Jack Reacher is a thriller, that was originally released in 2012, and was written & directed by Christopher McQuarrie. McQuarrie is predominantly known as a screenwriter, with this only being the second film he’s directed, and the first big movie. His previous credits as a screenwriter include The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, and The Tourist, with upcoming credits on movies such as The Wolverine and Jack The Giant Slayer. The movie has a running time of 130 minutes, and has a cast of Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog, Richard Jenkins and Jai Courtney. This is Number Two in the ‘500 Films A Year Challenge’.
Tom Cruise seems quite a polarizing figure, his Scientology belief and his sometimes-questionable behavior (jumping on Oprah’s sofa, marrying Katie Holmes), leading to a personality backlash. Despite my disagreements with Scientology, I have to say, I rarely feel he puts a terrible performance on screen. Cruise has this untouchable charisma and a daredevil attitude that leaves him going to any lengths for his movies, predominantly action movies. His stunts in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol left me digging my fingernails into my cinema seat, and despite his diminutive size, he is a fantastic action star. All this seemingly meant little to Jack Reacher fans, who could only focus on the fact that Tom Cruise wasn’t the man mountain of the books, but that didn’t bother me. I was already tempted by this movie, and was left even more tempted after hearing positive reviews, eventually sitting down to view it on the 3rd January.
First, 130 minutes was a running time I was not expecting, and left me nervous about there being a negative impact. However, I felt for the majority of the movie that the story was well paced and built to the finale. The story concerns that of a sniper killing six people in a public area, and an ex-soldier being captured for the killings. The suspect asks solely for Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), a former U.S. army military Police Corps officer, now a drifter driven only by the truth. Reacher duly arrives, and attempts to solve the killings. The story, is simple, and is mainly a lead-in into the action. The action scenes are fantastic, Cruise is involved in most, if not all, of the fight scenes and driving scenes, and McQuarrie capitalizes on this. During the action scenes, the camera stands off the actors, allowing you to focus on the location and violence, with Reacher’s methods being that of incapacitating his opponents. The driving scenes, meanwhile, are the opposite, Cruise’s involvement in the driving scenes means the camera gets close in on the actor, adding authenticity of the scene. Tom Cruise may not be the look expected, but he carries the attitude of the character perfectly, meaning you can easily buy into him as a slightly darker and more dangerous individual to usual. Cruise does have several lighter moments, with a dry humor, which comes off well.
The supporting cast are mostly strong, Werner Herzog and Jai Courtney make compelling villains, Herzog the maniacal & ruthless figurehead, whilst Courtney is a solid physical presence and challenges Reacher in several scenes. David Oyelowo continues his good work from Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes as a solid police officer, simultaneously challenging and assisting Reacher, Oyelowo is getting deserved good press in Hollywood and has potential to be, if not a superstar, a well-respected British actor in America. My only real complaint would be Rosamund Pike, I like her as an actor, but here she seemed to be trying too hard at times, forcing awkward dialogue into scenes that made her come across slightly poor in comparison. I do not blame the actress, I just think her dialogue was quite stilted, and she struggled to make the best of it. Another problem was the camera’s fascination with her cleavage, which became distracting and casts her character in a negative light.
Apart from the unfortunate issues with Pike’s character, I mostly enjoyed this film, the action was strong and thought-out, the story was interesting enough to care, and the actors put in mostly solid performances. I’m not sure how likely a sequel would be, but as a standalone, I’m happy with what I got.
Thumbs Up, and a 7/10, above average.
Next, we venture to Vienna, in the search for Harry Lime.