Review: Jack Reacher

Synopsis: When an ex-Army sniper is brought in for the seemingly random shooting of five civilians, a former military policeman and current ghost named Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) appears on the scene to investigate the murder. Initially going under the assumption that the sniper is guilty, he soon finds evidence to the contrary and begins working in conjunction with defense attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pink). As his investigation draws him closer to the truth, Reacher discovers a much bigger cover-up than he expected and soon runs up against an enemy he may not be able to defeat. What I Liked: As stated numerous times in this space, I love Tom Cruise. The man just tries so stinking hard and I appreciate that. Fans of the Reacher books have noted that Cruise’s real life diminutive size is not in keeping with the monster of a man depicted in the novels but for his part, Cruise does an excellent job of selling Reacher’s physical and mental prowess. Like any red blooded American male I always appreciate the rogue cop/soldier/criminal/vigilante/what have you who takes justice into his own hands without concern for the law and Jack Reacher does a solid job of pushing that agenda throughout. Most of the action sequences, while thoroughly unrealistic, are exciting and well-designed and there are a couple of car chases that, while unspectacular, hit their marks with the requisite adrenaline punch.

What I Didn’t Like: Having not read any of the Reacher books, I have no idea how closely Jack Reacher follows along to the written word. That said, I found the plot in general and Reacher’s entire persona to be lacking. As the film goes along we find out more and more about Reacher and it’s always presented in a rather smug, “Oh by the way he can also do this!” sort of way that wore on me after a while. This is part origin story in a way but this information seemed forced and cliché. By the time we find out that Reacher is also an expert marksman I’d about had my fill of his greatness. Meanwhile, the way the film is laid out lends itself a little too much towards becoming a TV law procedural which left me a little hollow. Jack Reacher is almost completely devoid of a score and while that has worked well for some films of this sort, this time around I found it to be a little off-putting and it only added to the feeling that the whole thing could have been pared down by 15 or 20 minutes. Most importantly, Jack Reacher has trouble finding itself as it jumps, uncomfortably I might add, between a gritty thriller and a tongue-in-cheek action piece and after a while this becomes frustrating.

The Verdict: Part European-style action film, part outtakes from The A-Team, part origin story for a franchise that probably isn’t going to happen, Jack Reacher has its moments but never fully finds a groove that allows it to excel in any one area.

Jack Reacher Director: Christopher McQuarrie Cast: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Jai Courtney, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog Rated: PG-13 (violence, language) Recommended For: Action fans 12 and up