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1/27/13

JACK REACHER - REVIEW


Tom Cruise is back.

In Jack.

Reacher, that is.

In what may start some kind of lasting Bourne-style action franchise (but probably won't), Jack Reacher sees tough cookie ex-army Sherlock dude Jack Reacher (well, duh) being hired to help shed light on a case involving a sniper taking out a seemingly random group of people for no apparent reason. Of course, Reacher suspects there's much more to it than just another psycho losing it and leads his own investigation. What follows is a CSI-meets-Mission-Impossible hybrid which sees Tom Cruise, as usual, taking his top off and acting way taller than he actually is.

Oh, also Werner Herzog, of Werner Herzog fame, pops up as mysterious villain "The Zec" who doesn't do much besides talking and sitting but manages to be awesome nonetheless thanks to his inherent, unparalleled Herzoginess. Give the guy a dead eye, a gnarled hand, a dark setting to monologue into and voila! That classic documentary-friendly soothing voice does the rest of the work.

The film also stars Rosamund Pike, as the investigator who assists Reacher with the case, and Robert Duvall, as a helpful old dude who proves to be pretty handy when shit finally goes down. The plot is straight-forward yet not without its share of twists and surprises, unfortunately the film ends in an anti-climactic question mark and you can tell this isn't based on an early Jack Reacher story but on something that happened further down the line. That tends to work quite well with Bond films but here, you just feel like you've missed out on chunks of information you could have done with knowing about.

That said, Jack Reacher is a really fun movie.

The film boasts one of the best movie car chases of recent years, several suspenseful, tense sequences and a couple of cool, bone-crackin' fist fights you'd have to be pretty darn critical not to enjoy the hell out of. One of them is particularly entertaining as two not-so-professional guys attempt to kill Reacher in a cramped bathroom, with loltastic results. The film does well to establish Cruise's character as a different type of badass and differentiates him quite well from 007 or Bourne. However, you do feel like Cruise just wanted to make this into another Mission Impossible-style franchise and I'm not sure how well that would gel with Lee Child's vision. After all, as good as Cruise is in this, it's quite clear that Reacher is meant to be this 7 foot tall monster of a man physically so he is taking liberties with the source material throughout. Something which critics and audiences alike have given him crap for.

As a whole, Jack Reacher isn't the ground-breaking action flick it thinks it is and wants to be but if you're looking for an enjoyable throwaway thriller: this is a good one. It's smart, slick, fun, it does the job then checks out, just like Reacher himself. You might not remember it always but you won't regret seeing it either.

Solid whodunit or... "whydunit", rather.

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