After the very poor Alex Cross, I was a bit apprehensive over going to see JACK REACHER. Coupled with the fact that I am not the biggest fan of Tom Cruise and the odds were stacked against this being anything but a turkey, at least for me. Thankfully, I rather enjoyed this film, even if it was a love fest for Tom Cruise (by now I come to expect that.)
The premise of the movie is that a discharged army sniper is accused of shooting and killing six people in front of what appears to be a stadium of some sort. The evidence is stacked against him and it seems to be an open and shut case. While being interviewed, the sniper writes two words on a pad given to him to write his confession “GET JACK REACHER”.
Jack Reacher, played by Cruise, is a ghost. According to all records he doesn’t exist. He leaves no digital footprint. The only activity in his name is the fact his pension check from the army gets cashed in. He was a sort of investigator/cop in the army and he had investigated the sniper, named James Barr, when he killed three contractors in Iraq at the end of his tour. He would have been jailed, had it not been for the fact that these three men had raped and killed a number of women that day.
At first, Jack is convinced that James is guilty based on his past actions, but after meeting his defence lawyer, played by Rosammund Pike, he decides to investigate the case further. Its only then does he find that the scene and the evidence was too perfect. This coupled with the fact that the shots that Barr had supposedly carried out were above his ability, Reacher and Helen, the defence lawyer conclude that Barr is being set up to take the fall. At first it is not clear why, but due to some convenient deduction by Reacher, the true motives are revealed.
Up to that point the movie was really good, but here it takes the jump into just doing things or having evidence present itself in an effort to move the film along. Whether this is a reflection of the book, or if it was the decision of the filmmakers to progress the film along quicker in an effort to get to the main showdown, I don’t know. All I do know is that it becomes like every other clichéd action movie that Cruise has been in before.
The part that really had me rolling my eyes and chuckle is when Jack has ambushed the real villain of the shooting. He has him at gunpoint, yet instead of shooting him, Reacher throws down his gun and the two have a good old fisticuffs. It made no sense, other than to show that Reacher was the big bad tough guy, even though his adversary was taller, stronger and muscular than Reacher.
By the end of the film we are given some sort of explanation on how the shootings took place, and I admit it was rather clever but I still don’t fully understand why. The reason six people were killed was to hide the hit on one of the six victims who was going to the bank to secure a loan in order to prevent a big company from buying the construction firm she had inherited after her husband died. Why the big company was buying up smaller construction companies is still a mystery and why they resorted to murder is still unclear.
As for Tom Cruise, he was really good as Jack Reacher. He played this character really well, but this isn’t surprising as there are numerous similarities between this one and the character he plays in the Mission Impossible movies. The movie is an attempt to show that he is still this lady killer who can still attract his leading lady. In this case, it was a bit of a misstep.
By trying to force an attraction between Tom Cruise and Rosammund Pike’s character, it ends up being cringe worthy. There is no sexual chemistry between the two of them. This is made obvious when Helen is in Jack’s hotel room, talking over some points of the case. Cruise is shirtless, of course, and this is supposed to distract Helen from her train of thought. She makes some comment about him putting on a shirt. It comes across very flat and would have worked better if she was saying put your shirt on, it ain’t working mate, rather than that way, but then it kind of puts a dent on the fact that Cruise is some sort of hunk.
Overall, I really liked this film and it is very different from the Mission Impossible movies. This is more grounded in reality and though many fans of the books were up in arms about Tom Cruises casting as Jack Reacher, he manages to pull it off.