Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit DVD Review

DVD Review by Jon E Clist
Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit

The Premise
Based on the Tom Clancey character Shadow Recruit shows Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst who uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.

The Review
Okay so I am not sure if it is his passion for or experience in working with great material such as Shakespeare, but Kenneth Branagh really is a master of building tension and thrill within films. Yes Branagh is back behind and in front of the camera here in the latest Jack Ryan outing. Not only does Branagh direct a great action thriller, but he also adds weight to the role of the arch-villain Viktor Cherevin. After having played British, German, Australian, and American characters in his career, this is the first time that Kenneth Branagh has played a Russian character. Here he is menacing with this great coolness that sits on the edge of explosion throughout the film; the best style of villain that you can have.

Of course this is another one of those series reboots as it takes you back to the moment that Ryan moves from being an analyst to a field agent for the CIA. The character of Jack Ryan comes from the pen of Tom Clancy. In fact this is Tom Clancy's last film as a writer before his death on October 1, 2013. It is kind of sad to think that there will be no more Jack Ryan books from Clancy, however it is good to see the franchise isn’t dead thanks to a brilliant script here from Adam Cozard and David Koepp. The original screenplay written by Adam Cozad was entitled "Dubai" and was intended to be an action film starring Eric Bana. Paramount later asked Cozad to rewrite his old script and to change the lead character to Jack Ryan.

Without giving too much away about the plot, this film is full to the brim with action and intense plot direction. You feel on the edge of your seat throughout it and of course there is a little something for everyone, with the addition of Kiera Knightly in the role of Ryan’s future wife. I think this is one of the aspects that I liked about the film, looking back and seeing how two of the characters in the other Jack Ryan films actually met. You kind of feel like you’re sneaking a peek behind the curtain.  I will say that in general I am not a big fan of Keira Knightly however here she does her job even if she drops out of her American Accent occasionally. Plus there is the added benefit of having the great cheese-meister Kevin Costner working in the background as Ryan’s handler.

The Verdict
Loved it completely and it gave me the same sort of thrill ride as the best of the Jason Bourne films. The full package for a good action thriller!

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 28th May 2014
Rating: M - Contains violence
Duration: 105 minutes 
Genre:  Thriller/Action
Starring: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley |and Kenneth Branagh
Director: Kenneth Branagh (Thor, As You Like It, Hamlet)
RRP: DVD $39.99 Blu-Ray $44.99

The Extras
Kevin Costner was actually the first actor offered the role of Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October (1990), which was the character's first film appearance, but turned it down to make Dances with Wolves (1990) instead.

First film in the franchise that isn't based on a specific novel in the Jack Ryan book series.


The original screenplay written by Adam Cozad was entitled "Dubai" and was intended to be an action film starring Eric Bana. Paramount later asked Cozad to rewrite his old script and to change the lead character to Jack Ryan.