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"JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT" from Paramount opens Fri., Jan. 17, 2014.

STARRING: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh and Colm Feore.

DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh ("Thor").

SYNOPSIS: This film is not adapted from any single Tom Clancy novel. It essentially exists as an original story following Jack Ryan (from films like "Patriot Games", "The Hunt for Red October" and "The Sum of All Fears") before he joined the CIA. Ryan uncovers evidence of an imminent terrorist attack. He is promoted to field agent and sent to Moscow to continue his investigation.

Chris Pine joins the list of fine actors to play Jack Ryan which includes Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck and Harrison Ford. Ford's portrayal has been the best so far ("Clear and Present Danger", "Patriot Games") but Baldwin and Affleck both turned in fine performances. Pine (Captain James T. Kirk from "Star Trek" and "Into Darkness") could well become the second best Jack Ryan. He possesses many of the same qualities as Ford plus he gets to work with a fine actor and storyteller in Kenneth Branagh.

Pine is also blessed to work with Kevin Costner, one of America's finest and most versatile actors. Costner takes pride in making films that make people think but still have fun watching. The sole exception to that logic would be "JFK". It did make people think but was certainly devoid of fun.

Keira Knightley won her role over the likes of Evangeline Lilly, Felicity Jones, Kate Beckinsdale and Jessica Biel. The latter two declined leaving Knightley to try to do a better job than her lackluster performance in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides". Minnesota born Biel might have been a more interesting love interest but she was probably busy watching herself in the unnecessary remake of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". She did look good in that white T-shirt despite wearing the thickest bra in cinematic history.

This film was supposed to have been released on Dec. 25 last year but was moved to this weekend to make way for "The Wolf of Wall Street". That one did great at the box office despite being another DeCaprio clunker. This one should do much better just because it is much better.


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