BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
DECEMBER 23, 2012
With a solid performance from Tom Cruise in a role that is all too close to his “Mission Impossible” persona, “Jack Reacher” (also produced by Cruise) pulls itself out of the disaster it could have been and remains a decent action thriller. With the film banking on several twists, there is often the cause for concern of diving into melodrama. Yet, director-writer McQuarrie never entirely takes the audience there and keeps most twists straight-forward. Cruise plays a former military police officer and a cocky, trouble-making one. When he decides to disappear (for no apparent reason besides that he wants to), what brings him back is a man he tried to kill his men. But this time, he’s been framed, and Reacher is the only one who can get to the bottom.
I still can’t entirely agree with several moments in the film, one of which was used in marketing, in which by-standing pedestrians help Reacher to elude the considerable mass of cop cars chasing him. I get that as the audience, we know Reacher is the protagonist and, for the most part, we root for that character, but those pedestrians have no idea who he is, and the fact that police are chasing him should be more cause for concern. Are they afraid of him? Are they genuinely bad people allowing criminals to escape? Who can tell for sure? Overall, “Jack Reacher” overshadows its shortcomings with decent performances, especially from the all-but-unknown Jai Courtney as one of the main villains and a surprising yet astounding and under-utilized performance from fellow director Werner Herzog.
December 21, 2012
by Lee Child
(for violence, language and some drug material)