Starring: Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible), Rosamund Pike (Wrath of the Titans), Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), Richard Jenkins (The Cabin in the Woods), David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Robert Duvall (The Godfather)
Writer/Director: Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects)
Runtime: 2 hours 10 minutes
Release Date: 21 December (US), 26 December (UK)
I had the great honour of attending not only the world premiere of Jack Reacher, but also getting to go to a special Q&A with Tom Cruise, Chris McQuarrie and Lee Child. It was a very special evening, but was the movie up to scratch? The film has received controversy from Reacher fans since Cruise was cast, but I’m happy to report that Jack Reacher is a fantastic film that should not be missed.
The film opens with a literal bang: the sniper sequence at the start of the film is truly shocking and well-executed. There’s no dialogue for a good 5 minutes, but once Reacher enters the picture the film shifts into high gear. McQuarrie has done a great job with the script as he always does, keeping the film both serious but also full of witty humour. The film has a very 70’s feel to it, reminiscent of classics like Bullit or The French Connection; this is a breath of fresh air as we rarely see that type of movie these days (with the exception of Drive). The plot of the film isn’t the most original, but has enough twists and turns to keep the two hour plus runtime from feeling stale.
Whilst I’ve never read any of the Jack Reacher novels, I understand why fans are upset of the casting of Tom Cruise as a character he in no way matches the description to. But get past that and you’ll find that Cruise can pull off the role of Reacher to great effect. He’s menacing, can handle himself in all forms of combat, and yet also has a good sense of humour. He’s like if The Driver, Bryan Mills, Steve McQueen and Sherlock Holmes were blended together and then injected into Cruise’s blood stream. The rest of the cast is also great; particular stand outs being Werner Herzog in a brief but still bone-chilling performance as the main antagonist Zec, and Robert Duvall, who still shows he can act with the best of them.
McQuarrie directs the action in Jack Reacher in the way more action films need to be shot: from a reasonable distance. No quick cut, can’t-tell-what-I’m-looking-at stuff going on here. These scenes are further amplified by the fact they never play any music during these scenes; it’s just punch impacts and gunfire. It really emphasizes the rawness of the scenes and puts you into the action. Speaking of which, the score itself isn’t particularly memorable but it’s effective, whilst the cinematography does a good job of covering the action.
In conclusion, Jack Reacher is a terrific action-thriller that will please both film fans and hopefully fans of the books too. It has certainly made me want to pick up the books, and I hope Cruise and McQuarrie reteam to make more of these films in the future. It’s not exactly Oscar worthy, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
FINAL VERDICT: 9/10