Chasing shadows

Chris Pine is the new Jack Ryan and the film pays tribute to author Tom Clancy who created the character

Chasing shadows
A new Jack Ryan’s coming to town. Chris Pine stars as the titular character in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, following in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October, 1990), Harrison Ford (Patriot Games, 1992; Clear and Present Danger, 1994) and Ben Affleck (The Sum of all Fears, 2002). Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the man who helmed Thor, the fifth film in the series stars Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner and Branagh in leading roles. And though Shadow Recruit is based on the immensely popular Jack Ryan character created by American author Tom Clancy, it is not an adaptation of any particular novel. The global action-adventure thriller, written by Adam Cozad and David Koepp, is based on an original story conceived by screenwriter Hossein Amini.

A global action-thriller, Shadow Recruit can best be defined as the CIA analyst’s origin story. We kick off things with a young Jack (Pine) as he uncovers nothing less than a financial terrorism plot. The plot progresses from 9/11, through his Afghanistan stint, and early days in the CIA’s financial intelligence unit where he becomes an analyst, under the mentorship of his handler, Harper (a suitably grizzled Costner). Ryan soon figures out that he’s uncovered a Russian plot that aims at crippling the US economy and must go from analyst to spy in the breath of a moment. As he traverses the I-spy learning curve and fights to save his life (and that of many others), Ryan must also figure out how to safeguard the one thing that he values most in the world — his relationship with his fiancée, Cathy (Knightley). Will Jack Ryan, the man who can apparently do it all, actually be able to do it all? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind!

A franchise revival has been on the cards for long, but things didn’t seem to be working in Jack Ryan’s favour. Action began when Branagh was signed on and found the script “unputdownable.” The director, who signed on to play the dramatic Russian villain, has revealed that Shadow Recruit is the “kind of the film that I go to see”. Pine, best known for his James T Kirk act in Star Trek Into Darkness, believes that his Jack Ryan loves trouble. He may face comparisons to the earlier

CIA analyst acts, but “on paper, he’s a boring desk jockey”. “He would rather be solving Sudoku somewhere and then he finds himself in this thing…He’ll do anything for a good time,” Pine has said.

Shadow Recruit will be dedicated to Clancy, who died in October this year, but will this new version do his novels proud? Branagh’s old-school-style espionage drama seems to be a mix of all things spy and sly — Jason Bourne, Ethan Hawke (Mission Impossible) and the recent Jack Reacher. Will it be gripping enough to draw audiences to the theatres?

And will people really queue up to watch Pine play a lean-and-mean killing machine? The jury’s still out!

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