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Jack Reacher

a 2012 movie directed by Christopher McQuarrie

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An Action Thriller Made for Guys Who Love Action Movies

  • Dec 24, 2012
While Denzel Washington has always been able to pull an excellent performance in any movie he’s been in, regardless of the movie’s quality. Tom Cruise’s movies on the other hand have usually been good or decent despite his less than impressive performance (ok, maybe not Knight and Day). The guy can definitely pick the right movies, the right director and screen writer that despite any weaknesses he has as an actor (Cruise acts the same with any role he plays), his movies often end up at the very least entertaining. Such is the case with “Jack Reacher”, a film loosely based on the novel “One Shot” by Lee Child and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Cruise plays the title character. Despite the fact I didn’t think that he sold his character, “Jack Reacher” is a solid movie for guys during the Christmas season.

                            Alexia Fast as Sandy and Tom Cruise as Reacher in "Jack Reacher."

When a sniper kills five people in Pittsburgh, all evidence seems to conveniently point to an ex-army sniper named James Barr (Joseph Sikora) and so the cops and the district attorney (Richard Jenkins) believe that it is an easy case to prosecute. But once news of the incident reaches Miami, Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), an ex-military cop resurfaces. Reacher has a history with Barr, and he intends to make sure justice is done. However, everything appears a little too clean, that once Reacher and Barr’s defense lawyer (Rosamund Pike) begins to dig a little deeper, things don’t exactly fit and there may be a conspiracy behind the shootings.

There is something to be said for the film’s initial set up. It comes out swinging, from the scene of the shooting and just how the sniper himself gets caught, the viewer would know exactly where the film was about to go. The screenplay was pretty efficient in setting about its groundwork, as it also gives some backstory to the main character and what his links are to Barr. The screenplay worked really well, it defined the stakes and who and what the players are. The film was adapted from a series of novels that have had a reputation of being page turners; the kind that sucks you in the more you invest in the story.

                        Rosamund Pike as Helen and Tom Cruise as Reacher in "Jack Reacher."

                        A scene from "Jack Reacher."

The direction manages to emulate that kind of movement around its narrative. It bahves like a mystery thriller while being driven by the main character and the action. Once the first act concludes, the film picks up on its narrative. One development or twist is played to advance its plot, that the more is revealed, the more possibilities and questions do arise. Being used to this type of plotting, McQuarrie seems to be in familiar ground as he took on something much more complex with his script in “The Usual Suspects”. The film's screenplay is about the investigation and the direction became one with the script, it moved quickly and yet efficiently in the development of its story. McQuarrie was able to connect everything sufficiently enough that everything did fit and not fit, while immersing one into its narrative, he keeps everything light, and yet tense. By placing some good points of subtle humor to balance out the serious tone of the material, by poking some fun into its character, the overall experience makes for good entertainment with some hard-hitting fisticuffs, car chases and gunplay.

For a movie that carries a PG-13 rating, “Jack Reacher” carried a lot of gritty attitude and the fights are pretty hard-hitting despite its trimmed down blood and no gore. Jack Reacher is the kind of guy who would quickly immobilize his opponent; he is the kind who is the no-nonsense, efficient type of fighter and the fight choreography was geared for this expression. The hand to hand work were closely shot for more in your face, up close and personal machismo. It keeps the action simple when it is on hand-to-hand, while it saves showmanship for the more extravagant scenes such as chases and gun fights. The car chase in the film also gains points for its length and creativity; it felt more old-school using real cars and stunt drivers, than something made in front of a green screen.

                           Tom Cruise as Reacher and Jai Courtney as Charlie in "Jack Reacher."

                           Werner Herzog as The Zec in "Jack Reacher."

One other thing that I enjoyed with the film was the fact that “Jack Reacher” kept things simple with it comes to its plot development and characterization. It wisely avoids a romantic subplot with Helen (Rosamund Pike), but the direction occasionally pokes fun at potential sexual tension between the two ala-”Constantine‘s” Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz. This is the kind of movie that goes point to point, no nonsense, that it goes from each point to another in developing a play on its narrative. More evidence comes out, and one gets to know the characters as the direction immerses you into the screenplay. I know, much of the film was built on Cruise’s charisma, but I have to admit, I got more into the film because of the execution of the script and solid direction. I liked the timing and the placing of some of the film’s more ‘man lines’.

Much of the film is built on Reacher and Helen, but it does some serve up an interesting bad guy in the form of “The Zec” (Werner Herzog). It even comes complete with an obligatory mano-o-mano fight between Reacher and his right-hand man. While it does have some questions when it came to motivations with David Oyelowo’s “Emerson“ character, however clichéd, filled a void in the script. Robert Duvall made a welcome limited appearance that made the links to Barr and Reacher a little more fluid.

                             Tom Cruise as Reacher in "Jack Reacher."

“Jack Reacher” is one of those movies that is aimed directly at guys; guys who love action movies that have credible intricacies to its plot. It is the kind of movie that would’ve made Stallone and Schwarzenegger, Eastwood and Bronson back then. True, Cruise may not have sold me 100 % as the title character (he looks and sounds like a pretty boy), but in a way, it does make sense that lines such as “…you wanted this.“ would carry a little less intensity, the Reacher character was a little low-key with some sarcasm wrapped around him. It is a crowd-pleaser and is a very easy movie to enjoy. It is a rare genre movie that barely gets made anymore. “Jack Reacher” is a good movie for guys who like action movies during the holiday season.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Jack Reacher." Poster art for "Jack Reacher."
An Action Thriller Made for Guys Who Love Action Movies

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April 30, 2013
I missed this one when it played in theatres, but I didn't have a lot of interest in it, either. I'll definitely check it out on DVD.
December 27, 2012
He does act the same in his movies especially in these recent years, I haven't even noticed that.
January 01, 2013
to his credit, he does know how to pick his movies. He probably has a great agent.
December 24, 2012
Looks like a good acti0n movie! The pictures do a good job of capturing the tension in the air.
January 01, 2013
January 02, 2013
You are welcome.
More Jack Reacher reviews
Quick Tip by . June 09, 2013
200 Words or Less: JACK REACHER Wasn't A Stretch    Tom Cruise's JACK REACHER kinda/sorta came & went from theatres pretty, and that's a shame. This is the kind of action centerpiece that studios used to put good money behind, and, when handled & marketed correctly, audiences flocked to. IMDB says that this was budgeted at $60M, but it didn't look like it to me. Not sure how much of that went to Cruise, but it certainly didn't have a lot of other star wattage power behind it, …
review by . December 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
'Jack Reacher' Cruise Is No Jack But Christopher McQuairres' Script Makes It Worth The Ride (Video)
 Okay, so here's the thing. I absolutely love the character of Jack Reacher. He was created by British author, Lee Childs. Lee has written 18 books and they all feature Reacher.      Reacher is one of my favorite fictional characters. The guy is huge...6'5, 250 lbs, blond hair, big hands, big feet, big body...big everything. The dude is like a house...a huge house.      He's also gruff and not at all slick. He lives off the grid...Buys his …
Quick Tip by . May 05, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Good pace and another movie which I watched on the plane after getting bored with Cloud Atlas... Enjoyed it, regardless.
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William ()
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Movies, Action, Thriller, Crime, Funny Movie Reviews, Violence, Tom Cruise, Werner Herzog, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins, Car Chases, Rosamund Pike, Jack Reacher Movie Review, Lee Childs Bestseller One Shot, Snipers


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