Today: May 14, 2024
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Jack Reacher

The Internet kicked up a huge fuss after it was announced that Tom Cruise was playing Jack Reacher.

by Matt Isard

The Internet kicked up a
huge fuss after it was announced that Tom Cruise was playing Jack Reacher.
Objections centred on the fact that in the books the film is
based on, Reacher is a towering 6ft 5 while Cruise has been reported as being
somewhere between 5ft 7 and 5ft 9. But besides the height issue, casting Cruise
is perfect because Reacher is the same character Cruise plays in all his films.
What the Internet should have been more concerned over is how dire it was to
become.

Based on Lee Child’s 9th Jack Reacher novel, One Shot, Jack Reacher sees war veteran James Barr arrested due to airtight
evidence linking him to the shooting of five people. Instead of pleading guilty
Carr asks former MP and freelance vigilante Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) to investigate. It is up to him and Barr’s lawyer Helen
Rodin (a disappointingly over-the-top Rosamund
Pike
) to prove Barr’s innocence.

Aimed at men who felt that The
Expendables
was too obvious but Bond
is no longer obvious enough, Reacher is everything they could want in an action
hero. Smart enough to spot the clues, strong enough to take on five men, good
looking enough to have any girl, talented enough to be the best. Although this
has proved to be a winning formula for Cruise in the past, being the perfect
action man no longer works in a genre where audiences want leads with
imperfections. Bond is stone-hearted, Sherlock is socially-stunted, Iron Man is
a drinker. But Reacher’s perfection robs him of any emotional attachment; you just
don’t care whether he succeeds in his mission. Instead his obvious flawlessness
leaves you wanting to punch him in the face; but be warned, you would need to
run fast afterwards.

On top of an irritating lead, the script is appalling. It tries to
fit in too many one-liners in an attempt to become a classic quotable film.
However the dialogue falls flat, missing the epic quote-ability of Die Hard or
Air Force One. When Reacher refuses to show I.D. a manager says: “I got to see
something,” and Reaches responds: “How about the inside of an ambulance?” Lines
like this are not even funny in a bad way.

The film also fails to go into any depth behind characters’
motivations and relationships, instead we’re given brief, unsatisfactory explanations
that do nothing to answer the deeper questions. It feels as if the writers
could not be bothered to dig further into the characters than they truly had
to.

But it is not all bad since the action parts are done very well. With
no music obscuring the roar of engines or the crack of guns, the car chases and
fight scenes are exhilarating to watch. They are all kept to a tight time so
that your attention never drifts away from what is going on but instead you are
gripped.

Ultimately, Jack Reacher won’t satisfy the modern action film
lover. It adds nothing new and does little well instead simply ticking off the
usual boxes. This is extra disappointing since the film’s director and
screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie
wrote the screenplay for The Usual
Suspect
, one of the best mystery films of all time. Still, the action thrills and no film
where bonkers Teutonic film director Werner
Herzog
plays a baddie can be all bad.

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