Tuesday, 4 February 2014



The Sum Of All Ryans.

105 Minutes. Starring: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley & Kenneth Branagh. Director: Kenneth Branagh.

The hunt for the new Jack Ryan takes us boldly to where Captain Kirk has been before. After Alec Baldwin's 'The Hunt For The Red October' and Ben Affleck's 'The Sum Of All Fears' book-ended Harrison Ford's two terrific thrillers ('Patriot Games' and 'Clear and Present Danger') decades later a new agent is required in this Bond like all-star, A-list carousel of leading men. After Baldwin's brilliant beginnings and the fantastic Mr. Ford's third franchise powerhouse after 'Star Wars' and 'Indiana Jones', Affleck took power with Morgan Freeman's James Earl Jones by his side (yep that's right Han Solo and Vader united to fight the dark side back in the day). Those who wanted to show Ben some Batman like hate need to see just how good he actually was and will be as the crime fighter Bruce Wayne too. Still, in the age of reboots a new Jack is needed and who better then the man who captains the U.S.S Enterprise of the rebooted, formidable 'Star Trek' franchise? Right now Chris Pine's star power is 'Unstoppable' and he's even had some previous hilarious spy experience alongside Tom Hardy. 'This Means War'.

Still you can't say the name Jack Ryan without the name Tom Clancy. We lost a wonderful writer last year in the late legend who is known somewhat to this generation as a 'Splinter Cell' video game writer. Still, its his epic Jack Ryan series of law-book sized stories that see his Ryan go from the movie-world to even the Oval Office, becoming President in the before its time 'Executive Decision' (a nice nod in this film to that too). The latest 'Command Authority' is still on the bestsellers list too in the wake of Clancy's passing. The man has created quite a character and James Bond/Jason Bourne like series of books that should see Pine and others play these out in even more movies and decades to come. That's just the Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum effect Tom has had with his body of work and the lasting legacy he leaves behind for the future. This is for him and Chris Pine and his new team pay perfect tribute with all due respect in an old-school, meat and potatoes 90's style thriller that has nods to both the latest revamped 'Bourne' film and the very first, truest spy saga in the Tom Cruise 'Mission Impossible' series. From Manhatten, New York to Russia's Kremlin this is worlds apart.

Pine is perfect as Ryan, with that Kirk charisma and Spock like integrity he's learned a lot from his time at the helm of out of space. Now in a whole other world entirely of espionage and phases of power, the latest DiCaprio, Pitt, Gosling, ladies man turned top leading man steps his game up even more and gives himself a second go to franchise like those Downey Jnr types and Harrison Ford before him. It's only going to get better for one of Hollywood's hottest properties, although he needs to work on his famous punch face. With the 'Untouchable' legend Kevin Costner providing the perfect Ford era mentoring as 'The Guardian' too when Pine is out his depths, from the park bench to the sniper scope you know this film is in perfect, legendary hands. Plus with his 'Draft Day' and a further '3 Days To Kill' (even if this film looks more unsettling then when he distilled and drank his own piss in 'Waterworld') this just might be the great Costner's year that puts him back on the radar. Add some a great support team and Keira Knightly standing by Pine's Ryan's side with more convincing acting and an American accent, we have a set up here that could take us through and past the modern-days usual standard trilogy set. With a box set ready future that could go next to the volumes on the book shelf our writer would and will be proud.

Clancy always knew that there was a lot going on in this world in a political and powerful way you could see it over the years and the films that predicated that. Now a new non-Clancy story inspired by his classic character, 'Jack Ryan-Shadow Recruit' illuminates those themes today taking corruption, terrorism and the recession to tough task in a paranoia induced thriller that's as real as it gets. That's why with a few bullets and a lot more tense talking shots this film can be exciting to great effect even without using much C.G. It's refreshing in this digital, blow everything up Bay age that we have an action film that's as gripping ad it's contemporaries while still feeling like a genre hallmark classic. It's all directed perfectly too by theatrical legend Kenneth Branagh who also plays himself perfectly as this films Russian villain with Bond like boldness. The man who gave the first terrific 'Thor' film it's shocking and surprisingly sensational thunderbolt to the Marvel Avenger franchise strikes twice here with this amazing agent that's a sleeper hit for Hollywood. A slow burner with a fast-paced fiery climax this hands on film has struggling combat fights realer than Bourne and levels of threat that would put 007's greatest adversary to shame. Sure the Jack of all spy trades may always come after James and Jason but right now Ryan is back and saving the world again when we don't even know it. Doing it by the book too what greater way to service and honour Tom Clancy in this clear and present day. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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