Jack Reacher (2012)
One fine day in Pittsburgh, a sniper perched in a parking garage fatally shoots five people at a park before driving away. The man hauled in by police, Barr (Joseph Sikora, Safe), enacts his right to remain silent, but does scrawl on a notepad, “GET JACK REACHER.”
Who’s Jack Reacher? A former military policeman for the Army, Reacher (Tom Cruise) is an off-the-grid drifter who just wants to be left alone. He knew the accused from the service, and has no intention of helping the guy get away with murder, but does want to know just what the hell is going on.
Barr’s defense attorney, Helen (Rosamund Pike, Wrath of the Titans), convinces Reacher to be her lead investigator. She also doesn’t want to see Barr go free, but does want to see him get a fair trial. Needless to say, Reacher’s sniffing around opens up an enormous can of worms — plot twists, really.
Based on One Shot, the ninth novel in Lee Child’s best-selling thriller series, Jack Reacher didn’t get a fair shake upon release. For one, the violent pic arrived in theaters less than a month after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, when the nation wasn’t exactly in the mood to see a bunch of big-screen gunplay. And that’s understandable.
What’s not is Reacher fans’ outcry over the 5-foot-7 Cruise being cast as the series’ 6-foot-5 hero. Cruise conveys 100 percent of Reacher’s attitude; he’s intimidating and bone-crunching believable in the ass-kicking department. To his credit, he also plays the role far differently than Mission: Impossible‘s Ethan Hunt.
Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who previously teamed with Cruise by scripting Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie, the film chalks up many positives: a truly exciting chase, dialogue that replicates Child’s rhythms to a T, an acidic wit and a real stroke of genius in casting potentially insane German director Werner Herzog (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans) as a villain minus a few fingers because he ate them. Reacher would’ve twisted them off anyway. —Rod Lott