then made up for it in what is done well. Chris Pine is perfectly cast as a young Jack Ryan. He has enough charisma and charm to be likable, and he has the distinction of being able to look like a regular normal looking guy, and being able to be hard-core when the script calls for it. Kenneth Branagh is memorable and surprisingly chilling as the main villain, and while I’m talking about him, he does a good job behind the camera too. It was also nice to see Kevin Costner back in good form, and I hope that his comeback is strong, because he is a talented actor and filmmaker, but this isn’t a bad film for his comeback to be a part of.
I was also surprised by the film’s subversive nature. There were a few times where it looked like they were going to go a certain route, and while they did indulge in predictability a few times, there were enough aspects about it that were different, that made me appreciate that there was effort put into this film. It would’ve been so easy to slap the words Jack Ryan on a generic action film as a quick cash grab, but I assure you they avoid that. That’s especially impressive seeing as how it was released in the middle of dumping ground January, but hey, that month has to produce good movies every once in a while.
And on top of that, when action scenes are done well, they are done monumentally well. In fact, the final climax is a very intense nail biter, even if you can tell where it’s headed. That’s impressive filmmaking right there.
The film isn’t anywhere near as memorable as some of the other Jack Ryan movies, like The Hunt for Red October or Patriot Games, but this film is a surprisingly entertaining thriller, that benefits from great action scenes, solid and dedicated performances, and some intelligent writing, that brings it above other generic action scenes. I don’t know if the late Tom Clancy would’ve liked the film, but I certainly did, and would not at all be opposed to a sequel.