And here I thought it was just me.
So franchise founder Tom Clancy has died, but Jack Ryan keeps getting younger. Sounds like the plot of a better movie than Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Yes, Ryan used to be head of Central Intelligence and even U.S. President. But that was a long time ago when he was older. Now, much time has passed and – in classic Hollywood tradition – he’s younger! Granted, you know how the story ends a long time ago, but now see how it begins today. So that it can end years ago.
Where’s the scene where Jack climbs into a DeLorean with a wild-haired Christopher Lloyd?
You know what I mean.
We open on a college campus and Chris Pine as Jack Ryan – the world’s oldest collegian. Then he’s off to Afghanistan. It’s there that he’s recruited by Kevin Costner, the Obi-Wan Kenobi of this movie, who has read Jack’s dissertation and is mightily impressed.
“Well it was just a frat house guide to home micro-brewing,” said Jack, “but if it’s good enough to get me a spot on Wall Street and a gig in the CIA then I must surely be a Republican! I’ll temporarily suspend my bid for the perfect tan and my aspiration to deliver the U.S. Mail just a bit longer.”
But before all that, he must romance his physical therapist, Keira Knightley, run in the rain, and try to make us forget that he twice piloted the Starship Enterprise.
Cut to Moscow…
Just like we did in the ’80′s.
There, plans are afoot to sink the U.S. financial system because, as the Russians reasoned, “it’s not like every nation is connected in a complicated web of financial interdependence where the rise and fall of one affect all or anything!”
Time for some boring international geopolitics and skullduggery!
Can Jack Ryan save the world the same way he once saved two soldiers from a downed chopper – with a broken arm!? You bet he can, buster! He’s Jack Ryan, and never has there been a more reliably monosyllabic all-American name than that!
Can Jack sneak into the Russian chief’s inner sanctum and download some codes for the crew of CIA agents operating out of a van in Red Square when they’re not selling Italian ices to tourists?
“Would you like an highly encrypted thumb drive with that cherry ice?”
Can he race through the streets of New York to upset a plot in progress and save the city in the nick of time?
If you’re at all puzzled by the answers to these questions, then you were probably among the few, the brave, and the proud actually in the audience for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
“Maybe we should have recruited the audience,” said Chris Pine, “because all I see out there are shadows.”
Kenneth Branagh does double-duty here, both as director and Jack’s Russian foe with a characteristically sketchy grasp of English:
“This is not game, Jack!” said Branagh in a Russian accent only a Russian mother could love.
“You mean this is not A game, don’t you?” said Jack.
“Blame typo on new version Final Draft.”
Keira is a doctor. Jack is a CIA agent. She speaks with an English accent, and he pretends to understand the words when she does. It’s a match made in the kind of Heaven where Sean Connery is still piloting runaway Soviet subs.
Tom Clancy may be dead, but Jack Ryan is only getting started.