A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The positive message is that if you want to serve your country, there's more than just joining the military as an option -- but other ways of serving the country can be just as dangerous. Jack and Cathy's relationship proves that a couple can overcome even the most serious of obstacles to stay together.
Positive Role Models
Jack is a fiercely smart and patriotic man who leaves his Ph.D program to enlist in the marines after 9/11. He then takes it upon himself to write several papers examining issues of interest to intelligence and later agrees to join the CIA to be an analyst and then operational agent. Cathy could have left Jack when she realized he'd been lying to her, but instead she puts herself in a difficult situation to help him with his mission.
Violence & Scariness
Moderate body count: people are shot, stabbed, strangled, and drowned to death. Most of the dead are executed with a clean shot, others are killed in a more gruesome, intimate manner, like when Jack drowns a man in just a few inches of shower. A helicopter is shot down, but Jack, while injured, survives and keeps his two subordinates alive as well. Two men struggle in a moving van to kill each other and stop something terrible from happening. One plunges to his death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few scenes of Jack and Cathy kissing and one of them talking and cuddling in bed (only bare shoulders are visible). Mentions of Cherevin's "weakness" for women.
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Two uses of "f--k" or "f--king," as well as "bitch," "s--t," "Jesus H. Christ," "damn," and threatening language.
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Products & Purchases
Mostly technology and cars: Nokia phone, Range Rover, Mercedes, BMW, New York City's all-news channel NY1. The movies Sorry, Wrong Number and Rosemary's Baby are also shown briefly or referenced.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink wine and vodka at dinner. Jack acts drunk, but he isn't.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is based on Tom Clancy's famous CIA agent protagonist, and includes a good bit of violence, from fast and clean shots (execution or sniper style) to more close-up drownings and stabbings and fights to the death or on moving vehicles. There's a little bit of romance -- mostly kissing and embracing in bed -- but mostly this is your typical violent (but not overly graphic) political thriller. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Pine, a likable and charming actor, has clearly taken a cue from not just the previous actors who've played Jack Ryan, but also the undisputed king of spy films, Tom Cruise. Like Cruise, who has built his career on playing conflicted heroes, Pine knows how to play a range of earnest, determined, deadly, and full of confident swagger. You can't help but root for him, especially as the supporting actors -- Costner and Knightley in particular -- make this such an easy-to-watch political thriller. Is it as smart as Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy? No. Is it as deeply personal as Patriot Games? Not quite.
But Branagh is clearly having fun rebooting the legend of agent Jack Ryan, and he gave himself the most entertaining role as a Russian mobster/financier (apparently one is the other). Those old enough to recognize him will thrill at the fact that none other than Mikhail Baryshnikov plays a Russian minister with sinister motives. And Costner, who's approaching 60, seems to have accepted his role as the elder statesman quite adeptly. This isn't the best spy flick ever, but it's worth seeing for what it is -- a decent genre thriller with an engaging cast.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.