Saturday, February 1, 2014

Jack Ryan: American Hero

While in Oklahoma City last week, one of my colleagues, Greg, asked me if I wanted to join him to see a movie one night to help pass the time.  Since he and I love Oklahoma City about the same amount, which is equal to how much we enjoy getting a root canal, it didn't take much convincing and we decided to go on Thursday night.  We went to the Harkins Theater in Bricktown, which is a touristy area of Oklahoma City, to see JACK RYAN:  SHADOW RECRUIT.  The movie theater was pretty dead on Thursday, and because the movie had been out for a while already, we were the only ones in the theater for the duration of the movie.

Jack Ryan is a character created by author Tom Clancy, and was previously played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck in other movies about the character.  In JACK RYAN, Jack is played by Chris Pine, who is fast becoming a superstar, having most recently played Captain James Kirk in the new Star Trek franchise.  Pine is a likable actor and convincing in this role.  Kevin Costner, who seems to be making a bit of a movie comeback recently, is also in the movie, and he is enjoyable as Pine's mentor.  Keira Knightley plays Jack Ryan's fiancee, and she is also very likable.  One note about her, though.  She is so thin as to appear sickly to me.  Unfortunately, as long as our society glorifies thin bodies, as models or actors, too many young women and teens are going to think that's how they need to look.  Anorexia is still a problem in this country.  Someone get poor Keira something to eat.

The movie itself was very good, if not very believable.  The plot has to do with a series of financial dealings and terrorist attacks that threaten to destroy the world's economy and cause a second Great Depression.  Jack Ryan is recruited by the CIA as a shadow recruit who discovers the plot in his day job on Wall Street.  He then travels to Moscow to figure out what's going on, and that's when the movie starts hopping.  Ryan, at this point not a field agent, has his first run in with action and it shakes him up.  Pine is quite believable as a fish out of water, and the scenes with Kevin Costner, his mentor, are well played.  However, Ryan is quickly put into action and the movie quickly goes from tense and enjoyable to typical.  Ryan soon becomes the only one who can figure out what is actually happening, and he discovers where a terrorist attack is to take place.  He ends up in the center of the action, and again is the only one to figure everything out, including where the terrorists are, and he single-handedly keeps the plot from succeeding.  Jack Ryan is more like James Bond.

I give the movie 2 and a half stars out of four.  It was enjoyable enough, but way too predictable as it went along.  Chris Pine is pretty good, Costner is good, and Knightley is good.  But they're only good, not great.  The Bricktown Harkins Theater was pretty nice, and is in a great location.  Bricktown is full of great restaurants and things to do, and if you're in Oklahoma City, it's a great area to explore.

Have a great evening, everyone.

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