I have no idea why Paramount didn’t want reviews of “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.”
Purposely holding local press screenings after print deadlines usually sets off hot-mess alarm bells and is almost always a sure sign of a troubled production.
But the reboot of the Tom Clancy character — with Chris Pine taking over from Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck — makes for an hour and 45 minutes of solid, reasonably intelligent escapism.
And it’s WAY better than “Ride Along.”
Here are eight more things “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” has going for it:
1) It kicks off The Year of Kevin Costner. After having fallen off the radar for a few years before resurfacing as Pa Kent in last summer’s “Man of Steel,” Costner has two other high-profile movies, “Three Days to Kill” and “Draft Day,” due in the next three months.
2) Likewise, Kenneth Branagh, who also directed “Shadow Recruit,” makes a welcome return in front of the cameras.
3) Costner, Branagh, and Russians for bad guys? For an entire generation of moviegoers, “Shadow Recruit” will be like revisiting their childhoods.
4) It establishes Ryan’s badass street cred. A student at the London School of Economics on Sept. 11, 2001, he’s next seen in 2003 as a Marine having foregone a desk job in favor of extremely dangerous duty in Afghanistan. After the helicopter he’s riding in is shot down, he pulls two fellow Marines from the wreckage despite having broken his back.
5) This Ryan clearly has taste. For a clandestine meeting with his CIA handler, Ryan chooses a screening of the 1948 film noir “Sorry, Wrong Number.”
6) Chris Pine’s dreamy blue eyes. If you’re into that sort of thing.
7) The fact that Costner’s character gets to joke about Pine’s “Boy Scout-on-a-field-trip look.”
8) Keira Knightley. Even though she’s saddled with a bland Yank accent that robs her of most of her charm, she’s still adorable. But who thought it was a good idea to have her play the physical therapist helping Ryan regain his mobility? If there’s anything that will rob a man of his desire to walk, it’s the fact that doing so would mean less time with Keira Knightley.