While I know that it’s very hard to be an actress over forty, or even an actress under forty, I think that we should all take a moment to salute the most fragile species of all: the American male action hero.
I’m talking about the guys like Tom Cruise, Matt Damon and George Clooney. If you watch any entertainment TV news shows, you know that in real life these guys are rich and funny and pampered, but in their action flicks, they must convince us that they’re highly-trained killing machines, who are capable of slaughtering battalions of men in ski masks, disarming nuclear devices, running very fast down corridors, driving very fast in cars they’ve just hot-wired, and sometimes wearing a tuxedo and saving the world, usually within a 24-hour time frame. Plus, they have to do all of these things while delivering lines like “Good to go”, “Roger that” and “I’ve downloaded the coordinates for the possible target perimeter”, without sounding silly.
The new action hero in town is Chris Pine, who’s playing the title role in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and maybe his greatest acheivment lies in not embarassing himself while appearing in a movie called Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. The movie is the latest reboot in the Jack Ryan series, which is based on the many bestselling Tom Clancy thrillers, so the target audience isn’t pimply teenage boys, but paunchy white guys on airplanes.
Chris does just fine. He’s handsome, with bright blue eyes, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously, especially when he’s drowning a bad guy in his hotel suite bathroom. Keira Knightly plays Chris’s girlfriend, and while she’s not all that persuasive as either an American or a doctor, she’s goofy, which helps.The movie was directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also plays the main villain, who’s some kind of soulless Soviet zillionaire. Kenneth looks like the jolly logo for a fast-food chain called Burger Billy’s or Uncle Jack’s Steak-O-Rama, and I think that he’s had his lips either surgically removed or sanded off. After he’s finally vanquished, he also gives himself a nice long Hollywood close-up.
I didn’t really follow the plot of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit too closely, but this wasn’t important. The good guys kept racing around, trying to figure out where the terrorists would strike, and everybody acted surprised when the terrorists chose downtown Manhattan. Watching this movie was like spending a Sunday afternoon with my Dad, and listening to him compare the different James Bonds.Which is not a bad way to spend a January Sunday, if you ask me.