Fun and action is what it is. Awesome when it needs to be, but otherwise ignores the aspects where quality is demanded by audiences in the modern world. No humour, no drama, no character development & classic plot, only redeemed by visually impressive, fast-paced action sequences, and a likeable action hero in Jack Ryan (Chris Pine).
Kenneth Branagh did excellent with the directing, though not the same could be said with his acting (he portrayed the villain). The action sequences are the strong points of this film, with some fast paced hand to hand combats, and more importantly, some visually stunning chase sequences, be it in bikes or in cars. They are just simply entertaining and delightful to watch.
However, in a recent trend of plot twists & turns, Shadow Recruit neglects the idea and follows with the classic, simple plot of good versus bad. Only external conflicts arise, and not a substantial conflict from the internal circle of the hero. This makes it less suspenseful and a bit too predictable. Perhaps, when the slogan says "Trust No One", you kind of expected something more than straightforward.
Supposedly being an origin story, the film only touches a bit of Jack's past, and immediately jumps into the action. The first 15 minutes show nothing except his mere background, while having no significant impact to the rest of the film. Lacking the character development, it doesn't show us the transformation of Jack's character into the agent he is. Lack of humour, and lack of drama, and the film is just uninteresting outside of the action.
The film did right where it had to, in the midst of the action, but lacks quality everywhere else, making it just another film that is fun to watch, especially in this lifeless month, without leaving a significant mark for the franchise. It really could do better as a reboot.
Good: Impressive visuals, Awesome fast-paced action sequences
Bad: Simple plot, Lack of character development, Lack of humour & drama