We live in the age of remakes and reboots. Most of the time I’m unhappy about hearing remakes or reboots get the green light but when I heard it was happening for Jack Ryan I was pretty excited. I’m a big fan of the Tom Clancy novels and even bigger fan of the Harrison Ford movies. Even Ben Affleck’s attempt called “The Sum of All Fears” was pretty good. Even though that film ruined Clancy’s story by changing the villains from Arab terrorists to Neo Nazi’s which made no sense what so ever. This reboot starts everything over. We see Jack Ryan(Chris Pine) while in school in England when the attacks on 9/11 happen. He takes his talents to the military but in one short scene we see that a helicopter he was riding in is shot down over Afghanistan. Next thing we know he’s in a military hospital, back broken, the doctors talk about his heroics saving the other passengers from the wreckage, but we never see any of this.
While recovering he meets a beautiful doctor(Keira Knightley) who helps him gain his strength. Knightley here does a very impressive American accent but her character is limited which was sad to see. Ryan from here gets picked up to be a covert CIA agent by a veteran agent(Kevin Costner). The problem this film has is it speeds through everything and frankly we’ve seen all of this before. The only bright light is when the villain is revealed. Kenneth Branagh plays a Russian millionaire who is trying to destroy America’s economy. Funny enough Branagh also directed the film. He’s scenes are hands down the best, he brings a darkness to the movie.
The action scenes, which there are not many of are very well filmed. The major problem for the film is that it just all feels very been there done that. The trailers for the movie hinted that Jack Ryan couldn’t trust anyone, none of this is actually in the film. At no point do we believe his mentor or wife could be a threat to him in any way. It’s rather clear that the only bad guy is Branagh. His characters plan is interesting but not very complex. So in the end the movie is just very generic. I was hoping for this film to lead into a franchise, for that to happen though the movie needed to take a chance and instead it kept its head down and stayed in the shadows.
Based on the book written by the only survivor of the failed mission on June 28th 2005 named Marcus Luttrell, we follow four SEAL team members as they stake out a village to make an identification of a top Taliban commander. While waiting on a hill side their communications go down and they are found by two boys and an old man who are herding goats. They have three options, let them go, which would mean over two hundred Taliban soldiers would chase up the hill after them. Or they leave them on the hill side tied up or straight up execute them. This scene is intense and wisely allows the four men to argue about it, this gives the audience time to rack the minds over what they would do. They of course release the three and very quickly find themselves under attack.
This is hands down the best war film in the last ten years. Only two other films in my opinion have down a good job at handling the War on Terror and that is “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hurt Locker”. This film gives us a small amount of time to get to know not only the four SEALS but other members of their team. All the actors here do their best work from Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch and Taylor Kitsch. All actors try and live up to the real life soldiers they are portraying.
When the battle starts the movie amps up the tension. Everything is gritty and feels very real. This was due I assume because Luttrell and other SEALS were consultants. Enemy soldiers dart in and out of sight. Gun fire rips through the trees but it’s hard to see where it comes from. The four SEALS are well trained and better fighters so they take down many approaching Taliban. The film never though feels forced, where other directors might over due how great the SEALS are Peter Berg keeps this very real. As the SEALS retreat they are shot up pretty badly.
To escape the SEALS dive over the side of a mountain and these scenes are brutal and on the edge of being hard to watch. As the battle settles the movie begins to loose it’s hard edge. Luttrell is the only survivor of the fire fight. He is rescued by local villagers. This did happen in real life but the way it is filmed seems fake. When the Taliban arrive looking for Luttrell the villagers try and fight them off. Berg makes several what I’ll call “Hollywood” choices when it comes to Luttrell being helped by a Afghan boy. The films tone changes from gritty war film to B-action movie so suddenly it took me out of it.
The story needed to be told on film, Berg was the perfect choice. The action is amazing and brutal. I do suggest that if you can please go read the book. The third arch of the film skips over a lot of details about Luttrell’s experience with the Afghan villagers. The film makes it seem like it happens over the span of an hour, when in real life it was several days. Still this movie should be checked out especially in theaters if you get a chance.
I took time off from blogging due to work/getting let down from movies. I will attempt to constantly review movies. Please send me your responses or reviews because my favorite part of all of this is talking about movies! Thank you guys.