Jack Reacher (2012) Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike and Richard Jenkins. IMDB says: “AA homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.”
You guys know about my affinity towards crime thrillers right? In particular, those 90’s style mysteries that lightly echo memories of really good Lifetime movies. Alright, maybe not that bad, but what I’m trying to say is that I’m a sucker for the Kiss The Girls and The Bone Collector’s of the world. If you remember back to when I wrote my hate-filled review for Alex Cross, I was really disappointed that the movie missed the mark so hardcore. Why am I bringing all this up? Because Jack Reacher is finally the film to step up to the plate and give me the interesting lead, engaging mystery and suspense-driven action sequences I have been waiting for.
Similar to Alex Cross, Jack Reacher is also based on a very successful crime novel series. The film version obviously centers the title character played by Tom Cruise, who despite being a few fries short of a Happy Meal, is an actor I’m almost always entertained by. He keeps it up playing Jack, an ex-military cop that now drifts around the country completely under the radar and apparently just shows up wherever he is needed. This time, he shows up for a man that asked for him by name after he was taken into custody for the suspected killing of five innocent strangers. Jack eventually teams up with Helen, the defense attorney (Rosamund Pike,) to help her navigate the case that he knows isn’t what it first appears to be. The rest of the flick has all the usual trademarks: detective work, clues, fights and car chases. And it’s awesome.
It’s all pretty silly taken out of context. Jack always has a smartass quip, Helen is continually one step behind the conspiracy and the villain is an accent-heavy former Siberian prisoner (played by Werner Herzog.) But the movie is very self-aware of this and plays to the house. There are more than a handful of moments where you might wonder if what you’re watching is intentionally hilarious or just so bad it’s good. After the first few though, it doesn’t really matter. You’ll be having a ball and enjoying the ride. But all of that is not to say that the whole movie isn’t taken seriously. It’s easy to notice the competent direction at work with a few scenes that succeed at elevating the film beyond your typical action fare. For example the car chases are phenomenal, shot from a third party perspective that latches on right to the hood of the action. Combining that with the excellent choreography, and it quickly absorbs every ounce of your attention. There is also a balancing act happening within the film between a detective conspiracy theory and high octane thrills. It’s well paced and rarely drags, largely thanks to the Tom Cruise charisma. You’ll be rooting for Reacher early on to take down the bad guy and any other fool standing in his way.
Jack Reacher is worth your time and money if you look forward to crime thrillers like me. I am already wanting to watch it again and I hope that more sequels will follow.
FTS SCORE: 82%
Jack Reacher is out in theaters December 21st.