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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT

Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 105 minutes, audio commentary, deleted and extended scenes, six featurettes, DVD, digital copy

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 DD, Portugues 5.1 DD, English 5.1 Audio Descriptive

Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese (blu-ray bonus disc)

 

STUDIO:  Paramount Pictures/ Skydance Pictures/ Di Bonaventura Pictures/ Mace Neufeld Productions/ Buckaroo Entertainment

Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 1-17-2014

Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE DATE: 6-10-2014

 

STARRING Chris Pine (Jack Ryan), Kevin Costner (Thomas Harper), Kenneth Branagh (Victor Cherevin), Keira Knightley (Cathy Muller)

WRITTEN by Adam Cozad and David Koepp

Based on characters created by Tom Clancy

DIRECTED by Kenneth Branagh

Jack Ryan is rebooted for the second time in this latest origin story about Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) as he goes to be a soldier due to September 11th, 2001 and ends up injured during active duty and gets a job offer from the CIA (Kevin Costner as Thomas Harper aka Jack’s mentor) to end up an undercover CIA agent working in Wall Street tracking economic transactions.   Jack spots some unusual activity from a big Russian business run by Victor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh).  He is soon ordered by the CIA to make a visit to Russia where Cherevin isn’t taking any chances his big act of economic terrorism is discovered (before it is too late).   Complicating Ryan’s mission is his girlfriend Cathy taking a surprise trip to see him in Moscow.

 

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT is an entertaining spy thriller where I think the plan of bombing Wall Street to bring about the Second Depression (with the combination of short selling the US Dollar) is very Hollywoodlike (the combo of the two things) and the economic terrorism plan would have been fine without making things go boom.  However, they need some type of explosion to lure the audience in for this type of movie, but I would have been satisfied without the big chase and trying to make things not go boom climax.   I do believe the economic terrorism angle of selling stocks and currency is an all too real reality given the economic stress the world is in and many countries being deeply in debt as they try to maintain the economy through various Ponzi schemes.   Despite the climax being built up more than it needed to be, I did rather enjoy JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT.  Keneth Branagh directed a tight and nuanced thriller for the 21st century with a good cast and Branagh managing to go toe to toe with any of the actors in it (whether it is Chris Pine of Keira Knightley).

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Audio commentary by Kenneth Branagh and Lorenzo di Bonaventura

 

Deleted and extended scenes (with optional audio commentary) includes scenes cut for pacing and a smaller alternate ending (which they found out they needed a bigger ending)

 

Featurettes:

JACK RYAN: THE SMARTEST GUY IN THE ROOM- re-imagining the Jack Ryan character while staying true to the character

SIR KENNETH BRANAGH: SMARTEST GUY IN THE ROOM- Kenneth and the cast and crew discuss how Kenneth works as a director and an actor in addition to his methods as both

JACK RYAN: A THINKING MAN OF ACTION- the stunt work of JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT

OLD ENEMIES RETURN- the history of the conflict between the Russians/ Soviets and the USA since World War 2 with interviews from the experts on the conflict and clips from three of the Jack Ryan films (THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, and JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT)

 

Featurettes (on Target bonus blu-ray disc):

PLOTTING A GLOBAL THRILLER- using the UK to double for New York and Moscow, filming on soundstages in Pinewood, and location filming in New York City and Moscow to add additional authenticity.

AMERICAN SPYCRAFT- all about the CIA, their role during the Cold War and after 9/11, and the CIA being human “actionable” intelligence

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT isn’t a bad action reboot even though sometimes it is a little cookie cutter at times.  The cast is likeable and Kenneth Branagh plays his best Bond-type villain.   Too bad Paramount had to split off two featurettes for a Target only bonus disc, but the featurettes about the history of the Russian/ American conflict and the CIA are the best featurettes in the set.

 

This review is 6-15-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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