Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – review

Seeking to expand on the successful but dormant film franchise, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is the fifth instalment reboot that differs from the previous films as it is not based on any of Tom Clancy’s novels in particular.


Kenneth Branagh finds himself in two distinct roles here, as he simultaneously plays ruthless Russian war veteran, Viktor Cheverin, as well as directing the film. The lucky (and brave) man stepping into Ryan’s shoes in this instalment is none other than Chris Pine (who you might remember from Star Trek), whilst the delightful Keira Knightley stars as his wife who is oblivious to Ryan’s life as a CIA operative. Pine puts in a confident and engaging performance in the title role, and both Knightley and Branagh fight to keep the audience on point and alert throughout the whole film.

Unfortunately, the action-thriller suffers from a jumble of inconsistencies as well as from being pretty much what you’d expect from the genre – which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sure, it’s got the explosions, the fist-fights and brawls, the rescue operations and ultimate victory, but it just doesn’t quite pack the punch in the same way as other franchises, such as the Bourne or Lethal Weapon series, or the Die Hard films (although they’re becoming a bit stale).

Frequent fans of the genre may find themselves mildly entertained for the film’s 105 minutes, but if you were looking for something fresh to appeal to your cinematic tastes for the bleak beginning months of the year then you sadly won’t find it here. However, Branagh manages to use his cast’s abilities to his advantage, despite there being problems with the lacklustre script. The film is unfortunately a victim of its own genre – what might be considered seemingly ‘lazy filmmaking’.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit follows strict generic guidelines which limit its potential to thrive as an exciting action thriller. Basically, you know where it’s going to go and pretty much how it’s going to get there – which isn’t exactly what you want from a thriller. The problem is when you have hundreds of similar films which all have the same basic elements jumbled together, you can end up feeling like you have watched the same film over and over again. Unfortunately, this is the case for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, despite its potential and the new injection of fresh acting faces for its dormant series.


About Author

melissahaggar As the current VENUE Deputy Editor and former Film Editor, Melissa spends the majority of her free time sobbing over her mountain of MA work or indulging in cinematic outings. A self-professed lover of Gothic & Fantasy genres, Melissa naturally loves Harry Potter, aesthetically pleasing Instagram posts, and classical music. She also really wants to be Jessica Jones.

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June 2022
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