After the disastrous John Carter earlier this year, I’m wary of films that have a man’s first and last names as its title. That being the case, I allowed myself to become hopeful regarding Jack Reacher, the new film by Christopher McQuarrie (director of The Way of the Gun) starring Tom Cruise and based off the book One Shot by Lee Child (who had a cameo in the film as the policeman behind the desk when giving Cruise back his belongings). Unfortunately that hope was misplace because, once again, a man-named film left me both unsatisfied and disappointed.
Before I jump into the things I like and didn’t like about the film, you might want to know what it’s about. Here’s how IMDb describes it: “In an innocent heartland city, five are shot dead by an expert sniper. The police quickly identify and arrest the culprit, and build a slam-dunk case. But the accused man claims he's innocent and says ‘Get Jack Reacher.’ Reacher himself sees the news report and turns up in the city. The defense is immensely relieved, but Reacher has come to bury the guy. Shocked at the accused's request, Reacher sets out to confirm for himself the absolute certainty of the man's guilt, but comes up with more than he bargained for.”
The trailer for the film, which can be viewed below, made it seem as this might raise the bar for the Action/Crime/Thriller genre, as I’ve heard Child’s books have in literature; however, what I found was a rather run-of-the-mill action movie. To be honest, saying it was run-of-the-mill may be too kind.
The story itself started out strong by depicting a heinous crime, and from there the plot thickened with the slow revelation of a conspiracy; however, before too long the film began to stall. Suddenly Reacher, who began to come off as an “Average Joe” superhero as opposed to a former military policeman, was pursuing low-life criminals while trying to save a woman stuck in a cycle of abuse.
|My old man was the buddy for this movie.|
Cruise was decent as the title character, but I didn’t really feel there was a lot of development regarding Reacher. He’s initially shrouded in mystery, and the little we do find out about him becomes so far reaching that it’s unbelievable. For instance, he’s suddenly an expert marksman when he just so happens to be working a case involving a sniper. Likewise, he just so happens to come across an ex-marine, played by Robert Duvall, who is willing to help him illegally take on a criminal enterprise just because he saw him shoot years earlier? C’mon man!
Don’t get me wrong, things like that can be found in dozens of action movies, but that’s exactly my point, Jack Reacher isn’t anything special. Everything it had to offer I’ve seen before, and to be honest, if it didn’t have the big-name actors that it did, it would have been terrible. Luckily Cruise, Duvall, Richard Jenkins, Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo did a good enough job to keep me watching. I wish I could say the same for the main villain, played by Werner Herzog, but he was about the least intimidating and fear-striking bad guy I’ve seen in years.
Jack Reacher barely kept me entertained, and at times I felt like it was insulting my intelligence—definitely not what I want to see after spending $10 on a ticket. It’s definitely not worth seeing in theaters, and I wouldn’t recommend it on DVD either, unless of course you’re having a boring night and have seen everything else. Save your money.
Buddies Forever Movie Club Rating: 45%