Critics Consensus: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Is a Solid Thriller

Plus, The Nut Job, Ride Along, and Devil's Due miss the mark.

This week at the movies, we've got a super spy (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, starring Chris Pine and Keira Knightley), some burglarizing rodents (The Nut Job, with voice performances by Will Arnett and Katherine Heigl), mismatched cops (Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart), and a demonic baby (Devil's Due, starring Allison Miller and Zach Gilford). What do the critics have to say?

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

56%

Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck have all taken their best shot; now it's Chris Pine's turn to play Jack Ryan, the talented CIA agent from Tom Clancy's bestselling novels. And critics say he's off to a good start, as Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, while hardly the most original thriller on the market, is slick, exciting, and well-acted. Inspired to serve his country after 9/11, Jack Ryan joins the Marines. After being injured in Afghanistan, Ryan is recruited in the CIA, and soon he's on the trail of a Russian terrorist plot. The pundits say Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, is a solid meat-and-potatoes thriller, one that's skillfully crafted and pleasantly suspenseful. (Check out this week's total recall, in which we count down director Kenneth Branagh's best-reviewed films.)

The Nut Job

11%

From Steamboat Willie to Ratatouille, there have been plenty of iconic animated rodents. Unfortunately, Surly the squirrel is unlikely to join that illustrious pantheon; critics say The Nut Job has some nice backgrounds but its plot is threadbare and its star is less than charming. Surly (voiced by Will Arnett) has devised a plan to rob a nut store and make off with enough food to last through the winter. Can Surly learn a valuable lesson about greed -- and become a hero in the process? The pundits say The Nut Job is overly reliant on physical humor, and its characters are surprisingly sour, though there are some moments of visual invention.

Ride Along

18%

At first glance, scowling, no-nonsense Ice Cube and hustling, motormouthed Kevin Hart would seem to be an ideal comedic pairing. Unfortunately, critics say they're underutilized in Ride Along, a thinly plotted, utterly generic cop-buddy action comedy. Hard-nosed detective James (Ice Cube) is less than pleased that his sister is dating a slacker like Ben (Hart). When Ben is accepted to the police force, he hopes to win James' respect by joining him on the beat. The pundits say Ride Along offers up a few laughs, but mostly it coasts along on cop movie cliches. Click through this week's 24 Frames for a gallery of movie cops.)

Devil's Due

18%

Sooner or later, the found-footage horror subgenre was bound to get its own Rosemary's Baby. But while critics say Devil's Due is moderately well crafted, they also note that it's more dependent on jump-scares than on more imaginative chills. Samantha (Allison Miller) and Zach (Zach Gilford) are preparing to welcome their first child together when Samantha's behavior begins to take on a sinister tone; could it be that she's been impregnated by a malevolent spirit? The pundits say Devil's Due features decent performances, but its plot becomes increasingly absurd as it goes along.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Big Bad Wolves, a revenge thriller about a cop who tries to extract a confession from the man he believes to be the killer of a young girl, is at 79 percent.
  • Hirokazu Koreeda's Like Father, Like Son, a drama about two families dealing with the discovery that their six-year-old sons were switched at birth, is at 79 percent.
  • Maidentrip, a documentary about a 14-year-old's attempt to be the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe, is at 78 percent.
  • G.B.F., a comedy about a guy who's got a group of popular girls battling for the right to call him their gay best friend, is at 77 percent.
  • Generation War, a drama about five German friends dealing with the moral complications of life during the Third Reich, is at 45 percent.
  • Summer in February, starring Dominic Cooper and Dan Stevens in a period drama about two close friends in love with the same woman, is at 41 percent.
  • Jamesy Boy, starring Ving Rhames and Mary-Louise Parker in a drama about a young convict who attempts to turn his life around, is at 13 percent.

Finally, props to Garner Montgomery for coming the closest to guessing The Legend of Hercules' five percent Tomatometer. That's two in a row for Mr. Montgomery.

Comments

Jacob Holmes

Jacob Holmes

I rarely say this about movies, but I really hope The Nut Job bombs hard. Parents: If you have to take your kids to the movies, just see Frozen again if you have to!

Jan 16 - 04:59 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Yeah, Disney's probably laughing itself to the bank right now; brilliant move to put their offering out during a terrible period for family entertainment. I actually saw a trailer for "Nut Job" when I saw "Frozen", and I died a little inside. Not just in the bottom of the barrel, but THE bottom of the barrel.

Jan 16 - 07:03 PM

William Ackerman

William Ackerman

Yes please parents, just take your kids to see Frozen again so that when their films flop at the box office, these lowbrow kid's movie creators will actually try.

Jan 17 - 04:30 PM

Laurence Wang

Laurence Wang

Some of the reviews for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit should be fresh instead of rotten ( A review that gave the movie 3/5 is counted as rotten for some reason). But yeah, can't wait to see Jack Ryan.

Jan 16 - 05:04 PM

Vincent

Jerry Benedict

The reviewer decides if it's rotten or not. I get tired of having to explain this.

Jan 16 - 05:06 PM

Laurence Wang

Laurence Wang

Sheeesh, didn't had to be a douche about it.

Jan 16 - 05:16 PM

Dave J

Dave J

No, I remembered seeing some movies critics liked but RT still interpreted as rotten!

Jan 17 - 02:54 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

The tone may have suggested to you that they liked it, but in the main, when one of these situations happens it's because the critic has come out and said they thought the movie was rotten regardless of stars or numbers out of 5 they may have given it. I think sometimes on rare occasion it's up to the staff to decide, but even then by RT rules 60% is the line between fresh and rotten so 3 out of 5 is right on the border.

Jan 17 - 03:32 PM

Dave J

Dave J

No, I've actually read reviews on here dated back from the late 1960's even when the critics are like no longer living anymore, or had already been dead way before RT had even existed! So, you can't convince me that critics do come on here to decide whether or not it's a rotten or a fresh!

Jan 17 - 03:49 PM

Laurence Wang

Laurence Wang

Yeah, I mean most of the Rotten reviews agree that Jack Ryan is a good movie but just nothing special, should that really count as a negative review?

Jan 17 - 06:35 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Dave J, it's been asked and the staff have actual said in most cases they allow the critic to say yay or nay on reviews. Admittedly that was before the Flixster takeover, but if you think there's a giant conspiracy by the RT staff because they can't commune with the dead, go on thinking that.

Jan 18 - 01:25 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Laurence, the percentage 62% fresh I pretty much the definition of good, but nothing special so the system works. I don't really get your argument, by that standard all movie's would either be 100% or 0%.

Jan 18 - 01:27 AM

Dave J

Dave J

Don't be silly Bigbrother, I'm not saying theirs a conspiracy! What you're saying is not exactly correct because it's not the critic himself/ herself that gives RT the okay, it's more of the magazine or newspaper that it's being published that gives RT the opportunity to reprint their original reviews!

Jan 20 - 12:35 PM

gregmss

Jack Gregson

Well you better keep telling people, no matter how tired you get! I swear to god if you fall asleep on your one and only job, you'll get the belt again!

Jan 18 - 01:21 AM

Vincent

Jerry Benedict

The reviewer decides if it's rotten or not. I get tired of having to explain this.

Jan 16 - 05:06 PM

Laurence Wang

Laurence Wang

Sheeesh, didn't had to be a douche about it.

Jan 16 - 05:16 PM

Dave J

Dave J

No, I remembered seeing some movies critics liked but RT still interpreted as rotten!

Jan 17 - 02:54 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

The tone may have suggested to you that they liked it, but in the main, when one of these situations happens it's because the critic has come out and said they thought the movie was rotten regardless of stars or numbers out of 5 they may have given it. I think sometimes on rare occasion it's up to the staff to decide, but even then by RT rules 60% is the line between fresh and rotten so 3 out of 5 is right on the border.

Jan 17 - 03:32 PM

Dave J

Dave J

No, I've actually read reviews on here dated back from the late 1960's even when the critics are like no longer living anymore, or had already been dead way before RT had even existed! So, you can't convince me that critics do come on here to decide whether or not it's a rotten or a fresh!

Jan 17 - 03:49 PM

Laurence Wang

Laurence Wang

Yeah, I mean most of the Rotten reviews agree that Jack Ryan is a good movie but just nothing special, should that really count as a negative review?

Jan 17 - 06:35 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Dave J, it's been asked and the staff have actual said in most cases they allow the critic to say yay or nay on reviews. Admittedly that was before the Flixster takeover, but if you think there's a giant conspiracy by the RT staff because they can't commune with the dead, go on thinking that.

Jan 18 - 01:25 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Laurence, the percentage 62% fresh I pretty much the definition of good, but nothing special so the system works. I don't really get your argument, by that standard all movie's would either be 100% or 0%.

Jan 18 - 01:27 AM

Dave J

Dave J

Don't be silly Bigbrother, I'm not saying theirs a conspiracy! What you're saying is not exactly correct because it's not the critic himself/ herself that gives RT the okay, it's more of the magazine or newspaper that it's being published that gives RT the opportunity to reprint their original reviews!

Jan 20 - 12:35 PM

gregmss

Jack Gregson

Well you better keep telling people, no matter how tired you get! I swear to god if you fall asleep on your one and only job, you'll get the belt again!

Jan 18 - 01:21 AM

Vincent

Jerry Benedict

Jack Ryan looks like a Mission Impossible wannabe, based of the trailer and synopsis.

Jan 16 - 05:07 PM

Laurence Wang

Laurence Wang

Sheeesh, didn't had to be a douche about it.

Jan 16 - 05:16 PM

jgalvin5

Jordan Galvin

Jack Ryan is fresh might have to check it out

Jan 16 - 06:39 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Yeah, Disney's probably laughing itself to the bank right now; brilliant move to put their offering out during a terrible period for family entertainment. I actually saw a trailer for "Nut Job" when I saw "Frozen", and I died a little inside. Not just in the bottom of the barrel, but THE bottom of the barrel.

Jan 16 - 07:03 PM

William Ackerman

William Ackerman

Yes please parents, just take your kids to see Frozen again so that when their films flop at the box office, these lowbrow kid's movie creators will actually try.

Jan 17 - 04:30 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Jack Ryan looks like it's playing it safe, but there's a lot of potential for a new franchise here.

Jan 16 - 07:35 PM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

gonna check out 'Jack Ryan'
I had a feeling everything else would be lackluster

at least Sunday I'm seeing another classic re-release; 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High', my theater is doing a slate of re-releases this month which will give me something to do

Jan 16 - 09:14 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

Although they've been in bad movies, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are at their best in R-ated comedies. So I think I could like RIDE ALONG (it can't be worse than COP OUT). JACK RYAN looks too generic.

Jan 17 - 12:00 PM

Laurence Wang

Laurence Wang

And Ride Along isn't? I seen at least 20 better Cop buddy movies.

Jan 17 - 12:06 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

Even when they're generic, buddy cop comedies have a better chance of being enjoyable than spy thrillers. THE HEAT is a good example.

Jan 17 - 06:35 PM

gregmss

Jack Gregson

The Heat is a good example of nothing. Terrible movie.

Jan 18 - 01:21 AM

Laurence Wang

Laurence Wang

And Ride Along isn't? I seen at least 20 better Cop buddy movies.

Jan 17 - 12:06 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

Even when they're generic, buddy cop comedies have a better chance of being enjoyable than spy thrillers. THE HEAT is a good example.

Jan 17 - 06:35 PM

gregmss

Jack Gregson

The Heat is a good example of nothing. Terrible movie.

Jan 18 - 01:21 AM

Dave J

Dave J

No, I remembered seeing some movies critics liked but RT still interpreted as rotten!

Jan 17 - 02:54 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

The tone may have suggested to you that they liked it, but in the main, when one of these situations happens it's because the critic has come out and said they thought the movie was rotten regardless of stars or numbers out of 5 they may have given it. I think sometimes on rare occasion it's up to the staff to decide, but even then by RT rules 60% is the line between fresh and rotten so 3 out of 5 is right on the border.

Jan 17 - 03:32 PM

Dave J

Dave J

No, I've actually read reviews on here dated back from the late 1960's even when the critics are like no longer living anymore, or had already been dead way before RT had even existed! So, you can't convince me that critics do come on here to decide whether or not it's a rotten or a fresh!

Jan 17 - 03:49 PM

Laurence Wang

Laurence Wang

Yeah, I mean most of the Rotten reviews agree that Jack Ryan is a good movie but just nothing special, should that really count as a negative review?

Jan 17 - 06:35 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Dave J, it's been asked and the staff have actual said in most cases they allow the critic to say yay or nay on reviews. Admittedly that was before the Flixster takeover, but if you think there's a giant conspiracy by the RT staff because they can't commune with the dead, go on thinking that.

Jan 18 - 01:25 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Laurence, the percentage 62% fresh I pretty much the definition of good, but nothing special so the system works. I don't really get your argument, by that standard all movie's would either be 100% or 0%.

Jan 18 - 01:27 AM

Dave J

Dave J

Don't be silly Bigbrother, I'm not saying theirs a conspiracy! What you're saying is not exactly correct because it's not the critic himself/ herself that gives RT the okay, it's more of the magazine or newspaper that it's being published that gives RT the opportunity to reprint their original reviews!

Jan 20 - 12:35 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I'm checking Jack Ryan!

Jan 17 - 02:54 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

The tone may have suggested to you that they liked it, but in the main, when one of these situations happens it's because the critic has come out and said they thought the movie was rotten regardless of stars or numbers out of 5 they may have given it. I think sometimes on rare occasion it's up to the staff to decide, but even then by RT rules 60% is the line between fresh and rotten so 3 out of 5 is right on the border.

Jan 17 - 03:32 PM

Dave J

Dave J

No, I've actually read reviews on here dated back from the late 1960's even when the critics are like no longer living anymore, or had already been dead way before RT had even existed! So, you can't convince me that critics do come on here to decide whether or not it's a rotten or a fresh!

Jan 17 - 03:49 PM

William Ackerman

William Ackerman

Yes please parents, just take your kids to see Frozen again so that when their films flop at the box office, these lowbrow kid's movie creators will actually try.

Jan 17 - 04:30 PM

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