The Fandom Post

Anime, Movies, Comics, Entertainment & More

Jack Reacher Review

7 min read
Jack Reacher
Jack Reacher

When Reacher comes to fulfill a promise he made, events turn far more deadly than he could have imagined.

What They Say:
One morning in an ordinary town, five people are shot dead in a seemingly random attack. All evidence points to a single suspect: an ex-military sniper who is quickly brought into custody. The man’s interrogation yields one statement: Get Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). Reacher, an enigmatic ex-Army investigator, believes the authorities have the right man but agrees to help the sniper’s defense attorney (Rosamund Pike). However, the more Reacher delves into the case, the less clear-cut it appears.

The Review:
Based on a lengthy series of novels involving the character Jack Reacher, the film is adapted from the 2005 film One Shot as written by Lee Child. I’ve never read the novels or heard of the character prior to the film going into the film but I know there are many strong brands within the fiction community that rarely gets a big mainstream audience overall. But there are millions of readers over many, many novels, and this one has a good fan base. One that certainly didn’t like Tom Cruise getting involved here since he’s not the image of the character, but as Child said, it wouldn’t get made otherwise and it really is true there are few bankable male actors that could pull off the role. I can’t say that Cruise handled the character adaptation well, but I will admit as it got into the final fight scene where it’s all physical, he definitely had the right approach to it that made it believable that he’d use his size and physique to disarm opponents in an easier way.

The feature takes place in Pittsburgh where we see someone in a parking garage overlooking the stadium pull out a sniper rifle and start taking down multiple targets, leaving five dead in all. The police arrive quickly and because of various events that happened when the shooting went on, they were able to find the shooter quickly. Of course, we see the shooter when he was taking down the targets and it’s a very different person than who is brought into custody, though he fits the profile perfectly, says nothing and only writes down one thing after a lengthy questioning period. Suspect James Barr wants a man named Jack Reacher. Unfortunately, before anything else can really be done, he’s sent to general for holding, gets beaten heavily and ends up in a coma so nobody can ask anything else. It’s all very pat, clean and easy where you really don’t need to ask any questions.

Not surprisingly, the shooting makes national news and catches the eye of Reacher, who quickly makes his way there. Reacher’s background is laid out clearly early on and it’s certainly impressive, up until he left military service a couple of years prior and has gone off the grid ever since. He’s an all around tough guy with strong deductive skills and the kind of calm and controlled side to his personality that just has a dangerous edge to it. What we discover is that he has a past connection ti Barr, having investigated him when Barr served in the military overseas and got into some serious trouble as a sniper himself. The circumstances are certainly intriguing and could be a movie all on its own. But the result of the encounter between the two men boiled down to a promise made between them that should Barr shoot someone in this mode once again, Reacher would come and essentially end him.

What complicates things for Reacher is that Barr’s defense attorney, Helen Rodin (daughter of the district attorney no less) has taken on the case as she wants to make sure that he gets justice. It’s not that she believes he’s innocent, but so many things are lined up against him that nobody wants to take it on. She ends up comign across Reacher and realizes that even though he has his agenda to deal with, she knows she can use him as an investigator to get to the truth. With Barr in a coma, Reacher isn’t exactly convinced, but there are other elements that aren’t glad to see him there and start to push him out, thinking some simple low level thuggery will do it. But that just hints to him that there’s more going on and he takes on the job of figuring out what’s really going on. In a lot of ways, this is a pretty straightforward film where it deals with a larger picture that’s exposed bit by bit with what’s going on. The story doesn’t surprise too much when you get the full view of it and in many ways it feels like a well done TV investigation serial series just blown up a bit bigger and tighter.

And that, unfortunately, is the main problem. If you’ve got experience with these kinds of stories, you can pick off the villains, the guilty and where it’s going with its end set pieces as more of it is revealed. With Christopher McQuarrie directing it and having done the screenplay based on the novel, I really expected more out of it on this front. While I didn’t think we’d get another Usual Suspects since it is an adaptation, the film really feels by the numbers since so much of it is revealed from the start. When it starts exploring the victims lives, the red flags go up pretty quickly and you realize how it’s all going to tie together. When it comes to doing that, it’s all well done on that technical level as well which is a big plus. It’s certainly enjoyable to watch, even if it does feel like it has to shoehorn in a car chase scene. That at least has a more honest feel to it in a way since Cruise has many, many years of experience in this field both on screen and off which made it pretty engaging to watch with some creative moments, though spoiled by the trailer.

When it comes to the cast, Cruise does well enough in the role and feels like that kind of military cop that you’d expect that would cause problems over the long run and just disappear once that part of his life is over. I totally understand where fans are coming from, but what he brings to the screen here works well and he’s not without fault and makes mistakes along the way with some cost. I was really glad to see Rosamund Pike on the big screen again here playing Helen as I’ve liked her since her time as a Bond girl. The film works with a decent supporting cast, with Richard Jenkins having a good small part in a familiar role as well as Werner Herzog stepping in as the big bad overall. Robert Duvall left me a bit cold with his gun range owner schtick as something about it just felt forced, but he figures well into the final act without overpowering it. Add in David Oyelowo as a detective who finds it all to be an open and shut case and Jai Courtney as the danger lurking in the darkness and it doesn’t bring a ton of big name star value but some solid performances.

In Summary:
I didn’t go into Jack Reacher with huge expectations and I didn’t have a wide array of novel knowledge to influence it either. I continue to be the only one within my closer social circle that actively likes Tom Cruise so it wasn’t a feature gaining a lot of traction among there either. The film has some good points to it and it’s a technically strong work that doesn’t overuse its music in order to build it to more than it is. Everyone turns in good performances, especially if you’re going in like I am with it, and it’s a good story that plays out but it is one that’s very familiar and has an almost by the numbers approach. I like what they did and I enjoyed it on that level, but I can also say that if you plugged in characters from any number of investigation style shows out there you wouldn’t get too many differences overall. There’s enough to like here to recommend it in a general sense, but not worth going to the theater to see unless you’re a fan of the novels and want to see it early on for yourself to see if it adapts it well or just doesn’t work. I think it works overall, but it’s not something to go see on the big screen.

Grade: B-

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.