I like it when we see Kenneth Branagh named as director for an action movie.  I like it even more when he gets to play the bad guy, all dead eyes, false smiles and charm.   Game on then.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a solid action thriller starring Chris Pine in the title role.  Ryan is an ex-soldier with a PhD in economics, who is recruited as a mole on Wall Street to look for financial indicators of terrorist activity.  As things go horribly wrong, the espionage begins.

The Pine Nuts are going to go crazy for this film.  Chris Pine plays Jack Ryan as tough, bright, sensitive, romantic and looking great in a suit, and there is no doubt that Branagh gets the best out of him.  It is a well-rounded performance, highlighting Ryan the man as well as Ryan the hero.  As an example, Pine’s portrayal of his character being afraid is actually very refreshing. In films of this nature the characters are confronted by conflict and take it in their stride.  As film viewers we don’t question this, but the fear in Pine’s eyes as he steps away from being an ordinary financial analyst further into danger makes this far more real.

Away from Pine, Kevin Costner is great as a boss in the CIA and it is very good to see him back on screen.  Branagh’s Russian villain is just fabulous.  Mr Mendes, please note; he would make a fantastic Bond baddy.  The only thing that grates about this film is Keira Knightley in the role as Ryan’s love interest.  It’s just not quite right, particularly when Knightley’s accent drops out.  There’s something a bit old fashioned about the female lead being a bit flimsy.  It takes a little of the shine off what is otherwise a very enjoyable movie.