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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Movie Review - Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher  $$ 1/2   

130 Minutes
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, and Robert Duvall.
Director: Christopher McQuarrie.

            Here is another Tom Cruise action film. If that statement made you jump up and down with giddy excitement, then stop wasting your time reading this review and run out to see it. However, those who like a good story with their seasonal dose of Hollywood hunk should probably read on.  

            The story opens with a sniper murdering five people on a city street. Evidence quickly leads investigators to an ex-army sniper named Barr (Joseph Sikora). Instead of confessing to the crime he asks for the police to get Jack Reacher.
            Reacher (Tom Cruise) is a man of mystery who at one point solved murders for the military. No one knows where he is now or even how to get in touch with him. Then he shows his impeccable timing by showing up immediately after his introduction. Unfortunately, by the time he arrives Barr has been beaten into a coma by his fellow inmates.
            Reacher is hired by Barr’s lawyer, Helen (Rosamund Pike), to investigate the murders and prove his innocence. Reacher accepts so that he can conclusively prove that Barr is guilty. Along the way, Reacher discovers that there is more going on here than a simple multiple homicide.  

            I found the early portions of the movie enjoyable. Cruise does a good job with the character and I especially liked the scene where several of the local thugs have been hired to beat him up. The story leaves us some tantalizing hints of a major conspiracy in the works and that Reacher is the person to get to the bottom of it all.
            The character of Helen is also a bit of a mystery, but from a completely different direction.  It is not clear why the daughter of the District Attorney volunteers to defend an obviously guilty suspect. You would hope that a mature character would be above petty motivations such as that. The other mystery surrounding Helen is why a character that contributes so little to the story line receives anything more than minor screen time in the movie. There is no romantic tension between her and Reacher. The potentially great conflict between her and the never-lost-a-case father could have really added depth to the story if it had been developed. Instead we have an uninteresting lawyer who contributes little to the investigation.
            On a positive note, Werner Herzog plays an effectively creepy villain. A few more scenes with him could have elevated the story. Robert Duvall does a fine job with his minor role in the film. Then again, what else would you expect from him?

            I only gave this film two-and-a-half movie bucks because it was forgettable. Sure, I had fun watching it, but a couple days later, I had a hard time remembering what movie I needed to review for my blog. That is not a good sign. My actual recommendation is to wait and rent this film. It translates well to the small screen and you may be less disappointed with the ending as a rental.

            Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.



  1. I thought of watching this over the holidays just out of boredom because I'd seen everything else I wanted to see. Then I decided not to bother. I can see now I was right to do so.

    1. I think that is a good idea. I'm not saying that it was a horrible movie, but it had a fair amount of flaws. We went because it was the only movie that was reasonably interesting.

  2. Thanks for the advice; I'll wait until video or the dollar theater. I like the book series and have been having a hard time accepting Cruise as Reacher, but I've heard he does well with the role. (I'm not a Cruise fan, but he keeps getting all the good movies, darn it!)

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

    1. I'm not really a Cruise fan either, but I agree that he did a good job with the role. The problems with the film are not because of him. And as I said in my review, this isn't a horrible movie - just sort of forgetable.