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Blu-ray Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Since The Hunt for Red October there have been 4 more adaptations of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character, and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit falls with the latter of these adaptations alongside Sum of all Fears. The aspects of a Jack Ryan movie are intensity, witty storytelling, captivating action, and non-predictability almost like an excellent Bond movie. Unfortunately Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit barely meets that mark. Then again after the first Thor movie we all learned Kenneth Branagh shouldn’t do action films, although he didn’t.

Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) is an excellent choice for the role, but that’s where the excellence unfortunately stops. He gets assigned on a mission from his commanding officer, William Harper (Kevin Costner) to stop a terrorist plot devised by a Russian terrorist Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh). As if that weren’t enough stress on his plate already though, Jack doesn’t think he is capable of competing this mission safely or with his life in tack. However, where things really turn for the worst is when Jack’s fiancée Cathy Muller (Kiera Knightly) insists on going with Jack overseas. Isn’t the first rule of being a spy never put your loved ones in a dangerous situation? Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit suffers problems not from its talented cast but from the very evasive and mediocre script laid upon the actors and actresses brave enough to attempt this mission.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a barely acceptable entry into the franchise of Jack Ryan movies. It is not as spectacular as the first three entries into the Jack Ryan franchise, but then again Chris Pine is not expected to be as talented as Harrison Ford or Alec Baldwin/Sean Connery. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit leaves you in the shadows as you question whether or not you missed anything as you slowly dozed off watching this pace maker of a comedy.

Deleted & Extended Scenes

The deleted/extended scenes are only worth watching if you watch it with the small commentary track alongside it. They do not add much to the substance of the movie, but it also does not include anything that was really missing. However the commentary is slightly amusing and adds a little extra enticement to watching the deleted/extended scenes.

Jack Ryan: The Smartest Man in the Room

This feature just analyzes the character of Jack Ryan himself through his adventures of Tom Clancy and his films. It is an interesting feature on the Blu-ray that offers some knowledge that would only be known to someone deeply invested into the character.


Despite my dislike of the movie and Kenneth Branagh directing action movies, his commentary is more than exceptional. This is most definitely a feature worth watching if you are looking for a deep engaging commentary. It is certainly stronger than commentaries I’ve seen on other Blu-ray/dvd releases. It however does not make the movie any more tolerable though, unfortunately.