Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on December 21, 2012
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Written by Christopher McQuarrie, based on the novel by Lee Child
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog, Jai Courtney, Robert Duvall, Joseph Sikora, Michael Raymond-James, Alexia Fast, James Martin Kelly, Nicole Forester, Vladimor Sizov
I went into this not having yet read author Lee Child’s crime thriller novel One Shot, which this movie was based on, so the casting of Tom Cruise in the lead role of Jack Reacher did not affect me as much as say, my father, who had read that and a few other Reacher stories, and who along with other fans of the series was troubled by the fact that a 6½-foot, 250-pound tough-as-nails ex-MP was being played by the less-intimidating Cruise.
I like Cruise in most everything he does, and here my feelings were no different; I thought he filled these shoes very well, and created a sense of confidence and toughness in Reacher that made you well aware that he was not someone to be messed with. I especially got a kick out of Reacher’s understated smart-ass comments and retorts—which added an unexpected layer to his mindset—and I loved how they were delivered by Cruise; this aspect alone had me hoping that a few follow-up films were on the horizon.
Here, Reacher teams up with a female defense attorney—played by Rosamund Pike—to clear the name of a former U.S. Army sniper accused of five senseless and apparently random killings; his investigation leads to some inconsistencies in the evidence, which in turn gets Reacher in dutch with both the local authorities and the Russian mob. Along with Cruise, the supporting cast did their jobs well (although I spent the entire film thinking Jai Courtney was Tom Hardy) and the use of familiar and not-so-familiar Pittsburgh locations was a plus to the authenticity of the story.
Unfortunately, two other aspects of the presentation bothered me enough that I lowered my rating by a point. One, for establishing that the guy was so stellar at what he did, and was skilled at not being blindsided, many times Reacher didn’t seem too careful about what he was doing and where he was stepping. And two, the inevitable ‘big ending’ Hollywood showdown betrayed the tone and attitude that had already been established, and had me wondering if it varied from that of the source novel (and as I later found out, it did).
Those quibbles aside, this was still an entertaining crime thriller, filled with no-nonsense characters and a hero who was easy to pull for, which was complimented by the fine work of Cruise and the direction of Christopher McQuarrie, both of whom are apparently set to team up again for the next Mission: Impossible installment. If you’re a fan of the novels, at least give this incarnation a shot; for everyone else, I think it’s well worth your while. (7/10)