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Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Shadow Recruit lacks depth but shines in 4K; a mediocre action entry in the Jack Ryan series.

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit's UHD presentation shines with fine-tuned clarity, vibrant colors from Dolby Vision, and detailed textures, making it a standout in technical quality.

  • Audio
  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit's UHD disc boasts a precise, potent DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix, creating an immersive, dynamic audio experience that maintains clarity and depth without Dolby Atmos enhancement.

  • Extra
  • The 4K Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit disc includes existing commentary but lacks new content, with extras on Blu-ray including featurettes and deleted scenes, plus an iTunes code.

  • Movie
  • Shadow Recruit offers a generic spy thriller, drifting from Jack Ryan's essence with competent action and updating to UHD lacks new extras.

    Video: 91

    Paramount's release of "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" on 4K UHD Blu-Ray showcases a commendable effort to provide a high-quality video presentation, despite being the only title in the Jack Ryan collection upscaled from a 2K digital intermediate, as opposed to the native 4K transfers of its predecessors. This release is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, utilizing a 3840 x 2160p resolution image. Incorporating 10-bit video depth, a wider color gamut (WCG), and High Dynamic Range (HDR) along with Dolby Vision and encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec, the film manages to deliver a modest yet appreciable upgrade in image clarity and detail over its 1080p Blu-Ray counterpart. Shot on a combination of traditional 35mm film and digital RED Epic cameras capable of 5K resolution, it delivers sharp, fine lines and detailed textures from the unique architectural designs to the fine threading of clothing and interior decors, even though some softer, blurrier moments and mild aliasing issues are noted.

    The implementation of HDR and Dolby Vision particularly stands out in this release, enhancing contrast and brightness levels in a movie predominantly set during nighttime. Inky blacks and rich shadows add to a cinematic quality with dimensionality, showcasing detailed objects within darker scenes without losing clarity. The color grading process refines the overall palette, emphasizing more balanced and authentic skin tones, vibrant primaries, especially reds, and a richer array of secondary hues. Even though colors are more refined rather than radically altered, the improved saturation adds depth to the image, making computer screen displays and exterior scenes pop with vividness without venturing into oversaturation. Whites are brighter, and black levels deeper, offering a robust visual experience that, while not transformative compared to its already well-received Blu-ray version, presents a perceptible enhancement in texture clarity and color vibrancy.

    Although "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" does not inherently benefit from a natural 4K origin like some other films in Paramount's catalog, this 4K UHD presentation makes a strong case for upscale releases. The film's blend of film and digital source material is treated with care, leading to a consistent grain structure amidst occasional noise. The Dolby Vision HDR grading boosts the visual impact, bringing out the best in nocturnal city landscapes and interior scenes with improved dynamic range and color fidelity. Despite minor source or compression flaws, this release proves to be an attractive package for both new viewers and discerning fans of the franchise, highlighting Paramount's commitment to enhancing their catalog for the 4K era.

    Audio: 95

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" delivers an audio experience that, while retaining the same DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack from its original Blu-ray release, stands as a testament to high-quality sound design for action cinema on the 4K UHD format. This mix provides a large, dynamic soundstage with a robust tonality that maintains crisp clarity and smooth precision in surround placement. Dialogue is sharply rendered, taking precedence in the mix, ensuring that every line is crystal clear even amidst the throes of action, thereby maintaining a coherent auditory narrative. The soundfield makes effective use of the 7.1 channels, immersing the listener in a detailed and atmospherically rich environment, from quieter moments of stealth to the thunderous bluster of the film's set pieces.

    The technical finesse of the soundtrack is evident in its handling of both the nuanced and bombastic elements of the film's soundscape. Effects are finely tuned, capturing the subtle ambient noises as well as delivering impactful renditions of gunshots and explosions, thanks to expert use of surrounds and a hearty LFE channel. Though the score may not stand out as memorable, it nonetheless complements the on-screen action and enhances the overall immersive experience. The soundtrack excels in dynamic range, with heart-pounding lows and ear-piercing highs that vividly sell the film’s chaotic moments, from helicopter attacks to car chases, meticulously utilizing the full soundstage to engage the listener.

    Despite the absence of an object-based audio option like Dolby Atmos, which could have further augmented this auditory experience, the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track on "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit's" 4K UHD Blu-ray remains a highly satisfying listen. Its expansive soundstage, detailed mid-range, and clear vocals uphold a strong auditory presence even in its loudest sequences. Action scenes gain an added dimension through the receivers' up-mixing capabilities, effectively broadening the soundscape and enveloping the viewer in Shadow Recruit's world. The potent low-end delivers impactful resonance to the visuals, creating a comprehensive auditory experience that is both engaging and technically impressive.

    Extra: 84

    The 4K UHD release of "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" offers a mixed bag in terms of extra content, strictly carrying over supplements from its Blu-ray counterpart without introducing any new bonus materials. The commentary by director Kenneth Branagh and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura is the notable highlight, providing insightful dialogues but curiously tucked away within the language settings. All featurettes and deleted scenes maintain their quality but are confined to the included Blu-ray disc. This package does not innovate on the extras front, focusing on core offerings which include an interesting mix of character development, action breakdowns, and the film's geopolitical undertones, rounded off with a handful of deleted scenes. An iTunes digital copy extends digital convenience to buyers, adhering to a familiar pattern of repackaging content for the 4K market without enhancing it.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary: Insightful dialogue with director Kenneth Branagh and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
    • Jack Ryan: The Smartest Guy in the Room: A look at Ryan's character evolution.
    • Sir Kenneth Branagh: The Tsar of Shadow Recruit: A promotional piece on Branagh's dual role.
    • Jack Ryan: A Thinking Man of Action: Exploration of the film's action sequences.
    • Old Enemies Return: Discussion on the film's portrayal of Russians as antagonists.
    • Deleted & Extended Scenes: A collection of omitted content with optional commentary.

    Movie: 79

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," the 2014 reboot starring Chris Pine as the titular character, brings a mix of bone-rattling action and strategic spy warfare to the big screen, albeit straying from the intellectual roots that originally defined Tom Clancy’s renowned CIA analyst. Under Kenneth Branagh's direction, the film unfolds as a polished and capable thriller, weaving a narrative that explores Ryan’s transition from an injured Marine to a covert CIA analyst tasked with unearthing a Russian plot aimed at crippling the US economy. However, this iteration of Jack Ryan morphs into a more conventional action hero, losing the cerebral edge that set him apart from his genre counterparts. Despite its deviation from the original character's essence, the movie delivers engaging performances from Pine, alongside Keira Knightley as Cathy Muller, Kevin Costner as Thomas Harper, and Branagh himself playing the antagonist Viktor Cherevin. Their collective efforts anchor the film’s fast-paced and neatly edited sequences, ensuring its place as an entertaining, if not familiar, spy drama.

    The film’s presentation on 4K UHD Blu-ray as part of the Jack Ryan: 5-Film Collection is nothing short of stunning. Paramount’s transfer to the new 2160p/Dolby Vision video showcases exceptional clarity and depth, breathing new life into its well-staged action scenes and the diverse locales from Moscow to Manhattan. The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack retains its crispness, enveloping viewers in a seamless blend of dialogue, soundtrack, and the roar of adrenaline-pumping chases. However, it's worth noting that while the visual and auditory enhancements on this UHD release are indeed impressive, the package offers no new supplementary content beyond what was available in the 2014 Blu-ray release.

    "Shadow Recruit's" near miss at rejuvenating Jack Ryan for a modern audience doesn’t detract from its strength as a standalone thriller. Though it veers into the territory of standard spy fare, the movie effectively captures the tension and stakes of global espionage. The transition to 4K accentuates its cinematic quality, making it an essential addition for collectors and fans of action-packed thrillers alike. However, the lack of any novel special features or in-depth explorations into its production might leave those familiar with Ryan’s more distinctive analytical prowess yearning for a deeper connection to Clancy’s original vision.

    Total: 84

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," while serving as a passable action-thriller, fails to captivate as a memorable addition to the Jack Ryan franchise. It is criticized for its reliance on conventional thriller elements and lack of originality, straying from the depth and complexity of Tom Clancy's novels. The film, featuring Chris Pine in the titular role, is described as a pseudo-prequel reboot that attempts to offer a fresh perspective but falls short in engaging audiences familiar with Ryan's legacy. Despite its shortcomings in narrative and character development, the movie is acknowledged for its polished presentation and competent acting.

    Paramount's 4K UHD Blu-ray release, exclusively available as part of the 5-film Jack Ryan box set, elevates the viewing experience with superb (upscaled) 4K/Dolby Vision visuals that notably refine the picture quality from its Blu-ray counterpart. The audio remains unchanged, yet the 7.1 lossless track does not disappoint. Special features from the 2014 release are carried over, with additional commentary tracks offering some insight into the film's production. For enthusiasts seeking the pinnacle of home cinema quality, this release presents an enticing upgrade, despite reservations on the film's overall impact.

    In conclusion, "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" shines technically in its 4K UHD presentation but struggles narratively as a significant entry in the Jack Ryan series. It stands as a competent but uninspired action film, overshadowed by its predecessors and by comparisons to more intricate spy thrillers. Nevertheless, for fans of the franchise and 4K aficionados, the Jack Ryan: 5-Film Collection offers value, presenting this installment as part of a comprehensive package that celebrates the highs of the series while acknowledging its lows. The collection is highly recommended, with "Shadow Recruit" being an optional viewing for completionists or those curious to witness its high-definition enhancements.