“Jack Reacher” – Review by Mike Holtz, WeWatchedAMovie
Jack Reacher is simply a badass. The decorated war vet pulls no punches, follows no rules and has a sharp and snarky wit to boot. At one point, when being harassed to go outside of a bar and fight five guys at once he first tells his opponent to pay his check because he won’t be able to afterwards. There has been a lot of anger over the 5’10 Tom Cruise playing a character that was much bigger in the Lee Childs’ books he was based on. Personally, being 5’10 myself I have no issue with watching someone my height kick ass and look cool doing it.
The film starts off with an eerily creepy scene that has a sniper picking off people from a parking garage with the viewer looking down the same scope as the killer and hearing nothing but his paced breathing. All evidence of the shooting points to a man named Barr who,when arrested, mysteriously asks for no-one other than Jack Reacher. Reacher shows up for his own reasons rather than by any-one else’s request and begins digging into the case himself along with the District Attorney’s daughter Helen (Rosamund Pike) realizing things aren’t quite what they seem.
Did I mention Jack Reacher is a badass? Tom Cruise is perfect in the role and lends himself to the character entirely. Every word he speaks will have your full attention and you can’t wait to see his reaction to any given situation. The problem is nobody else in the film really matters. All you really do when Reacher isn’t on the screen is wait for Reacher to show up again. The story never really grabs attention and for as simple as it was, way too much time is spent hashing it out. They throw in un-riveting twists and turns and there ends up being a few too many characters and far too many villains for any of them to be fleshed out. The main bad guy calls himself “The Zec” (Werner Herzog) and is freaky enough for interest; forcing one of his minions to choose between a bullet or literally biting off his own thumb but the film just doesn’t have enough time to flesh him out and renders him almost pointless.
It’s easy to appreciate Jack Reacher because of this cool character that it has brought to the screen but the film still falls into generic book turned movie territory way too often. It’s really well shot and looks great but at times it literally felt as the director was forced to fit in way too much dialogue and what is supposed to be a thrilling film becomes boring at times. At one point it honestly felt as though I was being read a detective novel straight from the pages of the book. Unfortunately this is one of those rare efforts that would have been better had it been more Hollywood and less novel. I just wanted to see Jack Reacher kick ass and take out bad guys and I am sorry to tell you I was left wanting more. One scene in particular suffers from the films bad pacing as we are led to believe Reacher is about to go on an angry beat down of some meth heads. He goes into the house and instead of getting what’s expected, we see two previously mentioned meth heads go into a “3 stooges” like fight with each-other trying to get to a momentarily incapacitated Reacher. This kind of thing really takes you out of the moment, is unnecessary and really makes you question the directors attempted comedic timing or timing overall.
Sure there are some great and original fight scenes that thankfully don’t use shaky cam or rip off Jason Bourne. Reacher has a precise fighting style of his own that is almost as joyful to watch as his constant and cocky one liners and the film is shot well and looks great. Every moment you see Tom Cruise as Reacher on screen you get the feeling something is about to explode and that’s a good thing. The problem is the Director didn’t seem to have the sense timing to know when or how often to ignite his fuse. But damn, that Jack Reacher sure is a badass. 7/10