Jack Reacher (2012) – Review

3 Stars

Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher, the hero of author Lee Child’s ongoing series of novels. Much has been written about the physical discrepancy between the description of Reacher (as envisioned by Child) and the presence of the average sized Cruise. To hell with that, Cruise owns the role, bringing his steely-eyed determination and single minded focus to catch a sniper that has attacked five seemingly random targets in a very public place. Director Christopher McQuarrie has fashioned a violent military thriller that’s twisty and compelling enough to hook viewers in the mood for a trashy good time.

James Barr, an ex military man with a history of committing murder is accused of slaughtering a group of civilians with a high powered rifle. After hours of interrogation Barr asks the police to find Jack Reacher. So they do and Reacher is working the case in an unofficial manner. Barr’s court appointed attorney is the daughter of the district attorney and Reacher’s former lover. The plot gets a little bogged down during the second act and the villain as played by veteran director Werner Herzog, is fantastic but underutilized. The inclusion of Robert Duvall in a bit part, is a nice piece of stunt casting.

Jack Reacher is a stylish and effective, if slightly overlong, thriller that isn’t afraid to employ familiar plot devices. The acting is fine. The ensemble is strong. The story moves along, but the plot is a nonsensical mess. The problem with this movie, entertaining though it is, is that it’s not close to anyone’s best work. Still a compelling argument can be made, that Reacher is an acceptable new franchise for Cruise who seems to be looking to step away from the Mission: Impossible flicks.

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Rosamund Pike

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