Tom Clancy's hero Jack Ryan has been refitted for the post-9/11 era. Stepping into the role is Chris Pine (Star Trek). He's the fourth actor to become the CIA analyst following Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and future Batman Ben Affleck. And while the character is more than 30, this is only the fifth film in the series. Regardless of the new tech innovations (social media! laptops! smartphones!) director Kenneth Branagh (Thor) delivers an old-school cold war flick that wisely runs just under two hours.
Not quite Bourne, not at all Bond, Pine keeps Ryan relatable even if some of his action scenes make him a bit too John McClane circa Die Hard 4.
Here are five things to know about Chris Pine's moment as Jack Ryan:
1. Branagh Relishes Cold War Feel: As he did with Marvel's golden-haired hammer tossing superhero, Branagh as a director is not subtle. An early standoff between Ryan and an assassin is over-the-top in the best way imaginable. When we meet Branagh the actor as Viktor Cherevin he's a creepy, tattooed, pure heroine shooting Kremlin operative. Although nukes are not the threat this time, Cherevin's plan to destroy the U.S. economy is plotted out like a bomb that must not go off.
2. The Girl: Knightley's Kathy has been with Ryan for a decade although she refuses to marry him. A shame since that's the only way Ryan could tell her the truth about his Wall Street banker job. When she does find out, she handles it like Breaking Bad's Skyler White: all in.
3. Not an Analyst for Long: Early in the film Ryan volunteers to do a tour in Afghanistan even though it wasn't necessary for a job that puts him behind a desk. It is necessary, however, once Ryan makes with the killing and an extreme pursuit on a motorcycle. All Baldwin had to do in The Hunt for Red October was look good in a suit. The Bourne-inspired set pieces work even if we're not convinced author Clancy would have approved.
4. No Way Out for Costner: Pine makes for an excellent trainee to Costner's agent. As the veteran CIA officer, Costner also gets to be a couple's counselor of sorts. The former Bull Durham star still has plenty of sass in his glinty smile. Oh, and he travels to Russia with Pine since apparently, no one in the CIA is ever just a paper pusher.
5. Will the Series Continue? Will Pine? As a reboot, this is more enticing than The Bourne Legacy, but not a homerun like Daniel Craig's debut as 007 in Casino Royale. Here's hoping Paramount can find a way to make Ryan more than just an old-fashioned send-up in future installments.