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Customer Review

166 of 211 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT AWFUL BUT NOT GREAT EITHER (2-1/2 * out of 5), January 3, 2013
This review is from: Jack Reacher (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, and others, including Werner Herzog and Robert Duvall

I saw Jack Reacher this weekend. I went mostly out of curiosity: I've read every Reacher novel written by Lee Child (some of them bought through Amazon) and loved them.

I knew Child's Reacher and Cruise's would be different animals. Child's Reacher is 6' 5", between 210 and 250 pounds in different books, and has a 50" chest. Cruise is 5' 7" and probably weighs, stripped down, between 140 and 150 pounds. Even as fighters (which is one of the things Jack Reacher has to do every so often), they'd fight differently -radically differently--because there's no way a 150 pound, 5' 7" tall man could do some of the things an oversized behemoth like the original Reacher does. And though neat, like an ex-military man would be, Lee Child's Reacher is always a little scruffy: he buys his clothes one set at a time, throwing away the old ones, because he doesn't like to travel encumbered, and until then, he washes them out in the sink of whatever motel room he's staying in. Tom Cruise's Reacher exhibits the same behavior as Child's Reacher in this regard, but Cruise's Reacher always looks neat, just as Tom Cruise does himself.

Enough carping on appearance. The critical question is how well does Cruise do as Reacher, and the answer is `okay.' Not great, not even near it, but okay, not a total embarrassment.

Nor is the movie a total embarrassment. There is a good fight near the beginning when five local thugs take on Reacher to teach him a lesson. It's kind of comical watching little Tom Cruise mouth some of Reacher's words about how this is their last chance to get off without damage and how five to one odds are really three to one odds, because the last two will run away when they see what Reacher does to the first three, but the fight itself is swift, brutal, and most essential in a Reacher story, efficient. There is no waste effort, and avoiding waste effort is essential to the Reacher persona: he doesn't indulge in histrionics, he always uses the most direct efficient and quickest way to success in combat, like a good soldier would.

What a shame then there's a second big fight because the movie butchers it. Reacher has come to the showdown against the bad guys. He's already warned one -a Russian sniper- that if he sees him again, he's going to hand him his lunch barehanded. So what happens? He gets the drop on the bad guy and is pointing an assault rifle right at his chest at close to zero range. So Reacher/Cruise throws away his gun and rakes on the baddie mano a mano, in one of those generic fights we've seen in hundreds of other movies. There's also a car chase -what action movie would be complete without one?--that is boringly generic. We've seen it all too many times for it to be exciting except in the most mechanical, evanescent way.

That's a problem with the whole movie. It's a generic action film. Some of Reacher's tics have been inserted -he doesn't talk a lot, he washes his clothes out in the sink and buys new ones and throws away the old ones when he's done with them, he has near eidetic memory, and most of the time you just know he's been in army for years by the way he acts--but behind it all, eliminate the tics and this could just as easily be Ethan Hawke, sans disguises and trickery, in any of the increasingly boring Mission Impossible movies that have kept Cruise a star.

What's best in the movie? Old pros Werner Herzog and Robert Duvall milk their roles for all they are worthy and succeed in making them believable and enjoyable to watch. Richard Jenkins does a good, not great job, as Good Lawyer Rosamund Pike's father (he's the D.A.).

The Lee Childs novel that this movie was taken from (One Shot) was crisply plotted and everything Reacher does in it is thought out and efficient. This movie is just messy. Not horrible but not good either. Thus okay, no better than that.

One other complaint: Cruise is starting to look old for this kind of movie. His body is still buff, but, as it was in the last Mission Impossible movie when he was on the outside of the Burj al Khalifa in Dubai with his shirt off, his muscles look like old muscles now, and his face is puffy in closeups. Cruise has shown in previous movies that he's a modestly competent actor. He needs to begin stretching himself before he winds up playing opposite Sly, Arnold, Bruce and Jean Claude in one of those retread Old Heroes movies.

Lee Child says he likes Cruise as Reacher, but then Lee Child sold Cruise's production company the character franchise for the movies and I doubt he did it purely out of a conviction that Cruise was the perfect Reacher. Besides, Child used to work in advertising and we all know ad men occasionally bend the truth.
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Showing 1-10 of 80 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 12, 2013 2:14:15 PM PST
Your review has hardly anything to do with the movie but instead smells of an anti Tom Cruise review. I don't love Tommy, but good grief, you must hate the guy.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2013 2:36:09 PM PST
David Keymer says:
What a bizarre comment. I wrote that it is a generic action film that dilutes a strong character (Reacher) and makes it into a generic character of the type Cruise has played before. I worte that one fight scene is good but the other ridiculous for a Reacher-like character. I praised Duvall and Herzog and gave praise, but less praise, to Jenkins.

I said the plotting is weak esp. compared to the original. "Not horrible, but not good either."

Yes, I dinged Cruise. In a movie where he is the center, he needs to be more than adequate to the job. And he IS starting to look too long in the tooth for the role.

Also, throwing away the physical advantages Reacher has in the novels changes the balance of the movie, which clearly needed comment.

Sorry but I see nothing to change in the review.

Posted on Feb 25, 2013 11:20:01 AM PST
Joseph L says:
I don't care much for Tom's acting for the most part, I thought he was good in Collateral, Tropic Thunder and Magnolia but I'm curious, not having read the books, what actor would have been better suited to play Reacher? I really like watching movies and wondering who would have been better suited for a role, or how different a movie would have been had "insert actor" had played the part.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2013 11:25:53 AM PST
David Keymer says:
If this were twenty years ago, I could answer that right away --Nick Nolte: physically imposing, not immediately tagged as intelligent but alert, knowing eyes, and in good command of his hulking body. As for today, Jason Stathan, my current favorite among action heroes, isn't physically big enough.

Reacher needs to be big but smart, always keyed into his surroundings. He should not be a generic action hero, and that is what Cruise plays him as. I'm not anti-Cruise as one reader thought. It's just that he's not good for every role. I thought he was good in The Last Samurai and especially in Eyes Wide Shut but most of the time, he's limited in what he can do.

Posted on Mar 2, 2013 9:58:32 AM PST
John Kidd says:
Once again Hollywood screwed up a good book. I have read every Jack Reacher book and I doubt if will ever see this movie. I'm a big Tom Cruise fan but come on The Rock would have been a better fit.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2013 11:58:47 AM PST
David Keymer says:
I too love the series of books.

What bothers me is that with the right person playing Reacher, the movie would have had an epic hero who is enough differentlv from cookie cutter Good Guy that the movie would have sold anyway. But as I've written above, a 5' 8" hero, no matter how buff, can't behave in action like a 6' 5" one. It's a matter of physics. And I object to the grandstanding in the movie. Reacher would never have thrown away a gun to fight barehanded. He wouldn't necessarily have killed him but he would have shot the bad guy in the leg to incapacitate him. One of the nice things about Reacher is that he's not a super hero. Among other things, he's not a whiz at driving a car. He's amazing but not omni-competent. Cruise doesn't match Reacher's template.

Posted on Mar 15, 2013 4:00:11 PM PDT
Movie Monkey says:
Thanks for the review. I am on the side of never reading any of the books, and I loved this movie. It's funny that you called the action "generic". I thought it was anything but generic. Here are the things I found unique:

-No music during the fight scenes or car chase. Just the loud engine shifting gears and car crashing. I liked that.
-No obligatory camera shots of the 2 people chasing looking at each other. It was implied, but never outright shown to the audience. I appreciated that.
-Most of the gun shots I heard were much closer to actual gun shots. Most movies the sound is nowhere near the real noise
-During the last fight scene you described I loved the fact that when they injured each other it showed, and actually affected them during the fight. I hate that most movies when someone hurts their knee or leg, it's like nothing happened. The fight didn't do that. The bad guy hurts his leg, he was limping the rest of the fight.
-I thought Tom Cruise was fantastic, even better than the Mission Impossible roles.

To put it up against another recent action movie, I considered Die Hard 5 amazingly generic and dumb, but this movie I found refreshing and unique.

To each their own, thanks again for the review!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2013 4:46:54 PM PDT
David Keymer says:
The Die Hard series is ready to die. I hope they let it go.

The unrealistic part in the last fight was Reacher throwing away his gun and fighting. 1. He threw away his advantage. 2. Too much was at stake for Reacher to risk losing then.

We disagree on Cruise. I did think he looked better than in the last Mission Impossible movie, which I enjoyed most because in one fleet scene, on Dubai Creek, the apartment house we lived in for three years (2001-4) was shown in the background. Now that was cool!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2013 3:26:31 PM PDT
Movie Monkey says:
I know the plan is to have 1 more Die Hard, but this last one was so unbelievably bad, that I don't have my hopes up. They need to just bring it back to LA with a much smaller budget.

You are right about him throwing away his advantage. That was dumb, and has been done before. But that actual fight I thought was cool.

That's awesome about your house showing up in last MI movie! The opening of number 3 was filmed right near and over my Uncle's house. That was pretty awesome too! I actually think Tom Cruise is pretty solid in most of his movies. The only recent exception I can think of Knight and Day. I thought that was terrible. Though I think it had more to do with Cameron Diaz then Cruise.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2013 8:34:12 PM PDT
David Keymer says:
Talking about good fight movies, I just got 3 oldies from Amazon: Seven Samurai; 13 Assassins; and Kill Bill 2. (I already had KB1.) And this past weekend, we saw what may be the worst movie we've seen in the past three or four years, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone --we saw it because of the talents in it --Steve Carrell, Jim Carey, Steve Buscemi and Alan Arkin--but it was awful. I can't say anything good about it.
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