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Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Review Critics


Dave White Profile

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Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 40

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    This is moviemaking in a modular mode, an inspiration-free action adventure — with cheesy cinematography — that fills its modest running time by fitting together familiar elements into something reliably, even insistently, not new.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Efficient, if ultimately rote, political thriller.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The film is slow in getting started and once it's underway it's only intermittently involving. It's also occasionally far-fetched.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    Though directed with great precision by Branagh, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is saddled with a boilerplate script.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Branagh did a nice job of directing "Thor," but all he can do here is try to energize the recycled pulp of the script.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Variety Justin Chang

    Crisp, efficient and appreciably modest in scale...this conspicuous attempt to breathe new life into a long-dormant action franchise gets at least a few things right, chiefly the shrewd casting of Chris Pine.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit provides the best motion picture adventure for the title character since his introduction in "The Hunt for Red October."

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Village Voice Stephanie Zacharek

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is half silliness, half swagger, but Branagh's arms-akimbo impudence as a director makes it work. He takes it all seriously, but with a wink.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 13 & under

Clancy-based political thriller has moderate violence.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is based on Tom Clancy's famous CIA agent protagonist, and includes a good bit of violence, from fast and clean shots (execution or sniper style) to more close-up drownings and stabbings and fights to the death or on moving vehicles. There's a little bit of romance -- mostly kissing and embracing in bed -- but mostly this is your typical violent (but not overly graphic) political thriller.

  • Families can talk about the popularity of rebooting and updating popular franchises. Why is the story of this particular CIA agent so compelling? Do you think the filmmakers did a good job of making him compelling to a new, younger audience?
  • What's your reaction to the violence in this movie? How does it compare to other thrillers -- is it more or less brutal? Do you think watching this kind of movie violence desensitizes teens and adults to brutality?
  • How does Chris Pine's version of Jack Ryan compare to the one played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck? Which actor/age do you prefer Jack Ryan the character?
  • Does the movie make you think more about current events and politics? Was it confusing why the Russians were the "enemies"? What do you know about the history of American-Russian relations.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The positive message is that if you want to serve your country, there's more than just joining the military as an option -- but other ways of serving the country can be just as dangerous. Jack and Cathy's relationship proves that a couple can overcome even the most serious of obstacles to stay together.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Jack is a fiercely smart and patriotic man who leaves his Ph.D program to enlist in the marines after 9/11. He then takes it upon himself to write several papers examining issues of interest to intelligence and later agrees to join the CIA to be an analyst and then operational agent. Cathy could have left Jack when she realized he'd been lying to her, but instead she puts herself in a difficult situation to help him with his mission.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Moderate body count: people are shot, stabbed, strangled, and drowned to death. Most of the dead are executed with a clean shot, others are killed in a more gruesome, intimate manner, like when Jack drowns a man in just a few inches of shower. A helicopter is shot down, but Jack, while injured, survives and keeps his two subordinates alive as well. Two men struggle in a moving van to kill each other and stop something terrible from happening. One plunges to his death.

  • sex false2

    Sex: A few scenes of Jack and Cathy kissing and one of them talking and cuddling in bed (only bare shoulders are visible). Mentions of Cherevin's "weakness" for women.

  • language false3

    Language: Two uses of "f--k" or "f--king," as well as "bitch," "s--t," "Jesus H. Christ," "damn," and threatening language.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Mostly technology and cars: Nokia phone, Range Rover, Mercedes, BMW, New York City's all-news channel NY1. The movies Sorry, Wrong Number and Rosemary's Baby are also shown briefly or referenced.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults drink wine and vodka at dinner. Jack acts drunk, but he isn't.