Movie Review: Jack Reacher (2012)


It’s unfortunate that Jack Reacher got a bad rap before the film was even made, simply because Tom Cruise was cast as the titular character.

I haven’t read any of the popular novel series by Lee Child upon which the film was based (I believe the particular book for this film is One Shot), but from what I understand Jack Reacher is a mammoth blonde haired and blue eyed dude who is like 6’5″ and naturally ripped like the Rock on steroids (hang on…), and Mr Scientology is a brunette and reportedly anything from 5’7″ to 5’9″ — and that may be with or without lifts.

But having not read the books, it made no difference to me. In fact, there was really only one instance in the entire film where Cruise’s size, or lack thereof, posed a problem for the storyline, and even then they fudged it quite well so you wouldn’t really notice.

Irrespective of the so-called casting issue, Jack Reacher is a superior action thriller. To be honest, it wasn’t exactly the type of film I thought it would be. I had expected it to be all about this macho superhero dude who goes around beating up a whole bunch of bad guys like Liam Neeson in Taken, and to be be fair, there is a bit of that, but Jack Reacher actually has a rather intelligent mystery at its heart.

Without giving to much away, the film begins with a seemingly random act of violence that appears to be an open and shut case. Even a soft-hearted defense attorney played by Rosamund Pike felt it was an unwinnable case — that is, of course, until enigmatic loner Jack Reacher is called out to investigate.

Jack Reacher is one of those guys who only exists in the macho fantasies of daydreamers and novelists. Women love him and men want to be him, or at least beat him up. He is a genius investigator, has a photographic memory, is unstoppable in hand-to-hand combat and is also somehow an expert marksman. And on top of all that he is all about justice and has a heart of gold.

If you can stomach this type of imaginary guy less likely to exist in real life than Edward Cullen, then Jack Reacher is an absolute blast to watch. It is a stylish film that keeps audiences guessing with twists and turns while providing thrills with car chases, violent confrontations and skillful detective work.  I had no problem believing that Cruise (who had Child’s blessings, by the way) could be  someone who could kick so much ass while delivering perfect one-liners, and it’s a credit to his acting abilities that he could pull off such a role.

Pike did an adequate job without being particularly impressive, and Robert Duvall had a small but crucial role later on in the film. The supporting cast standout, however, has to be legendary German director Werner Herzog as the shadowy villain, who won me over just by his awesome voice alone.

Sure, there are some plot holes and inconsistencies and things that don’t make a whole lot of sense, but on the whole, Jack Reacher is a very solid start to a franchise that I can definitely see myself following if more sequels are rolled out.

4 stars out of 5

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