Regardless of how you feel about his casting as the titular character of the movie, Tom Cruise is the best aspect of the movie Jack Reacher. He is a convincing everyman who can comfortably handle himself without having to look as imposing as Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger. However you feel about him as a person, you can’t argue that he can act and act well when its called for.
In Jack Reacher, it isn’t even really called for. The movie never reaches much above generic action thriller and as cool as Reacher is as a character, he’s hardly the most exciting of new movie creations. He’s practically a phone call about special skills away from being Liam Neeson’s character in Taken (and at one point, this sort of happens).
That isn’t to say there aren’t any positives in the movie, its actually a very well put together thriller. It has a decent plot that reaches (pardon the pun) above the usual generic fare and doesn’t solely rely on revenge or saving a loved one. It manages to disguise its plot twists well-enough to keep them interesting and the action is good enough to distinguish it from most others.
In fact, this is where Jack Reacher comes into it’s own. The actions sequences go more for realism and grit than huge, flashy explosions. The car chase has a realism to it that will add a little more tension and you believe that Cruise can beat-up five thugs at once. It also never stops being cool when a hero explains to the villains how he’s going to dispatch them, something Cruise also convincingly manages.
It loses some of it’s original charm towards the end, when it becomes something much more generic. People have to be saved and a random, non-disclosed location is shot-up. To say the villain is wasted is a slight understatement too as Werner Herzog can be chilling on his worst day and terrifying if he really chooses too – here he is little more than a scary voice on a phone or a rambling mad man.
Jack Reacher does the job it needs to though and has introduced us to another new, slightly generic action hero. If it launches a franchise, it will be a decent movie every couple of years and regardless of how Tom Cruise fits the original vision of the role, at least he convinces as an action hero.
Overall, Jack Reacher does a very good job with an over-populated genre. There are plenty of action thrillers out there already but Tom Cruise manages to make this one slightly better. A decent plot, good, realistic action and some cool moments stop this from being totally generic. Its just a shame that Werner Herzog doesn’t get his deserved screen time or that the ending couldn’t match what had gone before.
Rating – 3.5
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