Score Reviews‎ > ‎

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit by Patrick Doyle (Review)

posted Jan 29, 2014, 7:39 PM by Koray Savas

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan character has had a pretty diverse history in film. First appearing in 1990's The Hunt For Red October, Harrison Ford tackled the role twice in 1992's Patriot Games and 1994's Clear And Present Danger, with the last portrayal by Ben Affleck in 2002's The Sum Of All Fears. He has now resurfaced in this year's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Kenneth Branagh directs, so undoubtedly Patrick Doyle scores. The duo have been working together since Branagh's debut in 1989, so this project has 15 years of collaborative history behind it. Not a common accomplishment, and despite the high expectations, the final product falls a little short of the mark.

Doyle has a big role to fill. Jack Ryan has been scored by Basil Poledouris, James Horner, and Jerry Goldsmith. Not exactly your average film composers; and while he takes a more fitting contemporary approach to the character, he does manage to squeeze in some fantastic nods to these greats. "Faith Of Our Fathers" features a booming Russian chorus that is straight out of Poledouris' The Hunt For Red October; and "Ryan, Mr. President" has some very Horner-esque patriotic strings. The score is a fairly steady combination of orchestral flair complemented by electronic rhythms. There are bouts of exciting action, but they are almost exclusively towards the end of the long running time. This causes the musical journey to feel unbalanced and elongated, but that certainly wouldn't be a first for Jack Ryan. Things start to pick up around "Moscow Car Chase" and it follows through to the end of the album, "Unraveling The Data" and "Bike Chase" being the highlights. There is a great recurring action motif in these latter tracks but it feels trapped, without any room to breathe or grow. In light of all these drawbacks, however, the score has a solid identity. The tone and sound is in line with the character and plot and Doyle nails the mood splendidly.

Patrick Doyle composes a thrilling contemporary action score for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, but it contains a few misfires in terms of structure and longevity. A more balanced and thematic approach would help subdue the intricate rhythms and pacing issues, thus fleshing out the defining soundscape of the character. The nods to previous scoring efforts in this 'franchise' makes this one stand out above the standard government agent caper.