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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Tom Cruise
David Oyelowo
Rosamund Pike
Richard Jenkins
Robert Duvall.
Directors
Christopher McQuarrie.
Screenwriters
Christopher McQuarrie.
Running Time
130 minutes

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Jack Reacher
Small but perfectly formed


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Plot
A sniper executes six random people in cold blood, then issues the demand: “Get me Jack Reacher.” Is the case as cut and dried as it seems, or can Reacher (Cruise) get to the truth before the truth gets to him?


Review
Jack Reacher
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And so to one of life’s perennial questions, one over which many have moaned and many more have fretted. Does, as Godzilla’s tagline so memorably claimed, size really matter? Thankfully for all of us, Tom Cruise’s take on Lee Child’s Jack Reacher via Chris McQuarrie seems to settle the argument once and for all in the negative.

The inevitable Internet Armageddon that greeted the news of Cruise’s casting as Child’s 6’ 5” military cop/lone wolf/fanny magnet must have been viewed by the studio as the very definition of a mixed blessing. The fans may have been moaning but, in a world where the word ‘meh’ appears to now qualify as considered critique, at least the fuckers cared.

As it happens, Cruise and McQuarrie comfortably prove their thesis; that the spirit of Reacher lies not in his height but in his character. Our introduction to their hero is brilliantly witty, playing up many of the novels’ erotic extravagances with a sequence that refuses to show Reacher’s face. Instead, we open on the back of his head, viewing him watching the news in bed while an anonymous broad — clearly satisfied — pulls up her drawers next to him, before following the back of his head down the street, his physical impressiveness reflected in the flirting faces of every woman he passes.

Later, with the typical economy of a screenwriter as smart as the man behind The Usual Suspects, we cut to authorities Richard Jenkins and David Oyelowo sitting in an office questioning how the hell they can track down a man who is plain off the grid. They are, they conclude, stuffed. There’s a beat. Then a secretary enters the room. “I have a Jack Reacher here for you,” she says. Their reaction shot is priceless.

Though the movie is peppered with these lovely light touches — a grandstanding car chase, for instance, ends with a glorious grace note — that’s not to say that McQuarrie and Cruise have underestimated the pull Reacher — now on book 17, let’s not forget — has on his audience. This is pure wish fulfilment, a resolutely hard-edged thriller, a down and dirty Bond that supercedes the expectations of a 12A rating. The violence here is full-force. Thumbs disappear into eye sockets, baseball bats hit home with shocking sound effects and, in a scene already making a late run for best of the year, we first meet Reacher’s nemesis, The Zec (played with sinister raised eyebrow by the inspired casting of Werner Herzog), down a dark alley in which he does something so dark you will not look at your fingers in the same way ever again.

Ardent Reacher fans will note slight changes to the story — as per its original title, this is based on adventure One Shot — but they are largely smart omissions, jettisoning the odd supporting character in favour of sheer momentum. The screenplay’s misstep is to cut down much of The Zec’s backstory from the novel, the personal history that made him such a threat sadly missing and diminishing his on-screen menace. But, while fans won’t find any major surprises in terms of story, newcomers will be treated to a plot that, from a brutal and bravura opening sequence, consistently wrong-foots its audience all the way through to a satisfying climax.

The cast deliver the twists with confidence and are uniformly top drawer — not least the legendary Robert Duvall and newcomer Jai Courtney, who more than justifies his casting as McClane Jr. in the upcoming A Good Day To Die Hard with a knockout turn as a chief henchman. Cruise, meanwhile, does enough to silence the naysayers prepared to be open to interpretation (and he could actually grow a foot and the others still wouldn’t be convinced, so what’s the point in worrying?)

Ultimately, though, the standout performance here comes from McQuarrie, who follows up his woefully under-appreciated The Way Of The Gun with a control and restraint that gives great tribute to the touchpoint movies he spends much of this running time referencing. Where action-cinema has been bogged down recently in fast cuts and incoherent fight sequences, here is a movie that has Dirty Harry in its sights and ’70s cinema pumping through its veins. From the harsh (the horrific opening sniper attack) to the humorous (Reacher in a three-way fight that boasts some Stooge-level slapstick), McQuarrie marshals his pack with a cocky panache that would be admirable from a seasoned pro, let alone a screenwriter going sophomore.


Verdict
Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise deliver on their promise, with a witty, violent take on Reacher that makes up for its lack of height with an abundance of smarts and thrills.


Reviewed by Mark Dinning

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Jack Reacher
Empire Star Rating

DISAPPOINTING.....

CRUISE IS OK BUT THIS MOVIE ISN'T ONE OF HIS BEST AND I DO THINK HE IS MISCAST.......... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chrisdagnall at 10:04, 04 August 2013 | Report This Post


Naysayer now YAYsayer

This film nailed it. Top draw. I am a dedicated Reacher fan who was in uproar over Cruise's casting (and buyout of the rights), I am so happy to be proven wrong. This film is excellent. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danielthompson99 at 22:16, 12 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Jack Reacher

I thought this film was actually quite enjoyable, especially for a Tom Cruise movie. ... More

Posted by Private Hudson at 17:09, 27 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Jack Reacher

first few minutes in was good but it was to tame load of s**t I say just my opinion though ... More

Posted by classics_are_best at 18:20, 19 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Jack Reacher

L: bennyboy71 I enjoyed watching this film and playing the 'guess how they made Tom look taller' game. Its particularly funny to see how his height varies next to the women. Continuity is all over the shop. Aside from him being a midget, Cruise is also getting too old for this type of action shit. s he though? He seems to be coping rather well in action films for a 50 year old - writers haven't started adding "jokes" about his knees or back giving out yet and I'm repeatedly... More

Posted by FoximusPrime at 10:13, 09 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Jack Reacher

I enjoyed watching this film and playing the 'guess how they made Tom look taller' game. Its particularly funny to see how his height varies next to the women. Continuity is all over the shop. Aside from him being a midget, Cruise is also getting too old for this type of action shit. ... More

Posted by bennyboy71 at 13:01, 07 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Sean Conroy's Review for Jack Reacher

L: Hood_Man Saying that, during the "Look out the window, tell me what you see" scene, I did have a funny thought pop into my head. This film was so melodramatic that it suddenly occurred to me how funny it would be if Jack Reacher, instead of being played by Tom Cruise, was played by Leslie Nielsen ote] idea I enjoyed the first 10 minutes, then painfully it just got boring. I haven't read any of the books, but the way every character was trying to shoe horn a back story in ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jonson at 08:30, 07 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Jack Reacher

Had big hopes for this movie. Big let down. In over 2 hours nothing really happened. ... More

Posted by moviebuff73 at 10:17, 06 May 2013 | Report This Post


Cruise's thriller

i've seen the movie..and i think it's the MIS-marketing of it that cause its disappointing performance at the box office. the movie's not so much an action flick (which many people think, including me) as it is a thriller with some action in it. as the latter, the movie delivers and cruise's star power really carries this thru. and i enjoyed enough that i'm looking forward to more jack reacher movies. i'd give it 3 1/2 stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Avengers12 at 11:44, 23 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Sean Conroy's Review for Jack Reacher

Reacher (2012) Adapted from a novel I know nothing about and a writer I've never heard of, but I did take the liberty of reading up on what to expect. Thing is the director of this film clearly hasn't done the same. Now from what I learned the main character in these books, 'Reacher', is 6'5'' tall, built like a brick shithouse, blonde hair, pretty fit, pretty muscular, piercing blue eyes, weighs around 250 pounds and has many battle scars. For this someone thought it a good idea to cast Tom... More

Posted by Phubbs at 21:04, 18 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Sean Conroy's Review for Jack Reacher

Good, but nothing special....Im a big fan of the books,,,apart from the last one, and it just about sticks to the tone of them...One thing that struck me though; Was it just me, or was there never an opportunity missed to catch Miss Pikes cleavage....somewhere a group of students will develop a drinking game,,,having to down a shot every time her ample bosom pops on screen.. ... More

Posted by No Diggity at 14:21, 16 January 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Sean Conroy's Review for Jack Reacher

I thought is started really well but went rapidly downhill from there. McQuarrie's directorial debut, 'The Way of the Gun' , was fantastic so I was really optimistic about this one but the pacing was poor, the set-pieces uninspired and the dialogue hilariously bad at times. The potentially ingenious casting of Werner Herzog proved a damp squib with much of his dialogue greeted with howls of laughter at the screening I attended. I've never read any of the Lee Child books so the furore over ... More

Posted by mackey at 19:12, 13 January 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Sean Conroy's Review for Jack Reacher

I enjoyed it, although not so much that I'll give it a second thought in future. Saying that, during the "Look out the window, tell me what you see" scene, I did have a funny thought pop into my head. This film was so melodramatic that it suddenly occurred to me how funny it would be if Jack Reacher, instead of being played by Tom Cruise, was played by Leslie Nielsen ... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 00:26, 13 January 2013 | Report This Post


Sean Conroy's Review for Jack Reacher

If Tom Cruise is looking for a new franchise he might have to keep looking because Christopher McQuarrie’s adaptation of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher is not the cracking crime thriller that many anticipated. The man who wrote the unforgettable Usual Suspects has made one forgettable thriller. The opening has a lone assassin gun down five innocent civilians. In the wake of the real life kindergarten massacre in Connecticut by a lone gunman it’s an unsettling start. But before lon... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Conboy at 05:16, 07 January 2013 | Report This Post


Sean Conroy's Review for Jack Reacher

If Tom Cruise is looking for a new franchise he might have to keep looking because Christopher McQuarrie’s adaptation of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher is not the cracking crime thriller that many anticipated. The man who wrote the unforgettable Usual Suspects has made one forgettable thriller. The opening has a lone assassin gun down five innocent civilians. In the wake of the real life kindergarten massacre in Connecticut by a lone gunman it’s an unsettling start. But before lon... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Conboy at 05:16, 07 January 2013 | Report This Post


AWESOME!!!!

A thrilling and nail biting adaption of Lee Childs hard boiled novel One Shot!! We start of with a shocking random shooting, where a mystery sniper kills upto 5 innocent bystanders on a busy sidewalk in Pennsylvania. Soon enough police detective Emerson (David Oyelowo) is on the scene with district defence attorney Helen (Rosamund Pike) to figure what to do with the shooter,...until he utters the word's get 'Jack Reacher,...' And so starts a magnificently plotted who-dunnit with Tom... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ramone87 at 21:45, 06 January 2013 | Report This Post


REACH OUT

Never read any of the books – and if you haven’t – you wouldn’t know that the title character is supposed to be some blonde, 6ft 5 inch aryan uber-mench know it all. And try as they might, no matter how many times they try to film him using all those obviously too low camera angles through out the entire movie – Mr. midget is still quite clearly Mr. midget. But still - size isn’t everything - and Cruise just about nails it I think, mainly because of an ex... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 10:25, 03 January 2013 | Report This Post


RE: No way!!!!!

L: UncleMonkeyTrousers The thing I see, is that it will be a lot of people who have enjoyed the books coming to see this, and over the course of 15 odd books, people have an image in their heads of what the character will be like. This is the audience that might get pissed off at Reacher not being a massive brick shite house as he is described. he film hasn't got a mystery actor as the lead, only to be revealed when we first meet Reacher, so surely they know before they buy the... More

Posted by FoximusPrime at 12:23, 02 January 2013 | Report This Post


just okay

I'll go with three stars, watchable but not outstanding. Like many I am a fan of the books and was surprised they picked this one which I thought was one of the weakest. But they do an okay job of it and Cruise was better than I expected although still 'wrong'. It needed a younger Harrison Ford or Liam Neeson for the sheer physical presence that Reaher has. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 00:35, 02 January 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Jack Reacher

Since 1997, British author Lee Child has written a series of novels that follows the adventures of a former American Military Policeman, Jack Reacher, who like Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name, wanders the United States. Based on the ninth book One Shot in the series, the retitled Jack Reacher had gained controversy even during its early development due to the casting of Tom Cruise who doesn’t fit the character description of the eponymous Reacher, but can the short superstar prove the fanbase... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 17:27, 31 December 2012 | Report This Post


Jack Reacher

Being the Christmas gift to his fans across the globe, Jack Reacher lacks punch yet it is quite believable and convincing. Read my Detailed Review Here: http://www.filmwaves.in/2012/12/jack-reacher.html ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ajm1991 at 03:27, 31 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: No surprises

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, five are shot dead by an expert sniper. All evidence seems to point to James Barr, a former army sharpshooter, but he sticks by his story that he is innocent and writes a note which says: “Get Jack Reacher”. Reacher, a drifter and former army military police officer, sees the news report and turns up in the city. The defense is immensely relieved, but Reacher says he has come to bury the guy. Shocked at the accused’s request, Reacher sets out to confirm for h... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 20:37, 30 December 2012 | Report This Post


No surprises

Enjoyed this well enough. Nothing to get you over excited but an enjoyable ride all the same. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sephiroth7 at 14:01, 30 December 2012 | Report This Post


Not Many Brains, Lots of Brawn

Surprisingly violent for a 12A, and with some unfortunate and unintentional timing with the recent shootings...Tom Cruise doesn't really do Jack Reacher (more like Ethan Hunt without the morality), but hell, I liked it. What really failed though was Werner Herzog (or rather, his character) - as the Empire review states, his twisted sense of reality doesn't come through nearly enough to make you feel anything except a bit confused. The 'twist' also had me scratching my head - all this carn... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Arfpint at 21:33, 29 December 2012 | Report This Post


Surprisingly good

Saw this's last night and was rather pleasantly surprised. The plot and feel are I found slightly reminiscent of Dirty Harry or Payback and while I had my reservations about Cruise in the role I felt he did a fine job in and was believable in the action sequences. Werner Hertzog was also great and really menacing with the use of just his voice. I haven't read the books but i do have a a fair understanding of the Reacher character and iI could see that some elements were obviously changed to su... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Workshed at 17:32, 29 December 2012 | Report This Post


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