James Smith’s quick-fire insight into the world of movies exclusive to style-review.com
Here he checks out action Block Buster, Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise, a butt-kicking action flick with a classic retro film making style and a pop corn spilling car chase reminiscent of Bullitt.
Jack Reacher is an unashamed blockbusting box ticker that delivers action, star appeal, and an audience satisfaction level that will leave you sprinting from the theatre looking to make bad guys pay
Adapted from the novel ‘One Shot’ by Lee Child, the film is based on the character of Jack Reacher, a six foot five ex-military investigator and simmering tough guy. He’s called upon by an army sniper who’s found himself set up for the seemingly random killings of five civilians
This is not a film for screenplay gurus looking to be cerebrally challenged by multiple subplots or twists at every turn. No, the plan with Jack Reacher must have been clear in the production office: blow them away. And that includes the audience as well as on-screen targets. The opening scene of killings by a crack sniper sets the tone for a heavy degree of violence throughout. Despite this, and perhaps surprisingly, Tom Cruise injects ample humour throughout, especially in the fight and action sequences, all deftly directed by Christopher McQuarrie of Valkerie fame.
Much has been said about Tom Cruise’s suitability for the role with his diminutive stature, however, the slickly choreographed fight scenes prove that Cruise was well up for the challenge (and besides, isn’t tall and lanky bad news for martial artists?) See this movie on the big screen if you can; the cinematography is stunning and a car chase reminiscent of Steve McQueen’s Bullitt is a lesson on how to bring gripping action, high end production values, and a dash of humour together in one epic popcorn-spilling package. On the subject of yesteryear’s films, one of McQuarrie’s fine judgements was not to litter this creation with crass visual effects and CGI. In fact, Jack Reacher has a mild 'retro' feel about it, harking back to 70’s classics such as The Day Of The Jackal and The French Connection - good storytelling and great acting without distractions.
The acting is engaging throughout. Rosamund Pike plays defence attorney, Helen Rodin, and holds her own in the scenes with Cruise, one of which features an impressive cleavage versus pecks showdown - that scene alone is worth the ticket money. A sinister performance by Werner Herzog as a Bond-esque one-eyed villain, The Zec, is enough to weird anyone out, but it’s Robert Duvall as grizzled gun club owner, Cash, who steals the show - especially in the epic final shootout with his ‘blind shooting’ techniques.
Some pen pushers in the UK press have metered out harsh criticism for Jack Reacher and there is a sense that they’re taking this action-fest far too seriously. Maybe they need to sit through a few more ‘Brit Flicks’ filmed on a council estates and then rethink their appraisals. If you like the action-thriller genre, then this is a butt-kicker and well worth checking out.
Review by @jsmithwriter