Jack Reacher Review
Cruise brings the bestselling character to life in this adaptation of 'One Shot.'
Lee Child has a good thing on his hands with the Jack Reacher series ; most notably he's got himself a lead character that regularly finds himself at the top of the crime fiction bestselling list. Therefore it was only a matter of time before Hollywood got involved. It was somewhat surprising that Cruise was announced as the actor who would be taking up the role; the books describe Reacher as a man who stands at 6ft 5 tall with a 50 inch chest - Cruise doesn't exactly spring to mind when reciting those measurements.
Height aside, he deals with the role relatively well although he never quite manages to escape being Tom Cruise; there isn't really a point in the film where you find yourself fully sold on his performance - it doesn't mean he fails to be enjoyable though. The real treat is the ingenious casting of Werner Herzog as the villain, Herzog mainly stays behind the camera but in Reacher he makes a rare appearance in-front of it; his portrayal is brimming with an understated menace and although the film confuses his motives, his turn as 'The Zec' is movie's strongest point.
The plot itself plods along at a relatively slow pace for a thriller, which would be fine if the film's central investigation delved a little deeper but it barely scratches the surface. Reacher is called upon to look into the deaths of five civilians at the hand of a rogue sniper; the case seems fairly open and shut at first but it soon becomes apparent that things are not as they seem. The episodic nature of the movie means that quite a lot of the time the audience is watching Reacher catch up with them; it's all rather predictable and when it comes to guessing which supposedly good character is working in tandem with the antagonists, you're given a choice of two members of the supporting cast, so even if you're terrible at playing the guessing game your odds still stand at 50%.
Picture Credit: Paramount / Skydance
Overall then, 'Jack Reacher' appears to be a couple of re-writes away from being a decent thriller. It's not helped by its 130 minute run-time; quite a few of the scenes could do with being left on the cutting room floor, particularly the ones that seem to be there for Cruise's own amusement, and when the lead actor looks like he's having more fun than the audience, it's never a good thing.
It's still a perfectly enjoyable thriller that you certainly don't have to think too hard about, there's some decent action but a definite lack of suspense. The film's distinctly average showing at the box office so far means that this franchise may be dead before it's even had the chance to start which is a shame considering the quality of some of the source material.