WITH the standard bearers being cinema heavyweights such as the rejuvenated James Bond franchise and the Bourne series, a new look Jack Ryan film could have struggled to keep pace in the modern cinematic era.
Taking the role made famous by the likes of Alec Bladwin and Harrison Ford (let’s not talk about Ben Affleck and Sum of all Fears) is Chris Pine.
Fresh off the back of his excellent portrayal of Captain Kirk in the Star Trek reboot, Pine had decided to take on another top headline role as Jack Ryan.
And it is a pleasure to say that he slips into the role perfectly.
His swagger and arrogance that helped him fill the boots of William Shatner in Star Trek also shows here as he makes the believable transition from army man to student to international spy.
He is ably supported by his Kevin Costner, head of a super secret CIA unit and Ryan’s boss.
He adds weight and likeability to a role that could easily have fallen by the wayside.
Kenneth Branagh pulls double duty as he not only directs the move but also pulls out all the stops as its big bad.
He plays an excellent Russian and he comes across as ruthless and ever so slightly mad - the perfect villain for this type of film.
My only disappointment in terms of casting is Keira Knightley.
She is not an actress that I am that fond of and this film did little to dispel the misgivings I have about her.
She has very little chemistry with Pine, is not believable as a doctor and, in time of jeopardy, you do not care whether she lives or dies.
Her American actress is patchy at best and, for me, just really did not suit the role.
However, the rest of the cast perform so well that it takes the edge of this piece of miscasting.
The story follows Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, as he uncovers a Russian plot to crash the US economy with a terrorist attack.
The story sways away from the recent form of spy movies of focusing on the fallout of September 11 and, despite a brief mention, instead looks toward an old enemy, that of old mother Russia.
Parts of the film takes place in Moscow, which is a stunning city and one that is not featured enough in feature films.
This film has more of a cold war feel.
The early parts of the movie make you feel quite claustrophobic, like Ryan is always been watched and is never safe.
The move then switches up a gear for a tense sequence where Ryan has to infiltrate a heavily guarded building and then moves towards an all action finale.
The film is not perfect and does not really rock the boat in terms of the spy genre but it is an enjoyable, well made film that I did really like watching and would do so again.
Chris Pine is the standout star and, yet again, shows how he is an actor on the up and up.
This film shows that he can do serious scenes, action and is also quite adept at comedy moments.
Special praise should also be reserved for Kenneth Branagh, who plays a great baddie and also is a top director.
All in all, this is a great spy movie which will keep you gripped from start to finish.
Let’s hope it is a success at the box office and, therefore, see a lot more of Chris Pine as Jack Ryan.