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“Jack Reacher” – Review (POSITIVE)

December 25, 2012

Screen shot 2012-12-25 at 10.30.37 AM

Lee Child’s loan wolf of an anti-hero, Jack Reacher, was written to be 6’4″, 250lbs, and to be known as a force to be reckon with. I’ve never read any of the Reacher books, so I wasn’t made aware of this until the first trailer came out, when a disgruntled fan commented that the casting of Tom Cruise was an abomination. After its release fans of the character are still a little split on the casting choice, but there’s no denying it; Tom Cruise owns that role and truly made it his own. With an entertaining performance by Cruise, and a somewhat cool conspiracy thriller plot, “Jack Reacher” is quite the movie I wasn’t expecting it to be, fun and entertaining.

Based on the 9th book in the Jack Reacher series, OneShot, in this adaptation the story is set in the innocent heartland city of Pittsburgh, five ‘random’ civilians are shot dead by an expert sniper. The police quickly identify and arrest the culprit, an Iraqi sniper vet named Barr (Joseph Sikora). The D.A. (Richard Jenkins) has built a slam-dunk case on Barr, but the accused man claims he’s innocent and says “Get Jack Reacher.” Reacher (Cruise) himself sees the news report and turns up in the city. The defense is immensely relieved, but Reacher has come to bury the guy. Shocked at the accuser’s request, Reacher sets out to confirm for himself the absolute certainty of the man’s guilt, but comes up with more than he bargained for.

The one great thing to take away from this movie is that it doesn’t fall into the trap of the typical cliché Hollywood crime thriller niches. The character of Jack is so blunt and straight foreword with the gods honest truth about what’s to conspire, it’s something that has been sorely missed in a character like this, one could argue the last time we’ve seen a character like Jack Reacher was Dirty Harry. Perhaps Jack is the Callahan for today’s post-9/11 generation? Cruise knows how to a pick a role to invest his time and effort in, for crying out loud, “Rock of Ages” is one of the WORST movies of the year, yet everyone of Cruise’s scenes was far more interesting than any of the other principal characters. The good thing about “Jack Reacher” is that it’s simply a fun movie and Cruise makes the best of the 2-hour runtime for his fans and random audiences alike.

I will bestow a mild warning, due to the recent events that have conspired in our country, more importantly the horrendous event at Sandy Hook Elementary, the opening to this movie has been released under what is being called, ‘bad timing’. The opening involves a madman sniper who fires shots onto random civilians. There’s a POV from the scope of the sniper and it basically dances the screen from person to person, one target is pointed at a small child, no older than 6 yrs of age. Thankfully the child wasn’t harmed, but it’s one of those moments where we reflect about the comparisons of real-life and the fictional world of cinema. Where should the line be crossed? How far should a movie really take itself? Fans of Jack Reacher argued that this opening is verbatim like the opening to the book; still it’s something I think many people should take into account before viewing the film.

Werner Herzog, the mad man German filmmaker, plays a Bond-like villain who I wish had a lot more screen time, because Herzog’s presence in the film was a great reminder just how fuckin’ scary this guy can be; for crying out loud he has a gun pointed at someone’s head, forcing them to chew off their own fingers, or they get a cap in the head. CRAZY! He’s in the movie probably for a total of 10 minutes and from the looks of the film it looked like he was being set up for a future film…unlikely now. But, the real disappointing aspect of the film was the ending, with such a major car chase, the best I’ve seen in ages, and high octane fire fight in a construction zone, the ending just seemed to run out of gas and became anti-climactic. It’s obvious that they’re setting this up for a future franchise, and quite frankly I think Cruise should pursue more Jack Reacher films, because there’s no question this is the most fun I’ve seen him do since the first “Mission: Impossible”…and “Ghost Protocol” from last year.

GRADE: B

 

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