Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog, Robert Duvall, David Oyelowo.
Written by: Christopher McQuarrie and (book: One Shot) Lee Child
Running Time: 130 mins
Release date: 26th December 2012
Before this even hit the sound stage, there was huge controversy surrounding it. How can diminutive Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise play the 6 foot plus creation of Lee Child. Fans of the successful series of books were not happy about the casting. Well the film has finally arrived and haven’t not read one of the books, I think I can say that unless Reacher’s army of supporters are incredibly closed minded, then they will really enjoy this smart, intelligent and funny action thriller, even with Cruise in the role.
Ex-army sniper Barr, randomly shoots five seemingly unconnected bystanders. This seems like an open and shut case for the District Attorney. His prints are everywhere and his home is a bullet making haven. Even his defence lawyer, Helen, is only there to keep him from being sent to Death Row. The one thing that Barr writes on a pad is to get Jack Reacher. Reacher, a former cop for the military, has been a drifter for years, no records, no address but suddenly he appears and soon is hired by Helen to help investigate the case. As they get deeper and deeper into it, Reacher realises that some things don’t sit properly and why is he being followed?
I really don’t want to give too much away, plot-wise, because this is a real Christmas cracker. A fully fledge blockbuster that ticks all the right boxes. Writer director Christopher McQuarrie (he was responsible for the script to The Usual Suspects) has taken Child’s source material and produced a really smart film, full of smart conversations that make sense (give or take a few contrivances). He has believable characters played by good actors and the whole film has an old-fashioned feel to it that works. It’s like we’ve gone back to the old action thrillers of the 70s and 80s, thanks to a lack of CGI, real stunts and a tone of all the good things from the past.
The cast are all first rate. Rosamund Pike, who for years has been playing relatively small roles since making an impact in the Bond film, Die Another Day, here gets a role she can sink her teeth in and she delivers nicely. With her big, blue eyes and near perfect skin, she may look a little too glamorous for a lawyer but she manages to make Helen a believable one. The always reliable Richard Jenkins just appears and seems like he isn’t doing anything at all and yet he is still good and nice to see Robert Duvall back on screen and playing a feisty shooting range owner.
Film fans get a real treat in seeing award-winning German director Werner Herzog actually acting as a mysterious, fingerless baddie but while the surrounding cast are fine, this is definitely a Tom Cruise movie.
Many would say that his private life may not be one they would like to follow and some don’t even like him because he IS Tom Cruise. That’s fine but it’s very hard to deny that as a film star, he has plenty of charisma and he holds this whole production together. He holds his own in the many fight sequences (one in particularly is very funny and seems to involve the most inept heavies around) while still managing to be charming and delivering the one liners the way that Bruce Willis could in Die Hard. So it might not be a stretch of his acting abilities but he uses his star quality and it really does shine here.
The action scenes are well executed and again they are all here for you to enjoy: fights, car chases, shoot-outs. All present and correct. It’s also a very funny film with plenty of laughs in between the series stuff and the real strength lies in the writing. Like his previous, Oscar winning work, McQuarrie writes smart dialogue that just crackles on the screen and being given the responsibility of directing, he holds everything together well, the pacing, the set pieces (he is currently in talks to write and direct the next Mission: Impossible film). At 130 mins long, it whizzes by. If there is one word of caution, it is very violent and I am surprised it passed as a 12A (especially after the tragic events recently in America).
If you have eaten too much turkey and you can’t find one decent thing on the TV, then get yourself down to the cinema and enjoy one of the last of this year’s big blockbusters. Jack Reacher’s the parts other action films cannot reach (or haven’t in along while).