Photo: Courtesy of Paramount.
If you're looking for another James Bond or Jason Bourne, think again. In the words of Jack Ryan front man Chris Pine, you won't find fancy watches, fancier cars, or a bevy of beautiful women here. But, that's the charm of this franchise. And, it seems to be working, since this is the fourth big-screen iteration of Tom Clancy's addicting novels (you might be familiar with a little film called The Hunt For Red October).
This time around, the series swaps the Cold War for post-9/11 New York City, where Jack is working (relatively) quietly as a CIA analyst assigned to an undercover job on Wall Street. Oh, and he's dating Keira Knightley. (There has to be a wee bit of sexiness, right?)
While he's doing a routine check at the office, Jack uncovers a Russian plot to — wait for it — destroy America. Next thing you know he's on a plane to Moscow to hack into encrypted financial files and foil the Next Big Terror Attack. We know what you're thinking: CIA analysts, spies, foiling terror attacks? Been there, done that. If you wanted to watch people furiously tap on futuristic computers and control drones from a poorly disguised van, you'd just watch all those Homeland episodes on your DVR. Well, we're not going to say that Jack Ryan is that different, but it's certainly just as fun.
There are all kinds of things here for the adrenaline junkies — shootouts, chase scenes, international manhunts — but those of use who get hot and bothered by a nice guy who can do math will be especially pleased. Jack's a whiz with a calculator and a stock portfolio, and he uses good, old-fashioned brains to solve crimes. This particular spy hero is kind of like the average Joe spy hero, right down to his weapons — something that even Chris Pine himself can get behind.
"I like the hand-to-hand combat [of the movie] and I like the fact that Jack isn't a trained professional killer," said Pine at a recent press conference for the film. "He's trying to figure out how to defeat the large bad guy when he's not quite as big and ferocious."
The spy-next-door mentality even goes as far as his wardrobe. Pine might be a big-time action star, but his million-dollar smile is played down (for the most part) in favor of an almost dopey sense of duty and honesty. And, let's not forget, a decidedly un-CIA and un-Wall Street wardrobe.
"In the beginning we looked at all these Ralph Lauren suits, and they were sharp as a tack," said Pine. "But, the image I kept coming back to was...a tweed jacket and misshapen tie and a Volkswagen, and that to me was the character. He didn't care about suits or fancy watches, he had a $10 haircut, and that's the kind of guy he was."
In other words, he's the kind of guy we'd like to date. Down to earth and geeky yet secretly a big-time spy? Sign. Us. Up. On the surface, Jack Ryan is a blazingly fun action flick with all of that edge-of-your-seat blah blah blah. But, we're imploring you to see it for the hot-nerd lover in all of us. After all, it's fun to pretend that any old bro you meet at the neighborhood pub is harboring national security secrets. As Pine put it, "He's a simple man. You could pass him on the street and not look back, but he so happens to be the man that's saving the world."