Okay folks, it’s confession time. I thought Jack Reacher, the Christopher McQuarrie-directed adaptation of Lee Child‘s novel One Shot that courted major controversy among fans of Child’s books when Tom Cruise was cast as Reacher even though he hardly fit the character’s description as a blonde, hulking bruiser who spoke softly and carried a big stick called himself, was one of the finest and most undervalued movies of 2012.
McQuarrie turned the novel into a classical, old school action thriller that would not be out of place in the filmographies of directors like John Frankenheimer and Don Siegel. The fist fights, shootouts, and car chases were executed and filmed with lean, professional precision and edited with fewer cuts than you would find in most modern action scenes. I wasn’t a fan of the Reacher books but nevertheless I thought Cruise gave a cool, forceful, and at times hilarious performance as a human killing machine with far more brains, wit, and soul than you would expect. He had able support from Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Robert Duvall, and famed German filmmaker Werner Herzog as the movie’s villain, the Zec.
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Written by Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Werner Herzog Paramount Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 130 minutes
Release Date: December 21st, 2012
Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Jack Reacher is based on Lee Child‘s 2005 novel, One Shot.
When a gunman takes five lives with six shots, all the evidence points to suspect James Barr (Joseph Sikora), an ex-Army sniper with a history of violence.
During interrogation, Barr offers up only a single note: “Get Jack Reacher.” Enter Reacher (Tom Cruise), a drifter and former Military Police Officer who makes it his business to right wrongs and be an all-around bad-ass.
Working as an investigator for Barr’s defense attorney, Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), Reacher begins to unravel a case involving a hired killer and a Russian known only as “The Zec,” played by German director Werner Herzog (Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Grizzly Man).
Herzog is perfect for the role: the director has made a career out of muttering about death and the chaotic indifference of nature, so it’s only natural his character would order a low-level thug to bite off his own thumb or get shot in the head. I imagine Herzog acts completely the same when working with actors or documentary subjects.
Jack Reacher is an above-average crime thriller from another era. It feels like ’40s pulp noir at times, with hard-boiled dialogue and staff action sequences including an impressive car chase straight out of ’70s cinema. Cruise, as always, is able to convince the audience that he is who he says he is. By doing all of his own stunts, Cruise inhabits his roles in the way that few Hollywood stars can.