Review: Jack Reacher
Cast: Tom Cruise, Richard Jenkins, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Werner Herzog
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Indian Express rating **
FORGET that the Jack Reacher of Lee Child's books is 6'4'', battle-hardened, cold, distant, and not much afflicted by either remorse or revulsion to violence -- as much a Clint Eastwood-ish 'Man With No Name' that you can be in these times. Forget that Tom Cruise doesn't really spring to mind when you think any of the above. Forget that his character mouths facile forgettables about America's futile "wars for freedom". What is really frustrating about writer-director Christopher McQuarrie's Jack Reacher is how it puts no effort to try rise above any of it.
Hoping to get by on Cruise's star potential alone, the film is an odd mish-mash of the expected -- at times more so and sometimes less. It's not even pulp entertainment like a Mission Accomplished, given that its hero is caught between this image that Child has created (Child being the pen name of author Jim Grant) and this version that Cruise can't break out of.
Based on the book One Shot, Jack Reacher also spends so much time on a car chase and a firing range that its infantile explanation for what lies at the centre of a sniper shootout that left five random people dead is laughable in how conveniently it ties things up.
And that's when the cold-bloodedness of that shootout at the start -- coming close on the heels of at least two real horrific instances of mass killings in the US -- almost promises a different kind of film. When the detective picks up proof with great deliberation and little fanfare against the suspect, James Barr, you are hopeful still. However, it's around then that Reacher ends the picture, and the film is soon less and less about getting to the truth, and more and more about who is getting there.