“Jack Reacher”


Jack Reacher” with Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog, Joseph Sikora, and Robert Duvall

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie 

The Official UK Poster for "Jack Reacher."
The Official UK Poster for “Jack Reacher.”

Originally my review was dry, terse, and immensely boring.  Not the Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson type of ‘Bored,’ but fairly deathly in its own right.  However, after placing some “Black Keys” on hi-fi and letting the caffeinated beverages fill in where the creative juices left off I began to coalesce a much clearer picture of Tom Cruise’s latest picture, “Jack Reacher.’

Essentially, the film “Jack Reacher” is plays out like a throwback to older movies of the same genre.  It is incredibly reminiscent of older action films and it leaves much to be desired when considering the stellar source material in which it was derived.  “Jack Reacher” is based off of Lee Child’s famous character and series of novels (specifically his novel “One-Shot”), which detail the interesting happenings of Jack Reacher–an ex-MP who wanders the States looking for…well..something.  He always ends up in a predicament, but he always manages to help those in a jam and move on to the next place and task.

In this particular plot, Jack Reacher (played by Tom Cruise) is called by name by an old military ‘buddy,’ Barr (played by Joseph Sikora), who has requested his help.  Barr has been charged with gunning down five people at a park with a sniper rifle.  This scene opens the film and normally would not be troublesome to watch, but after the recent shooting in Connecticut I found this difficult to view.  This most-likely is reactionary and on the whole I do not support film censorship.  Forewarning though…my gut did react.

In between Barr’s supposed shooting, holding, and Jack’s trek, Barr is brutally beaten during transport that renders him useless and leaves him in a coma, so by the time Jack reaches Barr his primary witness/suspect is out of commission.  In pursuit of the truth, Jack Reacher teams up with Barr’s lawyer Helena (played by Rosamund Pike), and begins a thread-lined journey that will eventually lead him to the heart of the truth.

The acting of the supporting cast and large portions of the script (specifically the dialogue) really disappointed me.  Save for Tom Cruise’s portrayal of the idiopathic character, Richard Jenkins as the DA, David Oyelowo as the lead detective, and the incomparable Robert Duvall of the case the acting was atrocious.  Helena’s dialogue was choppy and cliche, which resulted in a flat, inconsistent character that could have been anyone off the streets.  However, that being said, there were far worse performances and writing to be had.  The film’s villain, ‘The Zec’ (played by Werner Herzog) was so incredibly cliched and not at all frightening that I thought for a majority of the film that the casting director had taken head shots from all the worst Bond-villain throwaways that he or she could find and finally settled on the worst of them, The Zec.  Not only was the villainous Zec not imposing he was nonsensical, frightfully dull, and had absolutely no purpose besides being fodder for Tom Cruise in the closing moments.

All-in-all, I thought Tom Cruise was great as Jack Reacher.  His lines were impeccable and the action sequences were tightly shot and added to the tone of the overall film.  However, even Tom Cruise cannot hold up an entire film, and in this instance he proved this sentiment wholeheartedly.  The writers had excellent source material and chose to butcher much of Lee Child’s writing in favor for the old and the cliched…this coupled with the fact that the supporting cast was truly awful really took what could have been a great film and transformed it into a ‘meh’ film.

I give Jack Reacher three-out-of-five stars, and recommend that you wait for this to make its way to DVD before watching it.

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