Jack Reacher (2012) – Film Review
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Rosamund Pike
by Dan Berlinka
Like its eponymous protagonist, whose quickly recapped back story includes an impeccable record in the armed forces, this picture appears to have excellent credentials.
Tom Cruise certainly has the enigmatic star quality to make the lead character (just about) credible. Writer/director McQuarrie previously scripted the twisty verbal cleverness of The Usual Suspects. The fine supporting cast includes Robert Duvall and a rare acting turn from kunsthaus auteur Werner Herzog.
Everything in the package screams “action, yes, but with wit and intelligence…” Which is why Jack Reacher is something of a letdown when it soon becomes apparent that this is just as silly and about as plausible as a mid-period Steven Seagal vehicle.
“Entertainment suffers significant collateral damage”
The dialogue is a disappointing mixture of leaden exposition and by-the-numbers quippery. While there’s an earnestness to the enterprise which ends up looking faintly ridiculous, given the cartoonish villains and set pieces.
In the end it’s a question of tone and in keeping a lid on the general preposterous nature of the plot, the actual entertainment suffers significant collateral damage. The inevitable post-Drive no-frills car chase means that while the driving may be real, it’s not particularly exciting either, leaving you wanting to cry out “Come on, throw in a stunt – you know you want to!”
Of course, it’s all watchable enough, but it lacks the commitment to mindless mayhem that, in the hands of say, the late Tony Scott, might have made it a lot more fun.