Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is a ghost of a once brilliant Military officer once police man that’s nowhere to be found. A former military sniper is suspected of committing a series of random murders of five people one day and Jack Reacher appears to enact a promise he once made to that man. Reacher however ends up leading an investigation into the incident and ends up uncovering a much deeper conspiracy is ongoing.
Christopher McQuarrie is a director/writer who’s had a lot more experience with a pen and pad than a camera these days. In 2000 he gave us his first feature film as a director, the Way of the Gun, which presented one of the most charismatic leads that no matter how despicable they becamse in their actions we ended up rooting for because they were that loveable. McQuarrie is great at writing those characters and here is no different. Even thought the film’s source is from a novel I’m certain that McQuarrie added his own level of cool into the character of Reacher, and even the villain The Zec (Werner Herzog), which is what makes this film so enjoyable.
Just like films such as The A-Team, Ocean’s Eleven, and Drive, where our heroes are characters that are so into their own insurmountable levels of cool that it becomes the thing that we love the most about them. Here we’re given an investigator who’s not afraid of any fight to the point that when he’s presented with the challenge of taking on five guys at once his only pause is demanding they pay their bills first since they won’t be able to do so after the fight. Jack Reacher is technically the army’s big man version of James Bond and it works.
Many, leading up to this movie, have complained bitterly of the casting of Tom Cruise. The book the character is basedoff described Jack Reacher as a tall husky man (something you would see more of in the films of the 60s and 70s) and in all regards Cruise is not that. However, I continue to shout from atop the hills of cinema love that regardless of whatever decision I care not of adaptation more of execution. In this film there is really only one moment in which that complaint can be thrown at it. There’s a moment when Reacher is getting deeper into the conspiracy and is being framed for a crime so as to get him away from the investigation and they ask for “a man who could kill with one punch”, while that description would fit given the previously displayed fight scene a receptionist leaves the scene with the comment “you’ll know him when you see him” or something to that effect and that feels like a direct queue towards his physique which is where the casting comes into question. There were probably better ways to get around that problem but it’s there. But if you’re willing to overlook that small oversight then the film continues to be a loving action filled joy of a film.
Let this discussion not end without the applause that’s needed for the role of The Zec, played by Werner Herzog. To all those familiar with Herzog‘s documentaries, and lovingly adored/parodied narrations, you know what kind of jokes you will be able to make throughout his scenes and it’s teed up so beautifully that I can’t imagine it any better. In the first scene that we’re introduced to him his villainous characteristics are things more akin to an 80s Bond film starring Roger Moore and that makes me love it even more.