Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Blu-Ray Review

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The Movie: 6/10
Check the brain at the door, and anything else that might alert you that some of the movie you are about watch has a few challenges to your common sense. If you do this you might just like Jack Ryan as much as I did. I’m not saying it was great or anything, and not even that I liked it a whole lot, because it’s not like that. It’s more about enjoying that brainless adventure and action with a very old-fashioned kind of story telling, and a very old-fashioned story.

A crack recruit is put to the test with all of his heroic tendencies and muscles to help bring down a plot by a Russian bad guy to destroy America. I know, I know it’s kind of creepy nowadays to use the Russian bad guy, but hey, they have to come from somewhere, right?  Jack has to use his clever mind to out wit, and his skills to out maneuver the villain. There is a woman and an older wiser agent who is guiding him through it all. There is NOTHING new here, so don’t hope for a new spin or twist or exciting modern way to tell this story, there isn’t.

The relationship is strained somewhat, she’s beautiful and then she’s threatened. You do the math. Our recruit is new but because of the very brief beginning of the movie we understand he’s brilliantly observant, very heroic, very good at overcoming pain, and is a sucker for a beautiful woman (see the first sentence in this paragraph for more on that). It sounds kind of boring, and to be honest if the whole movie wasn’t done so well visually and the action wasn’t as good as it is, boring might be a word I would describe it for sure. As it is I was entertained, a bit enthralled with the bad guy, and I let the loopholes just float on by.

My main hiccup through the whole movie was that I didn’t feel the threat of the bad guy at all. I realize he’s crazy, dangerous, and quite intense. We understand that when you smack and kick a doctor for giving you a shot that hurts, well, you are a jerk and a threat. His plot to take down America just didn’t feel that threatening to me. I get it, the economy collapse is a bad thing, but I never felt like he could pull it off, so that dampened the tension. I give it a slightly above average rating because it’s not bad, just unimportant and forgettable.

I don’t dislike Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, I just don’t have a place in my memory to store it for very long. In fact, as soon as I’m done typing this I will probably forget it…….what was I just writing about? I forgot already:)

Features: 7/10

  • Deleted & Extended Scenes – Are you home yet, Speeding through Moscow, Security, Prefer to walk, Tracking the van and an alternate ending are all included here.
  • Jack Ryan: The Smartest Guy In The Room – A look at what it takes to reinvent Jack Ryan for a modern-day audience.
  • Sir Kenneth Branagh: The Tsar Of Shadow Recruit – A short featurette focusing on Branagh’s choice to star and direct in the movie. You do get a lot of asskissy stuff from other members of the cast but about half way through Branagh takes over and you do get a little insight into the man.
  • Jack Ryan: A Thinking Man Of Action – A look at the films main set piece, it’s funny that they call it a thinking man of action when in the scene in the movie nothing could be further from the truth.
  • Old Enemies Return – Probably the best of the bunch here a 21 minute documentary on bringing the Russians back as the bad guy in the movie. You get some real insight into the Cold War and why we love a good Russian bad guy.
  • Commentary By Kenneth Branagh & Lorenzo Di Bonaventura – Director and producer walk you through what it takes to get a big movie like this made. If you thought the movie was lackluster this commentary almost makes up for it.
  • DVD & UV Digital Copy

Cover Art and Menus: 2/10
Boring cover, boring menus. I would not have that cover as a poster.

Audio & Video: 9/10
Paramount’s gorgeous 1080P AVC encoded transfer is much richer than this movie really deserves. Image quality is off the charts with inky black levels and a layer of fine grain that preserves the films non digital source. A special note must be made to the very accurate flesh tones and rich color palette, in the era of digital it’s nice to see a movie on good old fashioned celluloid.

Audio is also very impressive delivered by the DTS-HD Master audio 7.1 codec this is a track that will fill your room with action based mayhem. What is most impressive about the soundtrack here is how varied it is, from very soft whispers to loud gunshots and subtle effects like bullet casings hitting a wall during a shootout. This is a reference quality track that will impress anyone who listens.

Overall Score 6/10