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Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher

Released 26 December 2012
Director Christopher McQuarrie

Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins, Jai Courtney, Werner Herzog
Writer(s) Christopher McQuarrie

Tom Cruise, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Gary Levinsohn, Kevin J.Messick, Paula Wagner
Origin United States
Running Time 130 minutes
Genre Action, crime, drama
Rating 12A

Cruise control.

Because of his, how should it be put, interesting private life, actor Tom Cruise has lost a lot of fans for his work on screen. This, in my opinion, is pretty short-sighted. For movie lovers who refuse to go to or enjoy Cruise's films are effectively cutting off their nose to spite their face. Yes, he's odd but year after year the now fifty year-old comes up with the goods – admittedly some are better than others but very rarely are his projects a flop. Very rarely. This would in part be down to an excellent intuition when it comes to choosing a good script to work with, which has once more been highlighted by his selection to play the title role in Jack Reacher.

Jack Reacher is an ex-military investigator who now drifts from place to place, remaining under the radar as much as he can. That is until an old war colleague of his is accused of gunning down five random victims outside PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The prime suspect, James Barr, refuses to talk, only writing the words “Get Jack Reacher” before being brutally beat up on his way to prison. Reacher appears unannounced having seen the footage on the news and is immediately headhunted by Barr's attorney to investigate the crime. As he uses his slick skills to get to the bottom of the mystery, it becomes clear that Barr was set up and that parties on both sides of the law are involved.

The film is very sharply directed and Cruise's role actually more mimics his villain in Collateral rather than any of the hero protagonists he has portrayed in the past. That said, despite hardly ever being able to muster a smile, there is a cute underlying sense of wit that ensures that the movie doesn't take itself too seriously. The on-screen chemistry between Cruise and lawyer Rosamund Pike is tight-knit while Werner Herzog plays an interesting if stereotypical villain. To add to it, a late entrance by Robert Duvall is a nice surprise that works well.

Several of the scenes are a throwback to 1970s thrillers. There is an excellent car chase scene that lasts far longer than the usual required amount nowadays as a mundane filler while the fight sequences are packed with action – better yet, action that you can watch. Too often shots will be cut in such a way as to leave the cool moves up to the imagination of the viewer or, in other words, serve as a cop-out. Not so here. Perhaps the only fault with the movie is the cheesiness of the ending, which is a minor one and can be forgiven because it is obviously setting up the character as a potential future franchise.

A lot of the content in this film are components that we have seen over and over again but with the important difference of Jack Reacher being smart, taut and unafraid to poke fun at itself.

- David Caulfield