Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Review: Jack Reacher

I haven’t read any of the Jack Reacher novels.  I can’t even tell you who the author is.  So going into the movie, I had no gripes about Tom Cruise’s height, which apparently is a big issue for fans of the novels, and I had no preconceived notions on how the film should play out.  I also don’t harbor any ill will towards Cruise the actor.  Let’s be honest here.  If we – the general public - allowed the personal lives of every actor to completely influence how we react to their respective movies, then we would never be able to enjoy a single film.  There’s hardly a boy or girl scout to be found in the entire lot.  Given these factors, I went into this film with more of a clean slate than most and probably better positioned to like it.  Unfortunately, I did not like it as much as I thought I would.

The movie is about a former military police officer – Jack Reacher, who is something of a savant when it comes to criminal investigations and hand-to-hand combat.  He lives as a drifter, moving from place to place, trying to right the wrongs of society.  In the film, he is called in to investigate a public shooting on behalf of a discharged military sniper with a criminal past.  Working with the defense attorney (Rosamund Pike), Reacher pulls together the pieces of the conspiracy at hand.

Going into the film, I was under the impression that it was going to be two hours of fisticuffs, gunplay, and car chases.  While there is a fair amount of this sort of action, a lot of the film is dedicated to the art of detection.  Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher is as much a thinker as he is a bruiser.  This gives the movie a more deliberate pace than I was expecting, but also makes it slightly more cerebral.  The problem with the film is that to someone with no history with the character, there is nothing in this movie  todistinguish it from any other whodunit film ever made.  A crime happens, things are not exactly as they seem; the protagonist comes in and cracks the case; end credits roll. 

So clearly, the creative team behind this film did not harbor aspirations of reinventing the wheel with his film, but in the spirit of the new year and all the positivity that goes with that, here are a few reasons you should see this film:

- Tom Cruise.  Whether you love him or hate him, you have to respect the fact that he cares about his craft.  He doesn’t turn in his greatest performance, but there’s more good than bad – especially with the fight scenes.

- American Muscle.  If you’re a fan of muscle cars, there are some nice rides tearing up the streets of Pittsburgh in this film.  Director Christopher McQuarrie and his creative team clearly chose vehicles that would appear right at home in the steel city.

- Rosamund Pike.  I have long been a huge fan of Pike going back to her appearance in Die Another Day opposite Pierce Brosnan.  While she is starting to approach the back nine of her career, she knows what kinds of performances work for her and more often than not delivers.

Despite all these positives and an accomplished supporting cast that incudes Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins, and David Oyelowo, I can only half-heartedly recommend this film.  I would not suggest you see it in the theater as there’s just not enough to warrant the cost of seeing it on the big screen, but there’s definitely value in it as a rental.  In a year loaded with action movies, you could definitely do a lot worse than this one.  And while I don’t think we’ll be seeing another cinematic entry into the world of Jack Reacher based on this effort, this movie will at least mildly entertain you for two hours. 

Standout Performance: While not his best work, the movie rests on Tom Cruise and he gives it a good run.  


  1. i didn't watched this movie but i want to watch this movie...