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Jack Reacher

January 5, 2012

Jack Reacher Movie Poster

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Jack Reacher will have a long life on TNT or FX. Why? Because, it plays it safe, features a megastar and has enough action and mystery to satisfy a viewer on a rainy day.  This is not a bad thing. Not every film has to be life changing or feature Daniel Day Lewis talking about milkshakes. It is a blue collar film that uses the Pittsburgh location well and features a Chevelle SS driving very fast. The problem is amidst the blue collar is an unnecessarily shirtless Cruise. He is believable when hanging off the world’s tallest building or being a hot shot pilot. However, put him in old henleys and dive bars and he doesn’t belong. Tom Cruise can play a sleek spy but he is lost when playing a dude. It is like watching Tom Hanks flounder in Larry Crowne or Russel Crowe fall into a pool in a slapstick manner. I applaud Cruise for trying to bring a famous literary character to life but it seems like his ego got in the way of a better film.

Jack Reacher made me want to watch The Lincoln Lawyer. Matthew McConaughey fully embodied everything that  Mickey Haller represented. Smart, charismatic and not perfect. He is a twice divorced man who drinks too much yet is great at his job. The movie came out of nowhere and received an 83% Rotten Tomatoes rating and made enough money to justify a sequel. The movie worked because of the perfect casting and faithfulness to the book. It seemed like everyone was on board to tell a good story and put their egos aside. Jack Reacher feels like pure ego. For instance, every woman in Pittsburgh loves Reacher and he constantly makes poor Rosamund Pike blush.

Jack Reacher Pike

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Jack Reacher is the story of a man who kicks a lot of butt, has no phone, address, PO box, time share or friends. He is a loner who rights wrongs and enjoys flannel shirts.

Jack Reacher Tom Cruise flannel

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The best part of this film is that he has to battle the evil Werner Herzog and his henchman Jai Courtney (Spartacus, John McClaine’s son in upcoming Die Hard). They are two murderous foreigners who love money and chopping off fingers. They add a believable level of menace and German accents. Courtney opens the film with a brutal massacre and frames it on a solider who has a past with Reacher. Reacher comes to town and  punches people in their knees and avoids baseball bat wielding hooligans.  The movie moves at a brisk pace and never meanders. What this film is lacking is exactly what I thought director Christopher McQuarrie (Way of the Gun, Usual Suspects writer) would provide. The film is supposed to be a blue collar white knuckler where you feel the hits and the engines roaring. It should have been efficient, dangerous and with 50% less perfect fitting leather jackets bought from Goodwill.

Jack Reacher Tom Cruise

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I did appreciate several moments of the film. I want to adopt Robert Duvall and the final fight and big car chase were believable. The final fight between Cruise and Jai is a highlight of the film despite it’s technical deficiencies. The hits actually hurt and do real damage. There is no Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol fighting here. When you get punched in the face you fall down. Also, the car chase is a highlight because Reacher is not an F1 driver and he drives his stolen Chevelle SS the best he can while chasing the bad guys and being followed by the cops.

Jack Reacher Robert Duvall

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I did not dislike Jack Reacher. It has some cool moments and you can tell Cruise wanted it to be a great film and eventual franchise. Check it out when it hits TNT or FX. In the meantime watch The Lincoln Lawyer. Shameless John Leguizamo plug!

Lincoln lawyer 2

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