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Sunday, January 26, 2014
KOEPP'S CORNER: 'JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT'
CHANNELS 'MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE', 'CARLITO'S WAY'


Writing about Kenneth Branagh's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, South Philly Review's Kurt Osenlund states that "Branagh’s approach helps at virtually every turn, from getting us through verbose debriefing scenes that might bog down the pace to de-cluttering Jack’s relationship to Cathy, who’s uncannily understanding of her partner’s secrecy, then brought into the fold for a remarkable con sequence (Branagh channels Brian De Palma’s Mission: Impossible, and that’s a huge compliment). Car chases are swift and compelling, scam specifics are choreographed with great sleekness, and in moments that need to underscore Jack’s dueling competence and inexperience, Pine delivers as a leading man."

And it turns out there is a good reason Branagh's film might channel De Palma's Mission: Impossible, because David Koepp was a key screenwriter on both projects. But the route taken by the Jack Ryan screenplay is an interesting one. Once upon a time, Adam Cozad wrote a spec script titled Dubai that made the Black List of best unproduced screenplays in 2007. Paramount (home of the Mission: Impossible franchise), looking to reboot a Jack Ryan franchise, bought Dubai and hired Anthony Peckham to rework it, and the title changed to Moscow, with Cozad doing another rewrite after Peckham. Interestingly, at that point, Paramount talked to Steven Zallian (who had worked with De Palma on the initial structure of Mission: Impossible) about working on the Moscow script, but he passed, and they then hired Koepp, who took over with gusto, working on it for well over a year with Branagh at the helm (Jack Bender had been the director initially attached in the early stages of the project).

I saw Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit yesterday, and liked it quite a bit. Branagh gives a terrifically strong performance as the Russian villain, there are some nicely-shot sequences, and the story is compelling enough, even with a typical time-bomb ending. Aside from the M:I-style con sequence mentioned above, I noticed a bit of dialogue that seems to echo De Palma's Carlito's Way, which was also written by Koepp. In Carlito's Way, after their little "boat ride," Carlito angrilly gives Kleinfeld some advice: "You ain’t a lawyer no more, Dave. You’re a gangster now. You’re on the other side. Whole new ball game. You can’t learn about it at school, and you can’t have a late start."

We posted last week some quotes from Kevin Costner about taking on the "Sean Connery mentor role" in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. In the film, after Jack Ryan has a deadly run-in with a baddie out to kill him, Costner's shadowy CIA agent tells him, "You're not just an analyst anymore. You're operational now." That clip is below:


Posted by Geoff at 11:14 AM CST
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink | Share This Post

Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 2:53 PM CST

Name: "harry georgatos"

I wasn't that convinced with JACK RYAN as it wanted to blame a potential economic world crisis at the hands of evil Russians. The world financial meltdown was a result of American Wall Street bankers and this film is pure propaganda of the worse kind. It does have more spy action then De Palma's MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE film but isn't as well staged as De Palma's film. There's nothing original in the film that hasn't been seen in tv shows such as ALIAS. With De Palma's Mission film it has the biggest plot-hole in cinema history that can't be forgiven with brief action scenes. JACK RYAN may have more happening but it has been seen a million times before and is no match for the other 4 films in the franchise, especially the powerful CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER which has muscular action and hi-tech sequences that MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE and JACK RYAN fail to have and is an action/spy/combat film for adults. JACK RYAN and MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE are basically spy films for beginners!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 1:56 AM CST

Name: "rado"
Home Page: http://rado.bg

I love Koepp's corner. Taking it further with this new Kristin Scott Thomas interview: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/jan/31/kristin-scott-thomas-interview

 

P.S. Mission: Impossible is actually a most serious spy action film and probably the only one asking unflinchingly what the hell are they doing in psychological, philosphical and political terms: playing with death, identity, human fates etc.

 

Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 9:59 PM CST

Name: "harry georgatos"

Ethan Hunt, Phelps and Kruger on the rooftop of the TGV bullet train belongs in a Road Runner cartoon. It may play with identity, death but is done on a level reserved for teenagers. The plot-hole in this film is unforgivable! CIA is such a huge organisation with endless budgetary resources that one team would be recovering the dead IMF agents and another team tracing the missing IMF agents! Unless Phelps and Claire were on a morgue slab Ethan would not be easily implicated. CIA is too shrewd to not approach that possibility! Do not tell that CIA was watching all of them because that's not the case. As far Kitteridge was concerned Ethan was the traitor and murderer! In the exploding restaurant Kitteridge tells Ethan "You want to shake hands with the devil then do it in Hell" and then Ethan and his ridiculuos chewing gum explosive escapes. The themes Rado talks about are there but for an undemanding audience.

The one great performance of a ruthless spy without any moral compass who would do anything for God or Country in killing enemy spies and spies on his own team for the greater good and for personal interest is Richard Boone in John Hustons THE KREMLIN LETTER. That's a spy film for adults along with THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, THE PARALLAX VIEW and THE MARATHON MAN. How I miss the paranoid conspiracy spy thrillers of the '70's. When I heard De Palma was making MI I was hoping it would have the ruthless template of spy thrillers of the'70's with confrontiing and disturbing as what Spielberg did with the extremely justified violence in MUNICH. MI is summer escapism for teenagers.  M1, M2, M3 have sleek blockbuster direction but the writing stinks. SKYFALL has the same McGuffin as De Palma's woeful script and SKYFALL is a masterpiece of writing with brilliant set-pieces and solid adult storytelling. The opening set-piece on the train in Turkey is shot for real without visual effects and is truly suspeseful and breathtaking. It is better then what De Palma did with the cartoon sequence on the roof-top of the TGV buttet train. That's how the Mission films should have been as ambitious as CASINO ROYALE and SKYFALL, that plays for all demagraphics with superior scripts.

I hope M5 will have the mindbending Manchurian game mind tricks of the tv show which none of the 4 films have! 

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