Now Playing: Cruise “Reaches” Classic Heights

I try not to let the media’s portrayal of actors’ personal lives affect me. Say what you want about Tom Cruise, I’ve always found him a worthy Hollywood star. The great thing about ‘Jack Reacher’ is that it blends the old Cruise style, the one that everyone used to love, with the action style that he has more recently adopted. Get ready for ‘A Few Good Men’ meets Ethan Hunt.

I didn’t understand why Paramount canceled the ‘Jack Reacher’ premiere in the wake of last week’s elementary school shooting until I screened the film. The movie opens with a drawn out, highly uncomfortable scene involving a sniper who takes fire on innocent and unsuspecting pedestrians in a public space. Considering recent events, this scene is almost unbearable. But if you can make it through this one moment, everything that follows is well worth your time.

The police find the shooter almost immediately, an ex-military sniper with psychological problems. Once arrested, the shooter won’t speak, but only writers down one name: Jack Reacher. Who is Jack Reacher? Once a highly successful officer in the military police, Reacher is now an off-the-grid “drifter with nothing to lose.” Why does the man want Reacher? Well, you have to watch to find out.

‘Jack Reacher’ places Tom Cruise back into an ‘A Few Good Men‘ type of role where he’s determined to uncover a case and expose everyone involved. It’s a detective movie without the courtroom scenes. Yes, the movie is mostly serious, but it also has a great amount of well-placed comedy that keeps it from being too dramatic. These moments combined with Reacher’s unpredictability, blunt violence and unrestrained mouth keep the film from getting bogged down by the uneasy opening.

I get the feeling that anyone who has ever liked Tom Cruise will enjoy ‘Jack Reacher’. It’s like a mix-tape of everything good that Cruise has ever done. It even highlights this idea by adding in elements from old movies blended with those of his newer movies – like a classic chase between a muscle car and a new performance car, for example. Get ready for a “Best-of” Tom Cruise that’s totally fun.

Rating: ★★★★☆

4 comments

  1. JM

    Did you just review ‘Jack Reacher’ without a mention of Christopher McQuarrie?

    With no love for Duvall, Jenkins, or Herzog?

    Or a comparison to the series of novels by British author Lee Child?

    Did it feel like 70s-style filmmaking the trailer promised?

    How was the car chase / fight choreography?

    It only needs $150M to green-light a sequel. Do you want this to be a franchise?

    • Ted S.

      JM, I saw the movie about ago and let’s just say all of your questions will be answered and you’ll be very satisfied. It’s very old school and has that 70s action film feel to it. I was very impressed with the film. Hope this one is a big hit so they’ll make sequels.

    • I thought it was a mixture of ’70s action and a clever ’90s thriller.

      The car chase is really well done. McQuarrie knows that keeping the camera still and not using half-second edits is the way to go. It’s a long and exciting chase in a muscle car, which rumbles the theater with bass.

      The key here is McQuarrie’s direction and screenplay. It has a great moody feel to it. Even though it teeters on a bunch of action movie cliches – (MINOR SPOILER ALERT) like the hero and villain throwing down their guns for a final fist fight just to assert alpha male status – it ends up handling those situations very well.

      Also, when Tom Cruise screams into a phone “I want to drink your blood from a boot!” is one of my favorite lines of dialogue from 2012.

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