Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cleverly Cloning Clancy a Smart 'Jack Ryan' Tackles His Mission in the Usual Fashion

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cleverly Cloning Clancy a Smart 'Jack Ryan' Tackles His Mission in the Usual Fashion

Article excerpt

Like Spider-Man, Superman and Sulley and Mike from "Monsters Inc.," Jack Ryan gets an origin story in the new movie starring Chris Pine.

"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" introduces the title character on the campus of the London School of Economics in 2001. He is napping on a bench when he awakens and follows students rushing into a nearby building to stare at a television showing smoke billowing from the World Trade Center.

Ryan enlists in the Marines and lands in Afghanistan -- "I figured if I was going to serve, I'd serve" -- where he is nearly killed in a helicopter strike. He saves two of his men, and severely injured with shattered vertebrae and burns is sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

There, he encounters two people who will change his life: Cathy (Keira Knightley), a budding eye surgeon, and Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner), a mysterious man who will recruit Ryan for the CIA so he can suss out funding for terrorist groups.

His cover is working as a compliance officer on Wall Street, and it's some financial funny business that sends Ryan to Moscow where he meets enemies who want to kill him. After all, as he reminds the agency, "I'm just an analyst. I only did three weeks at 'The Farm,' " or CIA training facility.

Ryan suspects a plot that could bring the United States to its knees and it's up to him to stop it. Along the way, he has to keep himself and his fiancee, Cathy, alive and safe in this reboot from director Kenneth Branagh, who also appears on screen as a wily Russian with a weakness for vodka, vanity and women.

"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," written by Adam Cozad and David Koepp and based on Tom Clancy's characters, manages to acknowledge the importance of technology today but doesn't forget audiences want scenes that will set pulses racing with car chases, literal or figurative time bombs, and bold attempts to slip into forbidden spaces and not get caught or shot. …

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