Paramount Pictures reboots the Jack Ryan franchise after a 12 year hiatus by degrading Tom Clancy’s quasi-serious/realistic geo-political thrillers into another MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. Even putting M.I. scripter David Koepp on the thing. (And just when they finally turned out a dandy M.I. pic, GHOST PROTOCOL/’11, sans Koepp.) It’s a ludicrous thing, opening with a tri-part Young Jack prologue before making him a covert SHADOW ACCOUNTANT on Wall Street. Sent to Moscow to stop a dastardly plot to disembowel the U.S. economy (as if our own banks weren’t perfectly capable of doing it themselves), he squares off against Moscow money mogul Kenneth Branagh, continuing his Laurence Olivier act (now from MARATHON MAN/’76). Branagh also megs, tossing & turning his way around the action scenes to less effect than he did on THOR/’11. Elsewhere, Keira Knightley follows her guy (to Moscow?), largely to put someone in danger, but at least looks well with an extra five pounds on her. More than can be said for our hero, Chris Pine, whose face closes up the more you light it. The only real suspense to the thing is imagining Paramount honcho Brad Grey going over the film’s breakeven grosses and trying to decide if he should opt into a sequel. Don’t do it, Brad!
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: And, speaking of Brads . . . go for the Brad Bird directed M.I. GHOST PROTOCOL. A real surprise, that, and Bird’s not coming back to do the next.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Look for an uncredited Mikhail Baryshnikov in a nice bit as Branagh’s Deep-Cover Russian boss.