I really can't remember the last time I went to see an action film in the theater. It's a genre that has just fallen out of my interest, as they all seem to be the same combination of bland writing and been-there-done-that violence. Based on what I knew of the plot and the names behind it, I expected Shadow Recruit to be a smarter-than-average, but still by-the-numbers take on the famed Tom Clancy character. I got what I expected, and not much else, really.
To its credit, Jack Ryan makes a pretty good first impression. Chris Pine (Kirk from 2009's Star Trek), Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh directing, and the writer of Schindler's List. What emerges from this pool of venerable talent is, at heart, just another action-thriller, with the requisite fistfights, car chases, and race against the clock. It's all very well-done, to be sure, with fine performances and some snappy dialogue punctuating the occasional monotony. Fans of the genre or source material, or just the casual filmgoer, will have a good time. But it doesn't come without a cost.