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Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher: Thrilling & Suspenseful Action

  • David OyelowoRichard Jenkins...
  • DramaMystery & Suspense...
  • Christopher McQuarrie
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Jack Reacher: Thrilling & Suspenseful Action

Based on the novel One Shot by Lee Child, the story of Jack Reacher reunites writer-director
Christopher McQuarrie and his leading man Cruise – who had previously worked
together on Valkyrie back in 2008.  

In Lee Child’s Jack Reacher
crime series, the protagonist is described as a tall, blonde and robust man – one
who demands attention when he walks into a room – and yet, in the novel’s
adaptation to film, the role went to a man who is anything but.

The story takes place in downtown
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The opening
scene of Jack Reacher is easily one of its most disturbing ones; a
sniper guns down five seemingly random people in a public park, in broad
daylight.  After a quick examination of
the evidence, both the police detective Emerson (
Oyelowo) and district attorney Alex Rodin
(Jenkins) believe that they have captured their man:
an ex military sniper James Barr (Sikora).

However, when asked to sign a
confession, Barr simply writes ‘Get Jack Reacher’.  Before he gets a chance to explain further, on the way to prison, Barr gets beaten into a coma.

With no social security, no ID and
no means of contact, Jack Reacher (Cruise) is often referred to as ‘the shadow’.
A formed Army MP, who eventually faced relegation, Reacher hasn’t been seen for two years.
However, after learning of the shooting and James Barr’s capture, he resurfaces
once again.

Reacher joins forces with Barr’s defence
lawyer Helen Rodin (Pike), who wants to try and keep her client off death row,
if nothing else.  Together they start
investigating the incident, and as the investigation digs deeper, more
revealing clues are uncovered.

The excellent opening scene,
which has no dialogue for the first ten minutes, creates heart gripping
suspense as the audience sees the targets through the sniper’s lens. The random shooting and its motives are
unknown and the twists and turns of figuring it out is what keeps Jack
Reacher
interesting; watching Helen and Reacher put the pieces of the
puzzle together –  which only get more
and more mind-boggling as the time goes on – is thrilling.

Surprisingly, Jack Reacher
provides a few well-deserved laughs; in the midst of all the chaos, McQuarrie
finds time for a few carefree, well delivered jokes.

However, the film’s pace causes a
few issues; the lack of momentum is where it falls short. Clocking just over the two-hour mark, McQuarrie
moves rather quickly through the action sequences – which are very few – before
slowing down to a grinding halt as we are introduced to the baddies of the
story. The Russian-sounding angry mob is slightly puzzling as the audience
never fully understands who they are and what their motives are or if they are even
Russian to begin with.

Even though
the casting of Jack Reacher goes slightly off the mark, Cruise has no
problem in keeping it grounded and in control. Slightly more subdued than
usual, Cruise flexes his muscles and shows that he is still the man for the
job.  His sidekick lawyer Pike, despite
the damsel-in distress look on her face, provides great support and does not get
overshadowed by the leading man. The ‘big boys’ Jenkins and Duvall are great,
but as for the ‘Russians’, they could perhaps consider taking an acting class
or two before auditioning for another role.

Despite some of the film’s shortcomings,
Jack Reacher still manages to stand strong. An absorbing crime thriller,
its twists and turns will have you guessing the outcome all the way to the end.

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