Josh Wilding Reviews: JACK REACHER

Despite the fact that the likes of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Django Unchained are currently dominating the top of the box office, there's another big release out at the moment in the form of Christopher McQuarrie's Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise. Here's my verdict...

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By Josh Wilding - 12/28/2012
Despite its somewhat bland title, Jack Reacher is actually one of the most exciting and well crafted action thrillers of 2012. While it currently faces some stiff competition at the North American box office due to the release of Django Unchained and Les Miserables on Christmas Day, you would be foolish to miss out on what is sure to be the beginning of an exciting new franchise for Tom Cruise now that his tenure as 'Ethan Hunt' seems to be winding down. Both the character of Reacher and the tone of the film itself couldn't be any different from the Mission Impossible franchise. Of course, it should come as no surprise to learn that Cruise is on fine form here and despite having a much smaller stature than the 'Jack Reacher' from Lee Child's novels, he never fails to deliver in terms of action or being a believably intimidating presence.

Writer Christopher McQuarrie (best known for penning the likes of The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie and next year's The Wolverine) makes the decision to also sit in the director's chair for the first time since 2000's The Way of the Gun. He makes some great decisions when it comes to shooting the film and the opening in particular is a real standout sequence, as is the main car chase sequence later on. It's also surprising just how brutal a lot of the action is, and although Cruise is an actor who it's hard to imagine ever failing to convince in this type of role, a lot of that does hinge on McQuarrie's work here. If he's not offered a comic book movie after this film, then we're all seriously missing out (although one can't help but hope a sequel to Jack Reacher is given the green light).

Having never read any of Lee Child's books (including One Shot; the novel that this film is specifically based on), I can't comment on the faithfulness of this adaptation, but it is clear that Jack Reacher is based on some very good source material; source material which I intend to check out very soon. Although the film is obviously focused on Cruise, there are plenty of other performances here which are noteworthy. Jai Courtney ('Charlie') is perhaps the biggest surprise and I for one am now 100x more excited for next year's A Good Day to Die Hard having seen seen him take on a role such as this one. Rosamund Pike ('Helen') is great, while Richard Jenkins ('Rodin') and David Oyelowo ('Emerson') also impress. Alexia Fast ('Sandy') has only a minor role, but she's definitely one of those actresses you can't help but hope to see again in future.

Jack Reacher could have easily been one of the best movies of the year, but lets itself down in several key areas. It feels a tad overlong in places and there are several characters who just feel totally unnecessary to the story. Take Werner Herzog's villainous 'Zec' for example. While he's a frightening presence (at one point he gives a goon the choice of either biting his own fingers off or being killed), it's as if he was only thrown in there to give the film a "big" villain. There are also more than a few clichéd plot points and twists which are admittedly a staple of films such as this one, but mean that the otherwise strong screenplay sometimes lacks originality and any major surprises which you won't see coming from a mile off. However, that's not to say that Christopher McQuarrie's script isn't good and none of these faults are too detrimental to the quality of the film. The dialogue is fantastic (Tom Cruise is given the best material and clearly enjoys it) and there are still plenty of inspired story decisions despite the odd cliché.

Jack Reacher is a flawed but intelligent action thriller which fires on all cylinders thanks to the perfect pairing of Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise. Don't miss it!









When a gunman takes five lives with six shots, all evidence points to the suspect in custody. On interrogation, the suspect offers up a single note: "Get Jack Reacher!" So begins an extraordinary chase for the truth, pitting Jack Reacher against an unexpected enemy, with a skill for violence and a secret to keep.


STARRING:

Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher
Rosamund Pike as Helen Rodin
Richard Jenkins as Alex Rodin
David Oyelowo as Emerson
Werner Herzog as The Zec
Jai Courtney as Charlie
Alexia Fast as Sandy

RELEASE DATE: Out Now!


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41 Comments
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TheOneAboveAll - 12/28/2012, 12:10 PM
four out of five huh?
valeriesghost - 12/28/2012, 12:18 PM
I have a hard time getting excited about anything Tom Cruise is in.
DioFoRio - 12/28/2012, 12:20 PM
I've heard good things about this flick. People say that Tom kicks as in this.
DioFoRio - 12/28/2012, 12:21 PM
turble name for a movie though. With the likes of Remo Williams And Leonard part 6
RobinNumbah6 - 12/28/2012, 12:21 PM
I didn't like the actress
fortycals - 12/28/2012, 12:34 PM
As a big fan of the lee childs reacher series, I was more than a bit dissapointed to find out Cruise brought the rights and cast himself. Everything about Cruise is opposite that of the character, size, look, demeanor. Although Cruise is a good actor, I just didnt see it as a good fit. One question before I decide, does Cruise or the screenplay give off the KungFu, man who walks the earth with only the clothes on his back, vibe? Definately check out the books though. Some of them are on my favorite of all time.
KaneVonDoom - 12/28/2012, 12:38 PM
It always seems like Tom Cruise is in Great movies with great concepts, excellent direction and well written roles. He's a good performer but my reaction has always been just meh to him. He hasn't necessarily done anything wrong and I could give a damn less about his personal life, I'm just never convinced. Even for a second.
fortycals - 12/28/2012, 12:39 PM
@dionysios
please refrain from trashing two of the best movies ever put to film. lol really though I love those movies for their awfullness. I still sleep with butter on my nightstand to battle killer lobsters.
mk - 12/28/2012, 12:48 PM
lol my stepdad just hated tom cruise more cause of him playing jack reacher..
Godzillafart - 12/28/2012, 1:02 PM
4 Stars!
HarrisonBergeron - 12/28/2012, 1:32 PM
I cannot believe that anyone liked this movie. I though that Cruise's "acting" was incredibly flat, which didn't really matter because the story was so bland.

Everything of importance to the story was just told to the audience, the action and events on screen were mostly filler.

The comic relief moments were just ridiculous. The two stooges in the bathroom and blending in to the bus stop were way out of left field.

Not to mention that the opening sequence should have gotten the release postponed a little. "Gangster Squad" got pushed back months and re-edited after Aurora, which seemed like overkill, but releasing a movie based on a mass shooting exactly one week after Sandy Hook was tasteless.
Stumblin - 12/28/2012, 1:34 PM
Something about the trailer makes me feel like they're trying too hard with this movie. I'll skip it and wait for it on Redbox.
CherryBomb - 12/28/2012, 1:54 PM
If Rosamund 'Emma Frost' Pike is in the movie, then I'm definitely watching.
She's an amazing actress.


LAXtremest - 12/28/2012, 2:05 PM
This movie was great. 8/10 for me. Just watched the Hobbit. You can read my REVIEW HERE(7.5). Will be watching Django Unchained tomorrow in a string of watching movies that will certainly not be matched again.
LAXtremest - 12/28/2012, 2:07 PM
@Cherrybomb- That woman got hotter as the movie went on, my friend and I both agreed.
LAXtremest - 12/28/2012, 2:09 PM
I don't blame Josh for his ratings. If that's how he feels then that's how he feels. I thought this was a great year for movies personally.
CPIXLEY - 12/28/2012, 2:22 PM
I just can't see Tom Cruise as a legitimate threat.
Maximus101 - 12/28/2012, 2:28 PM
I heard the first 45 minutes of the movie was awesome but then the rest was terrible. I decided to pass on it and see django which was very entertaining.
Maximus101 - 12/28/2012, 2:31 PM
So danger that one big marvel movie doesn't deserve a 5 then cause of the issues it had?
JoshWilding - 12/28/2012, 2:40 PM
IM53: Django isn't released here until next month, but it was pretty busy - Tom Cruise films always seem to do great on this side of the pond though (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol really was packed out last year).

fortycals: Definitely!

DangerStranger: Films with "severe issues" in YOUR opinion, not MINE.

LAXtremist: Glad to hear you enjoyed it as well! I'm sure you're gonna love Django too...I most certainly did and I'm far from the world's biggest QT fan.
Ranger14 - 12/28/2012, 3:30 PM
If Josh had read the source, the score might come down some. Tom Cruise is like the polar opposite of who Jack Reacher is. I guess when you are in charge of the film, you can cast yourself and screw the character accuracy. The only film I have ever enjoyed with Cruise in it is The Last Samurai.
manofmidgard - 12/28/2012, 4:12 PM
even when tom cruise is in a great movie, i find myself wanting to hate it. sigh.
nailbiter111 - 12/28/2012, 5:27 PM
DangerStranger - I NEVER called Dredd perfect. But at least you got the lack of satire part right.
Ranger14 - 12/28/2012, 6:51 PM
ckal@ I won't watch it until it comes out on dvd. The people I know that have read the novels and saw it already didn't care for Cruise in the role. Different strokes as always.

Reacher's size being a metaphor sounds more like a "cover-up" excuse by Child for Cruise taking the role, considering Child incorporated the size significantly in both the fighting style in the novels and his frequent mention of Reacher's challenge finding clothes that would fit him.

I am not a Cruise fan in the first place, so it will remain in the Netflix list for me.
docgl - 12/28/2012, 7:56 PM
I have been a Jack Reacher fan since the first book "The Killing Floor". This movie bears little to no resemblace to the character. Cruis eis completely miscast. Reacher is 6' 7" tall. this is a major trait since it makes it impossible for him to hide in a crowd easily. This may be a good action flick. It is not a Jack Reacher film.I would give it 1/2 a star at best.
docgl - 12/28/2012, 8:00 PM
Raner 14. I have a lot of friends who are Jack Reacher fans and they hated the movie. Lee Child has to say good things about the film. He sold the rights and had to live with the studios decisions.
GIFfreyGinsberg - 12/28/2012, 8:29 PM
@IM53

You sure you have a girl? The fact you make $ off all this shit is the only reason she'll hang around for awhile.., unless she truly is a great soul that's been manipulated by the media. :P
Ranger14 - 12/28/2012, 8:29 PM
"cover-up" is the wrong terminology...just wasn't processing the right thing to say. :-P He is just being politically correct in order to appease Cruise and the studio rather than saying something negative. Few writers are going to rock the boat when it comes to bad-mouthing a film based on their work.
GIFfreyGinsberg - 12/28/2012, 8:30 PM
..thus your days are numbered. Oh, you're married?, right.
GIFfreyGinsberg - 12/28/2012, 8:31 PM
Enjoy 'em whilst you have 'em or keep the dolla's comin'.
GIFfreyGinsberg - 12/28/2012, 8:36 PM
Reacher was solid and I'm always ready to welcome good works. Haven't read the source, but the film was worth the money.., for what that's worth. I am counting the days 'til Oblivion and I hope that script is solid, because we all know Kosinski is like Kubrick meets Anderson when it comes to working with his DP.
GIFfreyGinsberg - 12/28/2012, 9:22 PM
@cherrybomb's account

Good pics, she's talented, cute as shit, was great in the role and hot as hell.., please excuse me. :)
Equivocal - 12/29/2012, 12:11 AM
any action movie with Tom Cruise in it, MUST be good if not great, I'm planning on seeing this, I'm sure is not a bad movie...
(except Knight & Day, that was AWFUL !!!)

we'll see...
CherryBomb - 12/29/2012, 1:38 AM

@dwaynejohnsonsfromundahcheesepanini
No excuses necessary! I'm a big fan of hers :D she's amazing in everything I've seen her in.
Spartan - 12/29/2012, 4:25 AM
Some of you have very short memories (almost as short as Cruise)
but Tom rocked it in Michael Manns Collateral.
He can lose the smirks and be all business when he needs too.
billytwohats - 12/29/2012, 7:25 AM
Tom Cruise would have made a great Tony Stark. Downey is ok but far too camp for me.
FireKnightRises - 12/29/2012, 9:33 AM
Just watched it, Rosamund Pike Boobies are amazing !!
rocky - 12/29/2012, 11:00 AM
I thought this film was pretty damn good. Good action, fun, funny, Rosamund Pike's cleavage, a good mystery, Robert Duvall.
It just worked all around. Solid movie
UltimateHunt - 12/29/2012, 8:52 PM
because HES TOM CRUISE, better than Bale
Elmo26 - 12/30/2012, 1:50 AM
First off I want to say huge fan of Lee Child and the Jack Reacher books, read them from the start. Secondly, the idea of Tom Cruise playing Reacher made me sick I wanted to slap the d***head, the role was more suited to Chris Hemsworth or Jared Padaleki.

I sat though the film with bated breathe to slam Cruise for an awful portrayal of one of my favourite literary characters and after watching the film all I can say is Tom Cruise you b*****d.

No matter how much I hated Cruise for landing this role, after watching the film I can't criticise it. He did a really good job, there were some obvious differences from the source material but he did it, he pulled it out of the bag and kept the story intact, didnt lose it halfway through and make it something it wasnt and didn't screw it up. After Collateral and The Last Samurai I thought he had lost it, gone coo-coo for coco pops, but this in my opinion and its only that, an opinion, is his redeeming film, this is the come back for him. If Cruise can carry on like this then I think we will some pretty good films from this once cringe worth actor.

Mr Cruise I tip my hat to you.
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