Jack Ryan vs Devil’s Due

Kenny D January 17, 2014 1
Jack Ryan vs Devil’s Due

It doesn’t really seem fair to have America’s most iconic CIA agent go against the spawn of satan. That baby doesn’t really stand much of a chance. Keep reading for the reviews of the Jack Ryan prequel-reboot-rebooquel and the found footage version of Rosemary’s Baby.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

shadow recruit, jack ryan reboot, tom clancy, sam fisher, spy moviesDoes anyone else think Shadow Recruit is just as vague a title as Ghost Protocol? Chris Pine is the 4th person to play Tom Clancy’s iconic CIA analyst; following the lead of skinny Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Benaffleck. Shadow Recruit is the 5th movie in the series, yet it reboots the franchise as we see how Jack Ryan got to his position in the CIA.

This version of Jack Ryan is nearly finished with his doctorate degree while in school at London in 2001, when the tragic events of 9/11 are displayed on TV. This prompts Jack to leave school and join the military. While he’s serving in Afghanistan, he is injured and must learn to walk again. In his time at physical therapy, he meets a CIA handler (Kevin Costner), who hires him to investigate Wall Street for the CIA. In time, he discovers a Russian plot to crumble America’s economy and he is called into action to Moscow to find out who is behind it.

This movie was delayed from the holiday season and I think it was the best possible move. January is the perfect time for this movie. This PG-13 espionage story would have disappeared in the indulgent Oscar month of December. January, on the other hand, is a cinematic graveyard where any half-decent movie should stand out. Shadow Recruit will (possibly) be very successful because, while it’s not quite as explosive as a typical summer movie, it starts the year off right.

Chris Pine is best known for his role as the charismatic, snarky James T. Kirk in the Star Trek movies. In those movies he carries an appropriate swagger. Thankfully, he tones it down for his role as the unassuming young Jack Ryan. If Shadow Recruit is successful, there is no question that he would continue in the role. He’s no Ford, or even Baldwin, but he’s far better than Affleck.

Keira Knightley plays Ryan’s long-time girlfriend, Cathy. Her American accent will throw you off at first, but it’s in no way a deal-breaker. I typically don’t complain about Knightley being cast in anything.

This movie belongs to Kenneth Branagh in more ways than one. First of all, he directs it. I’m happy to see him taking irregular directorial choices like this and the first Thor flick. In front of the camera, he plays the Russian villain, Viktor Cherevin, a wealthy Russian businessman with an incredible amount of power behind him. He doesn’t chew up the scenery. In fact, his villainous nature comes from how calm he is. Even when he is rattled, you only see it in his stare. He’s a great example of an understated non-Bond villain.

The major problem with this movie is the threat that Jack Ryan is trying to prevent is not fully explained. The devil is in the details. The audience is never quite brought in on what is actually happening. There’s a segment where Jack is flying back to the States to prevent a catastrophe and he is personally running a CTU-like operation with all too convenient explanations yelled back and forth to distract you from plotholes. It’s almost as if the Russian’s financial crisis threat is the MacGuffin. It never needs to be explained even though the climax is built around it.

Shadow Recruit is surprisingly action-lite, but that actually makes the movie feel more intelligent. Those who want the standard action movie, won’t be let down by the end.

While it may not replace Matt Damon’s Bourne movies as the go-to spy movie, it’s a far better replacement than the moronic Bourne Legacy. There’s no doubt in my mind that this movie will be on regular repeat as a cable movie. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is worth renting and is not a bad way to start off the year.

Devil’s Due

worst horror 2014, worst found footage, rosemary's baby remakeI’m not going to waste your time. This movie is garbage. These cheaply-made found footage flicks will never die. You’d think that after the atrocious The Devil Inside, I would’ve learned my lesson. However, I always want to give horror flicks the benefit of the doubt. Innocent until proven guilty.

Sadly, this modern take of Rosemary’s Baby is guilty….as sin.

This movie follows a couple from the day of their wedding and subsequent honeymoon. The husband insists that he record every moment of their lives because….memories? Doesn’t he realize that if you film home movies, you’re bound to be haunted by a demon? So, during the last night of their honeymoon, the couple are drugged. yada yada yada…she is pregnant with the antichrist.

The rest of the movie. A very long 90 minutes follows the couple as they go through the motions of having a baby. They prepare the baby’s room, have baby showers and fight over small issues. I’m not lying when I tell you that the majority of this movie could be used as a “Preparation for your First Baby” video. There are maybe four minutes of supernatural footage, but without that, it just seems like this expectant mother suffers from depression and nagging cravings. (see also: raw meat at the grocery store)

How is it that you can have a movie with cults, jump scares and the “end of days” and it’s still mind-numbingly boring? If I were watching this movie at home, I would have lost patience with the “story” about 10 minutes in and fast forwarded to the semi-intense ending.

There’s something to be said about the success of the Paranormal Activity series. Devil’s Due made me feel bad that I’ve ever said an ill word about that long-running series. Please skip this movie. Go watch the Demon Baby viral video instead. Is it possible to suffer from postpartum depression after spending money on a movie? Because I have the demon baby blues.

One Comment »

  1. Joel Featherstone January 17, 2014 at 7:19 pm -

    Benaffleck is a great scotch, especially the 17 year. Pronounced “benna-flic” has suttle earthy tones with hint of pear.
    I’m tired of the whiz-bang action. Jack Ryan at his best played a white collar CIA caught up in accidental action. He knew how to punch and occasionally shoot. Glad to know he’s not driving a motorcycle or car up and down European stairs.

Leave A Response »

You must be logged in to post a comment.