Jack Reacher – 3.5/5 Movie Reviews by Ry!

Jack Reacher – 3.5/5 – Tom Cruise; he is a man of many faces when it comes to his movie career.  He has a portfolio of many different kinds of film, spanning many years and many genres.  He has done everything from the down to earth dramatic, the outlandish action, to the crazy sci-fi films.  For this big of a filmography, you will have some duds.  For every Top Gun, Mission: Impossible and Minority Reports out there, you have films not as stellar, like Lions for Lambs or Knight and Day.   This is another movie you can add to his extensive movie career.  This film is not one of his greatest efforts, but it does a good job in bringing a new intriguing character in an entertaining movie.  If you’re looking for a good crime thriller, here is one for you.

In the city of Pittsburgh, five people are shot dead by an unknown sniper.  Based on the evidence at the shooting, the police identify and arrest the culprit, a guy by the name of James Barr.  The police have built what seems to be a slam-dunk case, but the accused man claims he is innocent and says “Get Jack Reacher.”  Reacher (Tom Cruise) makes his way to the city, and begins to help the Defense with the case.  Reacher thinks the guy is guilty because of his military past, but when he begins to dig deeper into the case, he begins to realize there are bigger things at work here, and the convicted may not be guilty after all.  Let’s start off with what makes this particular movie watchable and bankable.  That would be the man himself, Tom Cruise.   He is as strong as ever acting this character, Jack Reacher.  He brings across a man with strong convictions, wit and charm.  When he comes on screen, he pretty much commands that scene and puts influence on the situation and other characters.  He makes you feel the dramatic tone of the situation or makes you laugh when he strikes a comedic chord when he has conversation with other people in the movie.  His character is the high point of the movie, and rises above the main plot at times.  Being the character with all the focus is a good/bad thing.  This, at times, dilutes the situation of the criminal investigation, but also helps in keeping you focused when the movie drags or becomes thin.  This kind of thing that happens in the film feels ironic, because it doesn’t make you hate or love the movie.  For the most part, Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher strikes gold.   For the rest of the cast, it pretty much is less than good.  They are pretty much standard characters you would see in any criminal investigation TV show or film.  You have your hard nose DEA agent, the relentless lawyer, the common criminal strong man, the behind the scenes criminal master mind and your aloof henchmen.  This does hinder the movie, because it makes everything predictable.  You can pretty much guess everything that happens or will happen in the movie.  One character that was a laughable was the cop under the DEA, played by David Oyelowo.  He is way over the top as a hot headed cop, plus he gives his motive away way too easily.   Pretty much, if Tom Cruise wasn’t Jack Reacher, this movie would have been a bore when it comes to the characters.

The direction of the film is very convoluted.  At times, you are seeing a dramatic criminal movie, but other times you see an over the top comedic action movie.  The first half of the film has you thinking this is going to be a dark, dreary criminal investigative film like Seven.  The first half you are watching the characters trickle in slowly, as the director develops the crime scene and who is one what side.  With this slow buildup, they want you to care for the victims, yet also wants you to care for the other’s involved.  You get kind of confused on how to fit the characters on screen and define the tone because it quickly begins to shift.  From the beginning dark tone, it switches quickly to an on/off comedic action film when Jack Reacher comes on screen.  Once Reacher is involved, it becomes a bowl mixed of good/bad humor, fun/quick action, and fast pace car chase, and an over the top action climax.  The movie felt forced fed at parts, but ironically, it works.  This kind of directing makes you enjoy the entertainment, but not love the movie totally.   What keeps the movie entertaining through all these random scenes is Jack Reacher, the titled character.  As I mentioned before, he carries and rises above the film.  Because of this, you have many logical gaps that supersede the main story, which makes you question the purpose and ending of the film.  You simply just have a simple, dumb fun movie here.

Overall, this film is a mixed bag of crime thrilling, comedic hijinx and dumb/fun action.  You get lost in the story, but the main character (Jack Reacher) keeps you involved and helps carry it past the clichéd plot, standard characters and predictable climax.   If you are a fan of simple entertainment or Tom Cruise, this is one for you.  I’d recommend a matinee viewing, and maybe a purchase on blu-ray/DVD.


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