Hey everyone. I've been sick and somewhat enjoying it. Haven't gotten online at all, ignored my phone for the most part and responded to a handful of emails (from some of you) in the time. I feel almost back to normal now.
That said, I went out Saturday (despite barely being able to talk) and saw Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Here's my review of it.
The hardest part for me from pretty much the get go was quieting my mind. "Wrong" and "close enough" and "taking a few liberties I see" were pretty much what my brain was saying throughout the film. The meat and potatoes are there, so to speak.
First things first, Chris Pine. Like him or hate him, he genuinely, to me at least, did a good job portraying Jack Ryan. Blasphemy! I know, I know. He's no Alec Baldwin and he's for damn sure no Harrison Ford, for who many will be the quintessential and perfect Jack Ryan. Seriously though, he pulls the part off. Boy scout who tends to stumble into things and then deals with them as best he can. In fact, in all but one scene of the movie did he play the character perfectly. That scene being getting into a helicopter near the "shit's going down" part of the film. He gets on, no worry or anxiety whatsoever. Anyone who has read the novels knows that Jack has issues with flying ever since the helicopter crash that nearly paralyzed him during his time with the Marines. It takes forever in the novels to even get used to flying, much less just hop on without thinking twice about it. That part was the one scene where I couldn't help myself and loudly said "bullshit", to the surprise of my friend who I talked into watching it with me. (I of course had to explain why I said that after we walked out of the theater to her. She's not as knowledgeable about the Ryanverse as I am. Alright, I'm lying. She's not knowledgeable about it at all.) There's not much more to say, Chris Pine did a good job and I look forward to seeing him take on the role again.
Keira Knightley played Cathy Mueller (Cathy Ryan later). Although there was something about her that was bugging me throughout the film. I think she played the role without an accent, which actually sounded more grating to my ears. Of course Cathy is an American from New York and a British accent wouldn't fly to purist of the novels, but still it would have been preferred over what we got. Although that's just my opinion. You might think different if you see the film. Overall though she played Cathy as I expected and pictured her. Dead on to be honest.
Kevin Costner of course was awesome in the made up for the film role of William Harper. Honestly, I think they combined quite a few characters for the role. I saw a little bit of Admiral Greer, Robert Ritter and even a bit of John Clark in there. I figure he'll have a significantly expanded role in the next film, which should be Without Remorse. My thinking is that this film focused on Jack, with Harper as the man who brings him into the CIA. The next film will focus on Clark and Harper will be the man who brings him into the CIA there as well, due to his unique talents and abilities. Seriously though, if the film itself hadn't been enjoyable to me Costner alone as Harper would have redeemed it in its entirety.
The villain, played by someone you'll recognize but whose name you likely won't know, in the role of Viktor Cheverin. His introduction is incredibly stereotypical. You don't see his face, but you hear about him a few times up until that point and when you see what he does when he gets annoyed you think "oh snap". Watching him jab the needle into his own arm made me cringe. When he's finally introduced live and in color to Jack, stereotypical villain reveal. A sweeping view of him standing behind his desk. A large shot of his office and you're seeing him as Jack sees him. Stereotypical Russian villain to be honest. Honestly, there was a minor gripe I had regarding not being suspicious of Jack's "take a walk" moment. Given his penchant for secrecy and brutality and the fact that he tries to have Jack killed upon arrival in Russia, it's a bit silly to think he'd just not care about him taking a walk during the dinner. Nothing odd about that, nope not in the least. Although he does make up for it in stunning manner.
As for the plot itself, I called it the first go round. Takes bits and pieces from numerous stories and combines them. The economic attack is straight out of Debt of Honor. That's basically the plot of the movie right there. U.S. does something that a foreign country doesn't like, in this case Russia, and they launch an attack with stunning potential consequences for our country. Launched in a fashion straight out of a KGB playbook, complete with sleeper cell activation in country and making it a two pronged attack to maximize the damage. Not going to spoil it, if you've read the books you'll know roughly what's coming. If you haven't it's nothing you won't be able to pick up on just watching the film.
Long story, short: Watch it. If you want a straight up decent action spy type film it delivers. If you're a fan of the novels, it stays mostly true to the characters you already know.