When THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER (1990) opened in March 1990, my husband and I got a baby-sitter for our toddler and saw the movie on its opening night. I very much enjoyed it, except for a lingering regret that Jack Ryan wasn't played by Kevin Costner, who'd originally been rumored to star in the role played by Alec Baldwin.
It took nearly a quarter century, but I finally got my Kevin Costner-Tom Clancy movie! Of course, by now Costner's aged out of the Ryan role, but he has a terrific part as Ryan's mentor, Thomas Harper, with nearly as much screen time as Chris Pine, who plays Ryan. Immediately afterwards I described the movie as "Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, and all the toys!" Plus throw in a Shakespearean director-costar. This was a formula which worked for me, and I had a grand time.
In this post-9/11 "reboot" of the Ryan series, Pine takes us briefly through Ryan's background as a grad student in London and his Marine Corps service, followed by a new job as a CIA analyst working on Wall Street. Along the way he also picks up a serious girlfriend, Cathy (Keira Knightley), a medical student he meets while undergoing rehab for a wartime injury.
Film Forum.) Ryan's Wall Street boss conveniently sends him to Moscow to audit the Russian company's records, and within minutes of his arrival an attempt is made on Ryan's life.
For someone looking for an entertaining action film with appealing characters, this is your movie. I understand the initial box office returns have been disappointing, which is a shame; perhaps this is an action movie for viewers of a certain age, but I really appreciated watching characters I liked in a solid, well-told, and interesting story which wasn't over-the-top violent.
As Kyle Smith writes at the New York Post, it's smart, fast, and entertains. I'd love to see this film be the start of a new series.
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT was directed by actor Kenneth Branagh and shot by Haris Zambarloukos.
Parental Advisory: This film is rated PG-13 for violence -- which I found fairly restrained by modern standards -- and brief bad language. Compared to some films I've seen, this is a pretty mild PG-13.
One early trailer is here, and another is at IMDb.
Recommended as the perfect popcorn movie to counteract the winter doldrums.