Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

Film and Plot Synopsis

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” is a 2014 action thriller directed by Kenneth Branagh, based on characters created by Tom Clancy. The film serves as a reboot of the Jack Ryan film series and follows the early career of the titular character, Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst turned operative. Set in the post-9/11 era, the story navigates through themes of terrorism, espionage, and the moral complexities of intelligence work.

‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)The film begins with a young Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) witnessing the 9/11 attacks while studying economics and Russian at the London School of Economics. After graduation, Jack is inspired to join the United States Marine Corps. While serving in Afghanistan, Jack is seriously injured when he saves two of his fellow marines after their helicopter is shot down. With his spine seriously damaged, Jack is sent back to the United States where he meets Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley), a medical student who helps him recover from his injuries. Cathy and Jack begin a relationship during the recovery. Sometime later, Jack is approached by Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner), a veteran Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative, that recruits Jack to come work for the Agency as financial analyst. Jack is tasked with tracking suspicious financial transaction that may have connections to worldwide terrorist activity.

Ten years pass and Jack is working on Wall Street as a compliance officer while also covertly working for the CIA looking for potential terrorist transactions. Cathy, now a doctor, is his fiancée who knows nothing about his true occupation. Jack’s double life puts a strain on his relationship with Cathy as he struggles to balance his personal and professional obligations. Jack discovers that billions of dollars possessed by Russian business interests disappear after Russia loses a key vote before the United Nations which causes the financial markets to respond unexpectedly. Most of the money is connected to Russian oligarch Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh).

Jack uses the unusual transactions as a legitimate excuse to visit Moscow and investigate. However, after arriving in Russia, Jack is nearly killed by an assassin posing as his bodyguard. Jack contacts the CIA after surviving the attack and is shocked to learn that his backup in Moscow is Harper. Harper conducts a debrief of Jack at Staraya Square where Jack explains how Cherevin’s web of international investments make the United States vulnerable to complete financial collapse following a staged terrorist attack.

The following day, Jack attends a scheduled meeting at Cherevin’s office, but he is informed that he will not be allowed to conduct an audit since the company and all its assets have just been sold. At the same time, Jack is facing problems with his relationship with Cathy as she begins to suspect that he is having an affair and suddenly arrives unexpectedly in Moscow. Against protocol, Jack reveals his employment with the CIA. Harper decides to use Cathy’s sudden appearance to infiltrate Cherevin’s offices. Jack and Cathy attend a dinner with Cherevin at a restaurant across the street from Cherevin’s office building. Jack feigns intoxication and begins acting belligerent. Cathy suggests that he take a walk by himself to cool off and sober up. Jack uses a stolen access card to break into Cherevin’s office where he downloads files from the Russian businessman’s computer. Meanwhile, Cathy keeps Cherevin preoccupied at the restaurant. During their conversation, Cathy notices that Cherevin has symptoms of cirrhosis and asks him about it.

Across the street, Jack’s activity on Cherevin’s computer is detected and guards rush into his office to locate the intruder. However, Jack leaves before the guards get there.

Regret. It piles up around us like books we never read. Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh)

Cherevin’s employee, Katya (Elena Velikanova), alerts her boss to the potential security issue, and an enraged Cherevin forcibly takes Cathy out of the restaurant with the intent to take her back to the office. However, they encounter Jack on the street who apologizes for his drunken behavior and leaves with Cathy. A short time later, Cherevin has his men locate and invade a CIA base and kidnap Cathy. Jack learns of the abduction, follows the men, and ultimately frees Cathy.

Jack analyzes the stolen information and learns that Cherevin has been secretly propping up the struggling Chinese and Japanese state economies for years, which has the effect of leaving the United States economy vulnerable. Jack also learns that Cherevin has placed his son Aleksandr (Alec Utgoff) as a sleeper agent in the United States using a false death certificate. Jack concludes that Cherevin is going to use Aleksandr to execute a terrorist attack on Wall Street which will destabilize the U.S. economy.

Jack returns to New York City and helps the CIA locate a fake police response vehicle being driven by Aleksandr that contains a bomb. Unable to defuse the bomb, Jack hijacks the vehicle and crashes it into the East River just after he jumps out. The bomb detonates harmlessly in the river, killing Aleksandr. Overseas, Cherevin’s fellow conspirators kill the Russian businessman to conceal their involvement.

In the aftermath of the mission, Jack is hailed as a hero for his bravery and quick thinking. He reconciles with Cathy and the couple gets married. Jack continues his work as a CIA operative, ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead in the fight against terrorism. Jack and Harper are summoned to the White House to brief the President of the United States on their next move.

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Paramount Pictures released Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit on January 17, 2014. Kenneth Branagh directed the film starring Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, and Keira Knightley.

User Rating: 2.8 ( 2 votes)
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