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6 Degrees Entertainment

Movie Reviews
'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit'
(Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, Peter Andersson, Kenneth Branagh, et al / NR / 105 mins)

Overview: To his friends and loved ones, young Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) appears to be an ordinary executive; however, he has secretly worked for the CIA for years. Ryan was originally brought in to crunch global data, but when he uncovers a carefully planned scheme to crash the U.S. economy and spark global chaos, he becomes the only man with the skills to stop it.

Verdict: Tom Clancy re-heats the Cold War from the grave in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, a streamlined reboot of a 1990s-rooted Paramount franchise in which the United States is saved from another 9/11-sized catastrophe altogether too easily. As the fourth actor to portray the title character in a five-film series thus far, Chris Pine adequately follows in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in what also amounts to an origins story about the character's trial by fire in the CIA. Commercial prospects look solid, if not spectacular, for this efficient, if ultimately rote, political thriller.

While it benefits from an attractive cast, the perennial allure of the spy game and the exoticism of the contemporary Moscow setting, the biggest problem afflicting this modest diversion is that it's the sort of film in which computers get to the bottom of every problem that comes up in about five seconds. It seems like half the running time consists of characters in cars, vans or planes, in their offices or hotels or just on their cell phones managing to download or send whatever secret information is in play with a click or two, and nevermind such cumbersome annoyances as passwords or user IDs. And no one ever needs to call a tech supervisor.

What actually is in play here is the value of the American dollar, which is what Russian oligarch Viktor Cheverin (Kenneth Branagh, directing himself onscreen for the first time since Hamlet) aims to collapse along with Lower Manhattan in a coordinated terrorist attack. With the Kremlin in cahoots with him as a silent partner, the plan is to bring the Yankees to their knees in a way the communists were never able to do.