Jack Reacher is the latest Tom Cruise action vehicle, a crime thriller from writer-director Christopher McQuarrie based on the popular Lee Child novel One Shot. Although Cruise doesn’t pull out his patented Mission Impossible hero run, the short man’s charm and knack for witty one-liners endears him in the tall shoes of the titular character.
Reacher isn’t so much called in as he just appears all of a sudden to investigate a case where James Barr, a former acquaintance of his and a trained military sniper, is charged with having shot and killed five random victims. Reacher, a former Army officer himself, has no love for the man but is intrigued by the all-too-convenient evidence against him as well as Barr’s wide-eyed defence attorney Helen (Rosamund Pike). Helen clashes with her father who’s the District Attorney (Richard Jenkins). He’s notorious for never losing a case and is determined to nail Barr to the cross.
As can be expected however, all is not as it seems. There’s a conspiracy to uncover, red herrings to avoid, a man behind the curtain (Werner Herzog as ‘The Zec’) and John McClane’s son (Jai Courtney) as the chief henchman for Reacher to do battle with. Hell, Robert Duvall also turns up in a fun role. While it’s not as smart as it thinks it is and the plot is definitely on the predictable side, Cruise remains the quintessential American action hero despite playing a character who says he’s ‘not a hero’. There are a couple of remarkable sequences here, such as a botched bathroom assault and an outstanding car chase that’ll most likely be the pillar against which I’ll judge those from next year. Needless to say, it’s no surprise that director Christopher McQuarrie is now rumoured to direct the next Mission Impossible movie.
So while the plot may be a bit ho-hum, Jack Reacher is nonetheless a very enjoyable ride – look no further for your popcorn entertainment. It has a great sense of humour but also manages to balance it with a variety of intense actions beats, garnering the best of both worlds. Best of all, it’s well directed being coherent, without shaky cam and feeling like a man with a brain was actually behind the camera. Backed up by a great soundtrack, Cruise anchors the film with his likable performance as drifter and ‘not a hero’ hero Jack Reacher.
A crime drama with a plot only slightly above average, Jack Reacher succeeds thanks to Tom Cruise’s charisma, a great sense of fun and a handful of the year’s best action sequences.