After the incredibly mediocre adaption of another cop thriller earlier this year with Alex Cross, I wasn’t sure if Jack Reacher could be any better. Sure, regardless of his insanity in his personal life, Tom Cruise is a much better actor than Tyler Perry, but I am not familiar with the source material for either, so I had to go in with no expectations beyond what the trailer gave us. I did enjoy the trailer and seeing Tom Cruise, usually as Ethan Hunt, kicking some serious ass, but I’ve been disappointed by action movies before.
Jack Reacher is based on the novel One Shot by Lee Child, which is far from the first novel starring the titular Jack Reacher. A lone gunman fires randomly into a crowd, killing five completely unrelated people. The evidence reveals that he is an ex-soldier whose only defense for this horrible act is: “Get Jack Reacher.” It’s not that simple, Jack Reacher is a ghost, he doesn’t have any form of ID or communication. The police and defense team are stumped, until Reacher just turns up.
As with any good murder mystery, it’s not an open and shut case, something is going on and Reacher has to get to the bottom of it so he can keep a promise. Immediately after seeing the crime scene and the evidence, he knows that there is more going on than a loner losing it and opening fire. What he uncovers is a vast conspiracy with roots that won’t hesitate to ‘silence’ anyone prying a little deeper than they should.
The only reason anyone I talked to didn’t want to see Jack Reacher was because of Tom Cruise. Sure, his couch hopping, crazy ranting antics may disgust certain people, but he’s always delivered a good performance, so I’ve never really cared about what he does in his personal life. Cruise himself if pretty short, and while they usually cover that up with movie magic, they did a good job in Jack Reacher of not making him this looming figure. He pulls off Jack Reacher brilliantly, a man that could break every bone in your body but looks unassuming.
There was something about the way Cruise carried himself throughout the movie that was incredibly effective. There’s been a trend in recent action movies, with a few exceptions, that has moved more towards the stylized, flashy scenes than the realistic. Every fight, every shootout and car chase in Jack Reacher felt like something you would read about on the news. It grounded the movie amidst the more fictional conspiracy elements and gave it a ripped from the headlines feel. There are far too few action movies, not based on real events, that feel real.
Sure, the plot may have been a bit predictable, but even that was done with some skill. There was a bit of a message about looking past what you want to see to see what’s really there that, while also a bit cliched, was serviced well. Yes, Jack Reacher is another action movie, but this is an action movie that stuck with me more than anything in recent memory. I left the theater wanting to see the way the plot transpired again. I hope that Jack Reacher does well so we get the next novel in movie form.
In Theaters: December 21, 2012
Runtime: 131 min
Rating: PG-13 (for violence, language and some drug material)
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, James Martin Kelly, Jai Courtney
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Official Site: http://www.jackreachermovie.com/