Jack Reacher Review

The Plot:

In a fabulously fun take on Lee Child’s novel One Shot, Tom Cruise plays a hardened former military investigator Jack Reacher. When an ex-soldier shoots five innocent civilians in broad daylight, Reacher returns to the US to make sure the man responsible is brought to justice. However all is not as it seems…

The Good:

Whether you are a fan of the book or not, the brilliance of this film is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that it doesn’t patronize its audience. The humour in this film is well placed and mixed in well with all the elements that make it a great action movie.

Tom Cruise makes an excellent Jack Reacher. His delivery of the lines are as dry as a desert and this creates maximum effect as the audience pinch themselves throughout asking “is this guy for real?” He fits the bill physically, despite the fact the character was supposed to be a musclebound 6ft5 in the books.  His height really doesn’t seem an issue on screen and his broody loneliness and dis-engagement with the real world is apparent and clear. There is also the odd feeling of vulnerability for this vigilante which brings out a human side to the character making him far from indestructible, and in some instances, refreshingly out of his depth and control.

Rosamund Pike is an interesting choice for Helen Rodin, the DA’s daughter and lawyer who hires Reacher to be her private investigator in this case.  Her take on the American accent is somewhat distracting at times, but she provides a good sparring partner for Cruise, with a calm versus the storm factor, and the undertones of a romantic involvement which are danced around but never fully played out.

Robert Duvall however, only features in the second half of the film, but brings in an old school heroism feel to the film, that he is simply magnetic in presence and hilarious in delivery. The moment he appears as gun range owner Cash, he gels instantly with Cruise and you feel taken back to Days of Thunder, you can tell they have great chemistry on screen and have remained friends off.

Another surprising casting is Werner Herzog as The Zec. If you were to paint a picture of an action hero nemesis, he would be it, blind in one eye, living in the shadows and thumbless after having to bite it off himself in order to stay alive. He is almost cartoon like in appearance, and the moment he delivers the line “I was born in Siberia…” you know not to take this film too seriously if you hadn’t figured this out before.

The film mixes the serious and the absurd brilliantly. After a tense opening ten minutes that sets the scene effectively, the film introduces the heroic figure of Jack Reacher in a playful and inventive way. It’s pure brilliance and injects a sudden sense of fun that continues throughout the rest of the film. Slap stick fights with hapless henchmen provide easy laugh out loud buffoonery.  The film peaks with an all-out action packed car, gun, fist fighting final scene. It’s so outlandish you really are taken back to the classic Van Damme, Schwarzenneger films of days gone by, a fitting end to the film.

The Bad:

It’s difficult to fault Jack Reacher other than to simply acknowledge that the film doesn’t take itself seriously and audiences could be disappointed if they’re specifically looking for a gritty hard hitting drama. Jack Reacher certainly hit’s hard but only for laughs.

The Ugly Truth:

For all its ridiculousness, Jack Reacher has a knowingly silly stroke of brilliance about it, which makes all its absurdities forgivable. Jack Reacher is a very watchable action romp and fans of the original books won’t be disappointed. Action loving boys will love it and maybe girls will swoon at Tom Cruise in this new action role. The film hits cinemas on the 21st December.


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