(director: Kenneth Branagh; screenwriters: based on characters created by Tom Clancy/Anthony Peckham/Adam Cozad/David Koepp; cinematographer: Haris Zambarloukos; editor: Martin Walsh; music: Patrick Doyle; cast: Chris Pine (Jack Ryan), Kevin Costner(Thomas Harper), Keira Knightly (Cathy Muller), Kenneth Branagh (Viktor Cherevin), Peter Andersson (Dimitri Lemkov), Mikhail Baryshnikov (Russian Financial Minister); Runtime: 105 ; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: David Barron/Lorenzo di Bonaventura/Mace Neufeld/Mark Vahradian ; Paramount; 2014)

A familiar espionage tale.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A familiar espionage tale over stopping Russia from world domination. It’s centered on CIA agent Jack Ryan (Chris Pine), and is directed robotically by the British actor Kenneth Branagh (“Thor”/”Cinderella”). It’s based on Tom Clancy characters, but is not taken from a Clancy novel. The flat screenplay is written by Anthony Peckham, Adam Cozad and David Koepp.

It tells how Jack was recruited into the CIA when he was a young wounded Marine. The patriotic young American, Jack Ryan, is a student at the London School of Economics on 9/11. After the attack, he enlists in the Marines, where he’s wounded in the leg from a rocket blast in Afghanistan. At Walter Reed, while recuperating, he falls for the pretty med student in charge of his PT, Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley). He also draws the attention of Naval Cmdr. William Harper (Kevin Costner), who recruits him into the CIA and sends him back to get his economics degree. He then gets him a job as a systems analyst on Wall Street, where he secretly reports to the CIA. When Ryan suspects his firm’s financial dealings with the Russians are not on the level, he’s dispatched to Russia for an audit. The evil Russian industrialist oligarch Viktor Cheverin (Kenneth Branagh), a twisted Russian patriot, and his government minister boss (Mikhail Baryshnikov), concoct an incredible and unbelievable scheme to launch another terrorist attack and crash the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, Cathy decides to surprise the secretive Jack by joining him at his Moscow hotel, unwittingly placing herself right in the middle of danger. From here on it’s all James Bond type of action.

The predictable and clichéd plot leave director Branagh little chance to make a better film. However, fans of action films should be pleased with the way the action heroics were handled. Otherwise, it’s a disposable film aimed strictly for the mall crowds.

REVIEWED ON 2/25/2018 GRADE: C+   https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/