"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a classic popcorn movie with glimpses of brilliance"

Moved by the terror event of 9/11 the unassuming Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) decides to veer off his academic path to high finance to the nitty gritty of serving his country - only to find that his data crunching skills are the latest weapon of terror defence. Well, that and quite a few punches, kicks and car chases. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a classic popcorn movie with glimpses of brilliance much thanks to funny vodka drinking russian villains, credit to director and actor Kenneth Branagh.

This is the fifth film adaptation of Tom Clancy’s thriller hero, Jack Ryan, this time played by Chris Pine (Star Trek). It follows him from his financial training at LSE to serving as a marine in Afghanistan where he is injured. In rehabilitation he re-learns how to walk and stumbles upon the love of his life Cathy (Keira Knightley), and the CIA are soon at his heels because of his expertise in analysing global data. He is enrolled in a double life juggling normality as a wall street stock market man with secret meetings with the CIA at cinema matinees, reporting to agent Harper (Kevin Costner) and keeping his girlfriend shielded by a web of lies.

All hell breaks lose when he unearths a devious plot to crash the U.S. economy and erupt global chaos, hidden in secret financial transactions.

The trails lead to Russian oligarch Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) and Jack Ryan plunges head first into the action as he is flown over to Moscow to try to save the day.

The following car chases, ticking bombs and messy violence in impeccable suits performed by an unlikely hero doesn’t make this film anything we haven't seen before. The chemistry between frosty blue eyed data analyst and his perky girlfriend doesn't exactly help to build the tension in this run of the mill action cliché. The plot is achingly contemporary and tries to be clever but I feel that by trying to cover too much ground it ends up feeling quite incredible and shallow in most of the story developments.

The film's strength is in the villains' nest. The portrayals of the Russian characters are brilliantly amusing; the stone faces, the caveman style of violence and morbid monotone manner of speech. Lines such as: "You fell for those same weaknesses again... 'Vodka, vanity and women,’” is the kind of glimmer that made the audience laugh at this film. Kenneth Branagh does an excellent job both behind and in front of the camera.

We were never bored as Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit confronts some modern day fears of financial terrorism with old school CIA action methods, but overall the film didn't leave much of a mark either.