Jack Ryan: The 'King of Reboots'?
Kenneth Branagh adds a weighty importance to an otherwise formulaic action-thriller.
The release this week of the latest adventure based on Tom Clancy's earnest spy Jack Ryan can hardly help but remind us of the character's previous incarnations. Before his untimely death in October 2013, Clancy wrote nine novels tracing Ryan's rise from Marine to CIA operative to US president.
Kevin Costner [L] and Chris Pine [R] in 'Jack Ryan'
Four of these books have been adapted into films: The Hunt for Red October (1990) starring Alex Baldwin as Ryan; Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994) starring Harrison Ford; and The Sum of All Fears (2002), an earlier reboot starring Ben Affleck. Now 12 years later we have a second reboot in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, based on the character - but not one of the books - and starring Chris Pine in the title role. The story goes right back to Ryan's pre-military days, setting the stage for what the studio clearly hopes to be a long franchise. Read our review of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Of course, Pine is no stranger to the reboot himself, as he is also the face of JJ Abrams two alternate-timeline Star Trek films, stepping into the shoes of another iconic fictional character, Captain James T Kirk. In Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Pine proved that he was adept at being the everyman leader of an ensemble. So now it's up to cinema audiences to decide if they want him as an everyman Bourne-style spy as well.