Violent, bruising and no nonsense
Jack Reacher (12A, 130 mins)
Thriller/Action/Romance. Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, David
Oyelowo, Richard Jenkins, Robert Duvall, Jai Courtney, Werner
Herzog, Joseph Sikora, Alexia Fast. Director: Christopher
The US premiere of Jack Reacher, an explosive action thriller
based on the book One Shot by Lee Child, was postponed in the wake
of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The decision was understandable.
Christopher McQuarrie's film opens with heart-stopping scenes of
a sniper taking aim at innocent bystanders on a riverbank,
including a nanny cradling a terrified young child in her arms.
Viewed through the gun man's high-powered rifle scope to the
steady beat of his breathing, the massacre sends shivers down the
spine as shots ring out and figures tumble like rag dolls to the
McQuarrie accomplishes this haunting set piece with brio and
restraint, replaying the slaughter from myriad perspectives later
in the film as police uncover the clues to the shooter's
Nothing else in Jack Reacher comes close to this bravura
sequence and the initial rush of adrenaline in our veins eases to a
Former military officer Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is a ghost in
the system, even to the US government with all of the top-secret
technology and resources at its disposal.
He is lured out of hiding when a mentally unstable sniper, James
Barr (Joseph Sikora), is arrested for the murder of five innocent
people outside PNC Park in Pennsylvania.
Before Barr slips into a coma, he writes down three words - Get
On cue, Jack makes contact with lead detective Emerson (David
Oyelowo) and District Attorney Rodin (Richard Jenkins), convinced
that the cops have caught their perpetrator.
"I didn't come here to help (Barr). I came here to bury him,"
However, Rodin's daughter, defence attorney Helen Rodin
(Rosamund Pike), isn't convinced of Barr's guilt and she hires Jack
to check the forensics.
A scattershot chain of evidence leads Jack to criminal
mastermind The Zec (Werner Herzog) and his sharp-shooting henchman
(Jai Courtney), whose business interests may play part in the
Jack Reacher is the first chapter of a potential new franchise
for Cruise, based on the ninth book in Child's ongoing series.
It's a solid genre piece, punctuated by smartly orchestrated
action sequences, including a night-time chase through city streets
and a couple of bruising fist fights.
Cruise isn't stretched in the lead role, which asks him to play
rough and tough, telling one bad guy: "I mean to beat you to death
and drink your blood from a boot!"
That seems slightly extreme, not to mention unhygienic.
Pike is an appealing love interest but Herzog is woefully
miscast as an ex-con, who gnawed off his digits in prison and
inspires unintentional hilarity rather than fear with his
Thankfully, Robert Duvall's appearance as the owner of a
shooting range in the second half prevents the film from
::Swearing :: No Sex :: Violence :: Rating: 6/10
To find local screenings for Jack Reacher, click here
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