At the end of 2012, a great year of movies by any standard, a friend and I went to the theaters just to have fun. I didn’t have to review the film; I didn’t have to put on my critical hat. All I had to do was enjoy it and, boy did I.
Jack Reacher, in the hands of a hack, could have been nothing more than a slick B-movie with no reason to exist. Fortunately, it had several things going for it, not the least of which is the director and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie. The Academy Award-winning writer of The Usual Suspects, he proves to be a full-fledged action director with intelligence, which he did not prove with his debut film The Way of the Gun. Also, you would have to be hard-pressed to find a cast that fit the film better.
Jack Reacher is based on the novel One Shot (which, frankly, would be a better title for the movie). It follows a former military man (Tom Cruise) who has found a way to disappear from the world. But, when an acquaintance of his calls him to clear his name in a sniper shooting spree, he re-enters the world and kicks some ass.
Mr. Cruise (Rock of Ages) has been making some better choices recently, after a career-low with 2010’s Knight and Day. Starting with Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol (the best movie in that series), he has returned as a Hollywood superstar. I don’t know what it is, but if you were to tell me one of the big Hollywood stars was my height (5’7”) and a loony Scientologist (“twiddlepoop” was my college professor’s word), I wouldn’t believe you. And, yet, as Reacher, Cruise commands every single shot he’s in. He may not be the best or smartest actor in the world, but damn it, the man knows how to make sweet, sweet love to the camera and he knows how to at least seem like he’s 6.5”
But, he’s not the only good actor in the film. While Rosamund Pike (Wrath of the Titans) remains sex-less with Reacher through the film, she is flashy, sexy, and cleavage—I mean, clever. Also, one of the great American actors, Robert Duvall (Jane Mansfield’s Car), makes an appearance. I mean, seriously, the man needs to be bronzed and worshipped—he’s that good.
If you didn’t see Jack Reacher, take a look—you won’t be disappointed. I’ve yet to find a Regular Joe who didn’t like it and we’re still working on Irregular Joe.
Jack Reacher is available in various formats, which are listed at the end of this review along with retail prices. Check individual packaging for the inclusion of any special features. The extras which are included are an audio commentary, two special features—“When the Man Comes Around” and “You Do Not Mess with Jack Reacher.”
The Movie– ***1/2 out of **** asterisks
Picture– *** out of **** asterisks
Audio– *** out of **** asterisks
Special Features–** out of **** asterisks
Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy, $39.99 (2 Discs)
DVD, $29.99 (1 Disc)
Instant Video, $12.99
Tom Cruise as Reacher
Rosamund Pike as Helen
Richard Jenkins as Rodin
Werner Herzog as The Zec
Jai Courtney as Charlie
Robert Duvall as Cash
Based upon the book One Shot by Lee Child
Producers—Tom Cruise, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Gary Levinsohn, Kevin J. Messick, and Paula Wagner
Paramount Pictures, 130 min.
Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some drug material
Robert Cole is a playwright, critic, and teacher from Walker County, Alabama. More info on his work can be found at www.walstonecounty.com.
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