In My Humble Opinion: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a ridiculous departure from the Jack Ryan character we’ve become familiar with. If you’re unfamiliar with the character Jack Ryan, he is a character featured in Tom Clancy’s novels as well as their big screen adaptations. If you haven’t seen the films surely you’ve at least heard of: The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears. Now since I haven’t read the novels I will be referring to the movies because those are what I’m what familiar with. Ryan is a CIA analyst (though I believe he’s retired in Patriot Games) who finds himself thrust into dangerous situations where he’s forced to operate outside of his comfort zone in order to save the day. He’s kind of an everyday man dealing with situations he’s not used to and is generally unprepared for. To me, that’s what always made him a little bit more relatable and realistic knowing he was in over his head; that was always the appeal of his character. This all led me to ask the question after seeing trailers for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, “Why?”
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit breaks formula and features Ryan as a CIA field agent who must travel to Moscow to prevent an imminent terrorist attack. If you’ve seen the trailers perhaps you agree that the premise looks more James Bond / Jason Bourne than Jack Ryan. It’s just too much of a departure in my opinion. I remember with all the other movies that preceded Shadow Recruit there was a running gag in which Ryan had to remind anyone and everyone around him that he was just an analyst. Alec Baldwin (my favorite Jack Ryan) put it best in The Hunt for Red October when he said, “I’m not field personal, I’m just an analyst. I’m not an agent, I just write books for the CIA.”
So back to my question of why? Why reboot a character that still has plenty of source material to pull from? There are still five other Tom Clancy novels featuring Jack Ryan that haven’t been made into feature films. Why not adapt those and stay true to the character? Why not just start fresh with a brand new character instead of trying to cash in on the name Jack Ryan? I mean if Hollywood really wants to bring a literary figure into the action film genre why not tap into the character Mitch Rapp? Mitch Rapp is a character featured in the novels written by Vince Flynn (awesome spy name by itself right?) that IS a spec ops, black bag, CIA spy type that travels the globe preventing terrorist attacks, keeping America safe, etc. Personally, I think he’d be the perfect character to be brought to the big screen. Sorry for the rant, just doesn’t make sense to me.
THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO TOM CLANCY AND VINCE FLYNN
TOM CLANCY PASSED AWAY ON OCTOBER 1, 2013 FROM UNDISCLOSED ILLNESSES. HE WAS 66 AT THE TIME.
VINCE FLYNN PASSED AWAY JUNE 9, 2013 AFTER A THREE YEAR BATTLE WITH PROSTATE CANCER. HE WAS 47 AT THE TIME.
In My Humble Opinion: Sherlock is an incredible show that deserves more notoriety. Martin Freeman (Dr. John Watson) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) each turn in remarkable performances that make the masterfully written show all that much better. Season 2 ended with a cliffhanger! Watson witnessed his best friend Holmes leap to his own death in order to protect those closest to him (a plot line involving the infamous Moriarty, who eventually took his own life as well) Of course, the viewers were let in on the secret that Holmes had in fact faked his own death but were left wondering why and how he pulled it off. Now, like the cab driver from the first episode, I give you a choice; you can wait for the Sherlock premiere on January 19 for the answers to these questions or you can read below. CAUTION SPOILERS BELOW!
Two years after his reported demise, Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) has been completely exonerated of the slander he endured at the hands of James Moriarty. The opening scene shows a version of how Sherlock might have faked his death. Sherlock jumps from the roof with a bungee cable, bouncing back and entering the building through a window, where Molly stood waiting for him. While Sherlock escaped, members of his homeless network put a mask on Moriarty’s face so that he would look like Sherlock and dragged him onto the street to the spot where Sherlock would have landed and sprayed him with fake blood. While all this was happening, Watson was lying on the ground, having just been run over by a cyclist, who was in on the plan in order to give the others time to plant the body. This however is all shown to be a conspiracy theory of Anderson. Sherlock, with the aid of Mycroft, returns to London which is under threat of a terrorist attack. Watson has moved on and has a girlfriend, Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington), whom he intends to propose to in a restaurant. Sherlock of course enters the restaurant disguised as a French waiter with a thick accent. Sherlock visits John’s table a couple of times before Watson figures out that it is in fact Holmes. Sherlock reveals that he faked his own death. John fueled by anger, hits Sherlock more than a few times. Sherlock enlists Molly to assist him in the case of an underground skeleton behind a desk containing a manuscript: “How I did it” by Jack the Ripper, revealed to be a fake planted by Anderson (now a conspiracy theorist, driven by guilt over his role in Sherlock’s defamation) to lure Holmes out of hiding. Later that day, Mary receives a text telling her that John has been kidnapped by unknown assailants and will die if he isn’t rescued in time. Sherlock and Mary come to Watson’s aid and are able to rescue him.
John and Sherlock then return to solving Mycroft’s terrorist problem, which is revealed to be planned by an “underground movement” in the most literal sense (i.e. a movement based in the London Underground). They discover that a key figure in the plot is a politician named Moran, who with his organization plots to blow up the Houses of Parliament during an all night sitting on the Fifth of November (Bonfire Night). Near an abandoned underground station, they find a carriage that was earlier seen disappearing with Moran on it. The carriage is now rigged with explosives. Sherlock manages to defuse the bomb by turning the off-switch, but not before making Watson believe the bomb can’t be defused, causing him to panic and reveal to Sherlock how much he has missed him.
In a flash forward, Sherlock is seen visiting Anderson and reveals to him how he faked his death as part of a plan to round-up Moriarty’s network. Sherlock tells Anderson that he and Mycroft had anticipated thirteen possible scenarios that could happen on the roof. Each possibility had a code name and a plan of action attached to it. Sherlock however, did not anticipate that Moriarty would kill himself. Sherlock texted his brother one of the code names (“LAZARUS”). His homeless network shut down the entire street and were at the ready. When John arrived, Sherlock made sure he stood at the right spot so that his view of the bottom half of the building was blocked. The homeless network and Mycroft’s people set up a large inflated cushion which Sherlock fell on safely. All the people rushed to pull the cushion away and Sherlock ran to hide. Molly, who was near a window, threw a body double on the ground (the same person Moriarty used to frame Sherlock for the abduction of Rufus Bruhl’s children). John, who had rushed to the scene, only saw a glimpse of the body before he was intentionally knocked down by the cyclist. This allowed Sherlock to take the place of the body double and complete the charade. Sherlock even put a ball under his armpit to momentarily give the impression he had no pulse for good measure. The people who surrounded him then poured blood around and on him to complete the illusion.
In the final scene, a silhouetted figure with blue eyes wearing glasses is seen watching footage of Sherlock and Mary.
In My Humble Opinion: It’s not tragic to die doing what you love, but it is tragic that Hollywood seems so fresh out of ideas that it has to yet again recycle a movie that has already been made. Not sure if you’ve heard yet but the word around the campfire is Point Break will receive its very own Hollywood remake and Gerard Butler will be surfing in to take over the role of bank robbing / Zen surfer dude Bodhi, a role previously filled by Patrick Swayze. If you check out IMDB, the remake is confirmed and slated for a 2015 release. As is my typical practice, let me be completely up front; I have nothing against Gerard Butler or the original Point Break itself.
As far as Gerard Butler goes, I think he’s a pretty decent actor that can certainly portray the ultimate bad ass when it comes to action films (300 anybody? Oh and he was brutal in Olympus Has Fallen). In fact, when the rumor was circulating that he could be stepping in to take over as Snake Plissken in a planned Escape From New York remake, I found myself cautiously optimistic (the cautious part was more because of the remake itself not the casting). Low and behold this was not meant to be and rumors continue to circulate on who will eventually fill the role once filled by Kurt Russell (personally, Josh Holloway seems like a no-brainer).
As far as Point Break goes, let’s be honest; the original 1991 film directed by Kathryn Bigelow isn’t exactly Oscar material but still a pretty entertaining movie nonetheless. Patrick Swayze embraced the role he was given and received acclaim for his portrayal of Bodhi. And let’s be honest, any movie in which you can have Keanu Reeves pretending to be a dim-witted surfer dude is obviously playing to the actor’s strengths. That being said, how many more remakes is Hollywood going to subject us to? I think that’s probably my biggest apprehension when it comes to the remake genre itself. There’s been so many remakes that don’t hold a candle to the original (there is the occasional success) it’s almost insulting that Hollywood keeps churning them out. I’ve always said that you don’t have to literally remake the movie; just take the plot and change the environment and abracadabra you’ve got yourself a new movie. I mean after all, didn’t Hollywood “remake” this once already but instead of using surfboards it used cars and called it Fast and the Furious?