Page 1 of 3
Tom Cruise's latest franchise upstart isn't perfect, but this is nevertheless one of the better Blu-ray titles to hit shelves so far this year....
Paramount / 130 Minutes / 2012 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: May 7, 2013
Jack Reacher is not completely without its merits. Devout followers of Lee Child’s novels had trouble accepting Tom Cruise as the strapping, Viking-esque eponymous protagonist, but to reject Tommy Boy too early is a big mistake: for all the constantly-swirling controversy Cruise somehow continues to keep simmering, he’s as able to both fill seats and entertain now as he ever has been. In fact, Cruise’s steely cool is perhaps Christopher McQuarrie’s film’s grandest asset.
The trouble with Jack Reacher is in its follow-through. There are great ideas at hand here, and between McQuarrie’s ability to shuffle around cliffhangers and plot twists with spinning-plate finesse (he was, after all, the guy behind The Usual Suspects) and Cruise’s wonderfully myopic desire as both producer and performer to simply make a great movie, even when Reacher stumbles, the results only prompt perhaps a bathroom break or a trip to the kitchen rather than any kind of full home entertainment abandonment.
A cursory glance at the movie’s opening sequence is far more than enough to prove that there is some seriously accomplished deviant fun at work in Jack Reacher. We’re in Pittsburgh, life seems normal and halcyon, and then a sniper shows up, and McQuarrie’s cameras bring us right into the killer’s point of view: with Hitchcockian dramatic guilt clearly at hand, we as viewers are implicitly involved in the horrors that are unfortunately at hand. Long story short – we have a bad guy, and once Tom Cruise gets on the scene, the chase is on.
One can’t quite shake the fact, though, that there should be at the very least a bit more popcorn fun to Jack Reacher. McQuarrie has assembled a sensational cast – Richard Jenkins, Robert Duvall, and even our favorite thickly-accented fusspot Werner Herzog appear here – but after the gleeful advent of their mere presence wears off, there’s not all that much for them to do. Jack Reacher wants to be a new kind of Mission: Impossible where Bourne Supremacy-esque action replaces any deep need for well-rounded character, but McQuarrie and Cruise never fully get around to successfully making their case. This is easily-digestible Hollywood fare, to be sure, but there’s not quite enough meat on the bone here.