Jack Reacher (2012)

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom CruiseRosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog, Jai Courtney
Plot: A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller

Awards: -
Runtime: 130min
Rating: PG13 for violence, language and some drug material.



You think I'm a hero? I am not a hero. And if you're smart, that scares you. Because I have nothing to lose.”

Is this the start of a new Tom Cruise franchise? Well, maybe. Cruise plays Jack Reacher, an anti-hero of sorts who doesn't care about the law, has his own methods, and packs a mean punch. He is a ghost, a drifter, hardly reachable. But when you want him, he can surprise you by being within an arm's reach. Sometimes when you don't want him, he can still surprise you by being within an arm's reach. That, ladies and gentlemen, is Jack Reacher.

Based on the novel 'One Shot' by Lee Child, and written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (who won a screenwriting Oscar for The Usual Suspects (1995)), Jack Reacher is a well-executed mystery-thriller that is also refreshingly old-school in approach.

The film draws influences from procedural thrillers of the 1970s. There is a lot of dialogue, spurts of violence, and a requisite key action set-piece in the middle of the film. In Jack Reacher, that set-piece is an extended car chase, with a red vintage coupe no less.

Like The French Connection (1971) and even Ronin (1998), it is a fantastic sequence that blends high-octane thrills with roaring sounds of the engine. Caleb Deschanel's camerawork is stunning; it puts you right into the thick of action with a range of close-ups and quick tracking shots.

What about the story? It starts with a sniper randomly shooting five people dead through a magnifying scope in an unnerving prologue that, in terms of the theme of surveillance, draws some kind of similarities to the opening scene of The Conversation (1974). He is caught and demands for Jack Reacher.

That's when the real story kicks in. An idealist lawyer (Rosamund Pike) gets involved in the open-and-shut case, but there seems to be more to it than meets the eye. This is a mystery that does not exactly keep you riveted, but you will be more than curious to find out what's gonna happen.

Cruise's performance is decent in a non-dramatic way. He lends his considerable presence and charisma to a role that is quite shady. While Pike is equal to the task, it is the two supporting roles by veteran Robert Duvall (The Godfather, 1972; Apocalypse Now, 1979) and legendary German director Werner Herzog (Aguirre,The Wrath of God, 1972; Fitzcarraldo, 1982) that are quite memorable, even if their screen time is limited.

McQuarrie's focus is on story and character. Although it sometimes creak along with one too many a dramatic scene, Jack Reacher scores as a decent treatment of the suspense-thriller genre.

Verdict: Tom Cruise lends his considerable presence in this mystery-thriller that is refreshingly old-school. 


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