Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Don't let the marketing or the trailer fool you, for director Christopher McQuarrie's 'Jack Reacher' isn't really an action flick.  It has a couple of action sequences in it, and they are pretty good action sequences, but 'Jack Reacher' is more of an investigative procedural, and an old school throwback of an investigative procedural at that.  And it's a darn good throwback to the old school investigative procedural, harkening back to a simpler time when bad guys were really bad, dames dressed inappropriately for the work place, no matter what their job was, and good guys were good because they told us they were.  Even though they probably broke more laws than the bad guys.

Some dude (Jai Courtney), for no reason we can tell, sets up shop in a parking garage and with his sniper rifle in tow starts picking people off.  The Cop (David Oyelowo) investigates, gathers clues and makes the bust.  Next thing we know retired army sniper John Barr (Joseph Sikora) is being grilled for this crime by the Cop and District Attorney (Richard Jenkins) and the electric chair will be unavoidable, but we know Barr didn't do this thing.  The only word Barr offers up by way of defense, before he's put into a coma… it's complicated… is the name of Jack Reacher.

Who is Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise)?  From what we can glean he's a drifter, used to be military police at one time, and now just floats from place to place violently setting things right.  Reacher has a keen interest in this case because he knows Barr, and he suspects Barr very well could've done this crime, and knowing Reacher as we do, if the man believes Barr did commit this awful act he's much better off in a coma than dealing with Reacher Styled Justice. 
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Of course there the dame (Rosamund Pike), who is Barr's lawyer only fighting to keep him off of death row, figuring his guilt to be fairly obvious.  Her situation is complicated by the fact that her old man is the District Attorney who has made his mark putting people on death row.  Reacher and the Lawyer check some things out and everything adds up really good.  Just about perfect.  And therein lays the problem.

Now Jack Reacher knows something isn't right, but worst still is that the bad people knows that Reacher knows that something isn't right, and these people… I tell you… they aren't good people.  We don't know much but we do know you don't put a woman that pretty in a movie like this unless she's going to find herself in some peril and in desperate need of rescuing, and we also know that bad people with every conceivable advantage…  numbers, weapons, familiarity with the environment… they really don't have chance.  This I know as well.

There are a lot of really, really good things about 'Jack Reacher', such as the existence of Robert Duvall for instance.  This dude is so old that he could biologically be Tommy Lee Jones Dad.  That's how old Robert Duvall is.  Robert Duvall has this inner hostility, a trait he's possessed ever since I've started watching him perform, and it comes through so beautifully in the roles he chooses, such as Gunner Sgt. Cash in this movie.  I probably wouldn't want to hang out with this angry old dude, but if I needed an angry old dude for a role, I'm calling Robert Duvall.  With Tommy Lee Jones on standby.  Another thing that really good about this movie is Tom Cruise.  Now I've never read the Lee Child's novels that this character is based on, though I believe I'm about to start, but even without knowing beforehand that Reacher is supposed an imposing beast, admittedly there's not a lot that's initially intimidating about Tom Cruise.  The man is kind of small, and maybe a little too good-looking, but that being said as time goes on we do buy into Jack Reacher's badassery.  When Reacher told that bad dude that 'He means to beat him to death and drink his blood from a boot'… I believed him.  That guy should've too.  I enjoyed the way McQuarrie set his movie up, I enjoyed the films progression, and we enjoyed the bloodlust resolution. 

There are odd things of course, such as if you happen to be a bad dude with the skill to shoot a gnat off of somebody's ear from three miles away, maybe it would be easier just to kill Jack Reacher as he stood by one of the many windows he posed in front of as opposed to the convoluted rigmarole these clowns dreamed up.  Better still, I find that patsies are much more effective as dead men, committing suicide possibly, as opposed to creaking out names of people who will bring down your organization once they show up in town.  And if you are a bad guy, staring down the barrel of a guy who is clearly insane, even though he's a 'good guy', don't go telling this guy how you're going beat the rap because your all rich and powerful and stuff.  I'm pretty sure bad guys only do that in movies with real life bad guys begging for their lives.

It's official, I'm a Jack Reacher guy.  Unfortunately I don't think enough people went to see this movie to warrant more Reacher movies, and this makes me sad.  Fifteen years ago Cruise in something like this was lock.  Today, not so much.  On one hand I'm glad the Movie Star system is slowly crumbling because it gives more opportunities to more people, but on the other hand… fewer and fewer movies like this will show up at the cinema.  Fortunately for me I believe in lower budget Straight to DVD movies which a lot of you out there don't believe in.  Maybe Reacher will show up there.  Obviously without Tom Cruise, unfortunately.  Or maybe with Tom Cruise.  You never know. 
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