Jack Reacher

27 Apr

jack reacher


Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Writers: Christopher McQuarrie (screenplay), Lee Child (based on the book “One Shot” by)

Stars: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 130 minutes



I have not read any of the 17 Lee Child books featuring the character Jack Reacher, but I was aware of the controversy surrounding the casting of Tom Cruise. Reacher is described as being 6’5” tall, as having a 50” chest, of weighing approx 110 kgs and being a dirty blonde. That’s the Cruiser down pat right? Hardly, but Tom is anything if not confident. And he really does give this a good go and apparently surprised the most ardent of Reacher fans.

It is easy to see why Cruise chased this role. Reacher is a cool character, created for 40-something fanboys to admire. Jack Reacher says very little, he’s as hard as nails, a gentleman with the ladies, beholden to nobody and he delivers some great one-liners. I am sure that Lee Child looked to mash up James Bond, Jason Bourne and any of those Seagal / Van Damme / Norris b-movie fighters of yesteryear when he first sat down at his typewriter. His work is not culturally significant or particularly novel, but it is entertaining enough judged by this film.

The start of this adaptation is very good. It’s exciting and interesting as a lone sniper sets to work terrorizing city folk. The entrance of Reacher is handled cleverly and I was pleasantly surprised by how tight the first ca. 30 minutes were. Unfortunately the plot misfires thereafter and the whole film becomes rather daft –there is a large, shadowy and evil company involved and Werner Herzog appears as a sort of crazy super villain. The plot has too many holes in it and Rosamund Pike is horribly miscast as the city’s public defendant.

All in all Jack Reacher is a solid character and this is a solid piece of Saturday night entertainment. It is all too obvious and has mostly been seen elsewhere before, but Tom Cruise gives it a lift. The action is good and there are some witty lines. As this is film number 1 from 17 books (and counting), I got the feeling that the film-makers tried too hard to cram in too many Reacher cod philosophy quotes and anecdotes. Yes he’s a solitary ex-soldier living ‘off the grid’, but we don’t need reminding every 5 minutes! Subtlety is largely missing from this affair. Maybe in the next one?

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