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    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Review Roundup: What Do Critics Think of the Thriller-Drama?

    Chris Pine, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Larry Horricks/Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

    Jack Ryan, author Tom Clancy's beloved fictional character, is back on the big screen.

    The latest installment of the spy-movie franchise, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, hits theaters on Friday, Jan. 17, and stars Chris Pine in the titular role of the CIA analyst turned operative. The 33-year-old actor is following in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck who have all played this well-known part.

    Kevin Costner portrays Ryan's intelligence boss, while Keira Knightley is Ryan's suspicious fiancée. Director Kenneth Branagh also appears as a powerful Russian banker.

    This film adaptation is not based on a book by the acclaimed espionage writer, but the drama tells the story of Ryan uncovering a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack. But as the tagline dictates, our protagonist can "trust no one."

    Here's what the critics had to say about Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit:

    NEWS: Chris Pine reveals the advice he got from Alec Baldwin

    Kenneth Branagh, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Anatoliy Vorobev/Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

    "This isn't Carrie Mathison's CIA, but then Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit isn't Homeland. Director Kenneth Branagh serves up an oldfangled espionage yarn, Tom Clancy–style, in which the agency is not corrupt and clueless but noble and efficient, and the Russians—particularly the satanic banker Victor Cherevin (played by Branagh)—are back in fashion as the reliable bad guys. This time of year, that's a good thing."—Richard Corliss, Time

    "There isn't a bad performance in the picture; Knightley brings a steely but sympathetic edge to Cathy, embracing the new element of danger in her relationship with Ryan (to his chagrin), and Costner is especially fine as the rumpled, jaded agency mentor whose years of field experience come through when it counts. But Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit flattens out considerably upon its return to U.S. soil, running out of steam right around the point where Cherevin's dastardly plot to destroy America is finally revealed, and the beat-the-clock, save-the-day endgame feels disappointingly pro forma.—Justin Chang, Variety

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    Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Larry Horricks/Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

    "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."—Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

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    Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Larry Horricks/Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

    "I'm no fan of those who constantly decry that today's films are worse than those of yesterday, as such pundits are usually looking through nostalgia-tinged glasses. But a direct comparison of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and any of the four previous Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan films shows a dispiriting comedown in both quality and entertainment value. Given the relative safety of a known property, the filmmakers have opted to take no chances and offer little to enliven the proceedings or enrich the experience. If the film hits, it will surely spawn a franchise. The good news is that they have nowhere to go but up."—Scott Mendelson, Forbes

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