Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Stephen Whitty
    Jan 16, 2014
    83
    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit though, gets the international-espionage ingredients almost exactly right.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jan 14, 2014
    80
    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is half silliness, half swagger, but Branagh's arms-akimbo impudence as a director makes it work. He takes it all seriously, but with a wink.
  3. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Jan 17, 2014
    75
    The movie finds its feet, and unrolls as a pretty suspenseful, largely engaging, and hardly ever too-over-the-top spy thriller.
  4. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jan 16, 2014
    75
    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit provides the best motion picture adventure for the title character since his introduction in "The Hunt for Red October."
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Jan 16, 2014
    75
    Even with its thrifty set pieces and smaller ambitions, this attempt to reboot the series based on Tom Clancy characters does the most important thing right: It almost always feels like a Jack Ryan movie.
  6. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Jan 15, 2014
    75
    In keeping his actors on his sober-yet-buoyant plane, Kenneth Branagh presents a convincing romance that doesn't stall the film's brisk clip.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jan 15, 2014
    75
    Soundly structured, smart and fast, with a plausible central scenario, several gripping moments and well-wrought dialogue.
  8. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jan 18, 2014
    70
    Shadow Recruit is fun in a minor, winter-season way. If the producers stick with Chris Pine as he ages, they may end up with something worth caring about. [20 Jan.2014, p.78]
  9. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Jan 16, 2014
    70
    A reboot of an A-level spy series seems too pretty-good to be true. Shadow Recruit occupies this weekend’s movie screens as familiarly and reassuringly as a Walther PPK fits in the hand of James Bond.
  10. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jan 16, 2014
    70
    A competently made, moderately diverting variation on a genre standard.
  11. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jan 15, 2014
    70
    Crisp, efficient and appreciably modest in scale...this conspicuous attempt to breathe new life into a long-dormant action franchise gets at least a few things right, chiefly the shrewd casting of Chris Pine.
  12. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jan 15, 2014
    67
    Branagh did a nice job of directing "Thor," but all he can do here is try to energize the recycled pulp of the script.
  13. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 17, 2014
    63
    Too much of the action in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit takes place on laptops, thumb drives, and video monitors.
  14. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Jan 16, 2014
    63
    Slick, loud, assured, overplotted (way overplotted), fairly diverting, and pretty much empty.
  15. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jan 16, 2014
    63
    Though directed with great precision by Branagh, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is saddled with a boilerplate script.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jan 16, 2014
    63
    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has no personality of its own. It's a product constructed out of spare parts and assembled with computerized precision. It's hard to care when Jack turns operational and becomes a CIA robocop. The movie feels untouched by human hands.
  17. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Jan 16, 2014
    63
    Pine, who has been so good and so instrumental in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek series as Captain Kirk, turns out to be a decent Ryan.
  18. 63
    Branagh & Co. keep up appearances with a thriller that works mainly because all of its parts — locations, fights and plot twists — are well worn from all the thrillers they’ve been in before.
  19. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jan 15, 2014
    63
    The film is slow in getting started and once it's underway it's only intermittently involving. It's also occasionally far-fetched.
  20. Reviewed by: Neil Smith
    Jan 21, 2014
    60
    A solid outing for a re-Bourne hero that could, with a few key tweaks, generate another round of vehicles for the Clancy cash cow.
  21. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    Jan 20, 2014
    60
    In stripping Jack Ryan back to basics it’s lost some sophistication, but reinvigorated an action hero who’s unlike any other on offer and who absolutely earns his second — or rather fourth — shot.
  22. 60
    The movie itself isn’t dull. It’s moderately stylish, moderately suspenseful, fun in patches. It hits its marks. But the setup lacks urgency.
  23. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jan 16, 2014
    60
    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a well-made movie, well-acted (Costner and Branagh seem to be having an especially good time) and a pleasant diversion. They’ll probably make several more. But it doesn’t exactly put the “thrill” in action thriller.
  24. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jan 16, 2014
    60
    Branagh, taking advantage of his experience helming 2011’s “Thor,” shows an allegiance to the genre he’s working in; both as director as co-star, he pours on the menace.
  25. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jan 14, 2014
    60
    The plot’s a bit complex for what amounts to a lot of running around — the movie can’t help but evoke the Bourne series along with a high-gloss hint of Skyfall, not wholly unpleasantly.
  26. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jan 18, 2014
    50
    By my rough calculation, the real Jack Ryan should be approximately 103. Preposterous but moderately engaging, Jack Ryan has outlived his welcome, and there’s no end in sight.
  27. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jan 16, 2014
    50
    There is no shaking the feeling that Branagh and his cast are a kind of an espionage film B team, capable of mild diversion but nothing more.
  28. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jan 16, 2014
    50
    Branagh, who proved his action bona fides with “Thor,” does an inarguably competent job of choreographing a modestly intelligent espionage thriller, even if it’s impossible to identify anything new he’s bringing to an already groaning table.
  29. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    Jan 16, 2014
    50
    The movie eventually evokes the sense that Branagh is better at directing in front of the camera than from behind it; its best moments are typically the ones that feature Branagh’s Viktor Cherevin on-screen.
  30. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Jan 16, 2014
    50
    There’s promising raw material here, particularly in the early scenes. But the film’s second half seems determined to snuff out the promise of its first, making it hard to wish for this incarnation of the character, or any, to have more big-screen adventures.
  31. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 16, 2014
    50
    An average franchise re-launch.
  32. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jan 15, 2014
    50
    Efficient, if ultimately rote, political thriller.
  33. Reviewed by: Drew Taylor
    Jan 16, 2014
    42
    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit refashions the character (this time played by Chris Pine) into a man of immediate action, and in doing so drains him of anything that made him a relatable human being.
  34. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jan 16, 2014
    40
    This is moviemaking in a modular mode, an inspiration-free action adventure — with cheesy cinematography — that fills its modest running time by fitting together familiar elements into something reliably, even insistently, not new.
  35. Reviewed by: Adam Nayman
    Jan 16, 2014
    38
    The appeal of the Jack Ryan character, at least on the page, was that he was always the smartest guy in the room. In Shadow Recruit, that doesn’t seem to be much of an accomplishment, because the movie around him is so dumb.
  36. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Jan 22, 2014
    20
    Branagh might as well have opened a can and dumped it on a plate, the ridges of a factory-line production still perfectly hatched on a gelatinous cylinder of crud.
User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 162 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 55
  2. Negative: 8 out of 55
  1. Feb 9, 2014
    3
    I normally never get up and leave before the end of a movie, but I was so bored.... Kevin Costner reminds me of an old question, "What do you have to do to get fired in Hollywood?" The answer will come to you as your eyes glaze over and you start thinking about taking a nap. Full Review »
  2. Jan 19, 2014
    3
    Major disappointment. It lacked enough credibility to suspend belief, like the prior classic Jack Ryan films.

    The writing and plotting was
    lazy, insulting, and downright ridiculous, even for a middle-of-January summer popcorn movie. Lazy, because there was no interest in researching and integrating any details that add credence to the characters or plot. Insulting, because it didn't trust its audience to possess any intelligence or sophistication. And ridiculous, for the plot machinations that allowed Jack Ryan to do the things he did.

    I like Chris Pines, and he was allowed to show a bit of his natural charisma, but it wasn't nearly enough to save this film.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 17, 2014
    5
    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit updates its Cold War hero for the modern world, but doesn’t give him a story original enough to warrant further adventures or to distinguish him anymore from the rest of the action pack. Full Review »