Jack Reacher
dir-scr Christopher McQuarrie
prd Tom Cruise, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Gary Levinsohn, Kevin J Messick, Paula Wagner
with Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog, Robert Duvall, Jai Courtney, Alexia Fast, Joseph Sikora, Josh Helman, Michael Raymond-James, James Martin Kelly
release US 21.Dec.12, UK 26.Dec.12
12/US Paramount 2h10
Jack Reacher
Man of mystery: Pike and Cruise

jenkins oyelowo herzog
See also:
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Jack Reacher The action hero from Lee Child's novels transitions to the big screen in a figurative rather than literal way. In the books, he's a 6-foot-5 blond-haired, blue-eyed muscle-man, which doesn't exactly bring Tom Cruise to mind. But the film has a driving internal logic that makes it a lot of fun.

In Pittsburgh, Detective Emerson (Oyelowo) and DA Rodin (Jenkins) are sure they've got their man when all clues in a multiple murder lead them to a loner gun nut (Sikora). Then man of mystery Jack Reacher (Cruise) arrives to shake up the case, offering to help defence lawyer Helen (Pike) prove her client's innocence. Reacher is ex-Army, off-the-grid and dismissive of the rules, so of course he quickly solves the case. But this puts him and Helen in danger from a vicious Russian (Herzog) and his henchman (Courtney).

McQuarrie even writes this kind of nonsensical spy action with style and intelligence. So it's consistently engaging, even if there's not much beyond the Bourne-style questions of identity and morality. Indeed, Jack has dropped out of society because he can no longer stomach the grey-scale relativism; he'd much rather dispense his own brand of rough justice and vanish without a trace. He doesn't even have a change of clothes, let alone a car, weapon or mobile phone.

Cruise knows exactly what to do here: stand as tall as possible while flexing that rock-hard jawline and putting on his best hard-as-nails glare. If that doesn't work, quick fight moves will do. In other words, it's not so easy to separate Jack from Cruise's rogue Mission: Impossible agent, although this film is darker and leaner. But it's also just as sexless. We only know he's straight because of some tepid flirting with the always terrific Pike.

As he bounces off co-stars and lets them steal the scenes, Cruise's on-screen generosity makes every scene enjoyable. Duvall has the most fun in this sense, although Oyelowo holds his own as the hardline cop, and Herzog injects some mad genius. It's a bit annoying that the film is little more than a ripping little thriller with some cool characters in it. But then it never tries to be anything else, which is rather refreshing.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 8.Dec.12

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Jack Reacher Laurie Taylor, Minneapolis: "I have read all the Jack Reacher series written by Lee Child and so have many of my friends. None of us wanted to go to the movie because Tom Cruise is not the Jack Reacher we picture in our minds - he just doesn't fit. That being said, my husband wanted to go see the movie, so we did. A couple questions here: Is there a height requirement for Military Police? And was there some rule that no one on the movie could stand taller than Tom? Cuz I gotta say, I did not hate the movie, and may have even liked it if I had not read the books. Tom Cruise came across as a tough smart guy - however, sorry, he just ain't Jack Reacher. But if one has not read the books, it is believable." (28.Dec.12)
© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall