Movie Review: JACK REACHER

Movie Review: JACK REACHER

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Robert Duvall, David Oyelowo

A sniper eyes various people through the scope of his rifle and lets off six shots killing five random targets in a plaza area. We see the face of our lone gunman. He is young, good looking, and has a five o’clock shadow. He leaves the parking ramp in his white van but purposefully leaves behind a trail of clues including gun shells and a quarter with his finger print on him.

The cops quickly track down our gunman who is a former military sniper by the name of James Barr. You soon realize that James Barr is not the guy we just saw shooting five people. Barr refuses to answer the police interrogation and only responds by writing down three words: “Get Jack Reacher”. Jack Reacher (Cruise) is a former military officer who is mysterious in every regard. He makes it a point to for anyone to be unable to track him down. He does not own a home, car, or bank account. He will make his presence known when he sees fit. Reacher knows of Barr’s history in the military and shows up when he hears about the situation. By this point, Barr has been beaten and left in a coma. Barr’s lawyer Helen Rodin (Pike) hires Reacher has her investigator. Her father (Jenkins) is the D.A. and is hired to prosecute the case. Reacher learns more about the shooting and is determined that this is not the work of Barr. Reacher and Helen work together under his terms to determine the connection between Barr and the real sniper.

Jack Reacher is based on the book “One Shot” by Lee Child. It’s the ninth book in a series of novels involving the unstoppable Jack Reacher. Fans of the book raised an eyebrow with the casting of Tom Cruise as the 6’5″ 200+ pound former military officer. Cruise does not quite fit that physical description. Lee Child endorsed the casting despite the difference in height. I am having mixed vibes towards Cruise in this performance. He pulls off the unstoppable aspects of Reacher, and he definitely is a guy you do not want to pick a fight with. Cruise is quite restrained in the role unlike many of his previous larger than life characters you have seen him portray. While I applaud his self-control, I feel like he is trying to pull off the elusive mysterious qualities of Reacher a little too hard. I do not know how he is written in the books, but I wanted more out of the character. That being said, Cruise has potential with the role. I think if the series continues, Cruise will get better with the character.

Jack Reacher is your standard “whodunit” and “how are they all connected” type movie. The beginning and ending are suspenseful, but the middle seems to drag on as you play along with Reacher and Helen as they connect the dots. I never lost interest with the story, but I wanted something else and something more to happen. There is a bit of a twist, but if you have watched enough “Law & Order” episodes, you will figure it out before the ending. The most exciting part of the movie was the brilliant casting of Robert Duvall. He pops up in the last 45 minutes as Cash, the owner of a shooting range where Barr frequented. Duvall brings the movie a much needed sense of humor. If the movie does well at the box office, I think Cruise could continue on with this character. It could be a great franchise for him to take on. Even though I wrestled with this movie, I think there is potential. I would be up for another Jack Reacher mystery. Lee Child has written many stories with the character, so I know there is more material out there.

RATING: *** (3 out of 5 stars)

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