Clancy's Cold War hero Jack Ryan gets film reboot with familiar foe

Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:48pm EST
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By Eric Kelsey

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - In "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," Tom Clancy's emblematic Cold War hero gets a big-screen reboot on Friday with a familiar villain: Russia.

In this post-9/11 era, Soviet Union no longer exists and American spy agencies are tracking non-state militant groups instead. But director Kenneth Branagh said Ryan's longtime nemesis is still relevant.

"It felt as though there had been a shift around, and the classic Cold War adversary, America-Russia, had done this flip," said Branagh, who also plays the film's principal villain, Russian oligarch Viktor Cherevin.

"Now, the new financial power, the new empire is Russia," he added, "and the wood-paneled club rooms of Wall Street feel like they're connected to an old empire that's somehow connected to the makers of the American economy in the late 19th century."

The film backed by Paramount Pictures crafts a new origin story for CIA hero Ryan, portrayed by Chris Pine. It recasts the agent as a finance wizard and millennial who uncovers what appears to be a Russian plot to dump $2 trillion onto the open market in coordination with a terror attack on the United States.

The film's Kremlin-blessed conspiracy is masterminded by Cherevin, whose weakness is romance and drink, and is intended to create a run on banks in the U.S., plunging the country into a second Great Depression.

"Shadow Recruit" begins on September 11, 2001, in London, where a 19-year-old Ryan is completing his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics.

Ryan immediately abandons his studies when he feels the call to enlist in the U.S. military for the Afghan War.   Continued...

Cast member Chris Pine attends the premiere of the film "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" in Los Angeles January 15, 2014. REUTERS/Phil McCarten