reviewed by Tom-Tom
Chris Pine is the fourth actor to play Tom Clancy’s compelling CIA Agent. He’s risen to the challenge of playing a role seared in the public consciousness before in the Star Trek reboot. Will he be able to go at least par for the course with Alec Baldwin, the charming analyst afraid of heights, Harrison Ford, the action hero and family man, and Ben Affleck … Ben Affleck? Let’s see.
The film opens on that otherwise peaceful and beautiful day in September. Ryan is an Economics PHd candidate at a British University seeing the news of the Twin Towers being hit by the second plane. Flash forward to 2003. Ryan is a marine learning how to walk again after his helicopter was hit by enemy forces in Afghanistan. He meets Cathy, (Keira Knightly) a pretty third year Medical Student aiding him along his way. I think this is the first time I’ve heard her do an American accent. It’s natural and pleasing to listen to. I think I like it better than her native accent. Pretty soon he is recruited by Kevin Costner (breaking the pattern set by James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman) to be a shadow financial analyst for Wall Street to “prevent us from getting hit ever again.” Ten years later he heads to Moscow to investigate some fishy transactions from Russian accounts. He gets a friendly welcome in the form of an assassination attempt. Thus begins the action of the film. Where better to have a spy-action cat and mouse game than in Mother Russia, right? Jack Ryan isn’t thrown into this action film recklessly. He feels the results of his first spy encounter with death. He’s in over his head the way Alec Baldwin was but more so as he can’t even let his girlfriend Cathy (yep they hooked up after his physical therapy) know. Kenneth Branagh is Viktor Chevrin, the mysterious Russian man behind an attempt to devalue the American dollar to nothing destroying the American economy beyond repair in the aftermath of a planned terrorist attack. It’s to be enacted by Russian sleepers living in the US waiting for the right sign.
With new and high stakes thrown in, Jack is thrust into the classic “over his head” situation which we love about our action heroes. Think of Bruce Willis in the first Die Hard film, Will Smith in “Enemy of the State,” Chris Pine has just the right mix of innocence and self confidence which makes him such an appealing Captain Kirk and here Jack Ryan. There isn’t anything groundbreaking here in terms of reinventing the spy mold, just a lean, suspenseful thriller with risks and consequences applicable to recent activity in Wall Street and real world terrorism in a race against time with Tom Clancy’s favorite villains, the Russians.