Jack Reacher (2012) – Christopher McQuarrie


Ok. Let’s get this out-of-the-way first… the bus stop gag does not work, and is downright silly.

I took a quick break from my lists today to hit Netflix and have a look at the latest Tom Cruise vehicle, Jack Reacher. I’d read a couple of the books by Lee Child, and was interested on how McQuarrie and Cruise translated it to the big screen.

Reacher (Cruise) is a wanderer, and ex-military police officer, who is dogged and relentless in his pursuit of what is right. When he came back Stateside however, he decided to live off the grid, and wander aimlessly, you know, like Caine in Kung-Fu.

When an ex-military sniper shoots 5 innocent people, the suspect Barr (Joseph Sikora) only writes down one thing in his interrogation with the police investigator running the show, Emerson (David Oyelowo), “Get Jack Reacher.”

Reacher shows up at District Attorney Rodin’s (Richard Jenkins) office, to learn what has been going on, having seen the news report. As Rodin and Emerson sew up their case, Reacher begins to suspect there is something more going on, and begins investigating the 5 victims, working as defense lawyer Helen Rodin’s (Rosamund Pike) chief investigator, while she works to prove her father’s case is wrong.


The film has a lot of the feel of the books I’ve read, Reacher doesn’t say a lot, can be incredibly violent when he needs to be, and is unshakable in his pursuit of justice.

Cruise, for my money, is not how I saw Jack Reacher in my mind’s eye, but he does do a passable job, and the fight sequences, when they happen, are quick, brutal, and exactly what I did expect.

Pike, for me, has been a joy to watch since I first discovered her in Die Another Day, and she adds to a very interesting cast that includes Robert Duvall as a rifle range and gun shop owner, and famed director Werner Herzog as the rather sinister and mostly fingerless Zek.

This one is a fairly satisfying mystery thriller, though didn’t have the exact same hook as the books do, I think, once again, that that is due to Cruise. I just don’t see him as Reacher.

For all that, McQuarrie has crafted a nice little thriller, except for the bus stop bit, that moves along rapidly, racing towards the expected showdown, while Reacher and Helen try to unearth the truth.


I do like the bar sequence, when a group of thugs try to stir up trouble, as well as when dealing with Zek’s right hand man, Charlie (Jai Courtney), Reacher keeps hanging up on him, shifting control away from Charlie to himself. That’s a wicked bit.

Overall, I found it enjoyable, it’s too bad I don’t think there will be any follow-ups, perhaps they should have thought, instead, to do like Tom Selleck did with the Jesse Stone films, make them yearly TV movies. There’s about 18 books altogether, plenty of material to keep studios busy.

Still, not a bad film at all, and made for a nice break.

Have you read the books or seen the film? What are your thoughts?


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