Jack Reacher has anything you might want from a typical action film. It promises a conspiracy at the core of its plot, a protagonist with excellent fighting skills, an intriguing villain, car chases and fight scenes.
Christopher McQuarrie’s adaptation of Lee Child’s novel ‘One Shot’ delivers some interesting scenes such as its very opening. A group of strangers are gunned down in the street and the person, who is allegedly responsible for the shooting has only one request while in questioning – ‘Get Jack Reacher’. This opening not only keeps audiences at the edge of their seats but was probably part of the reason why the film’s release was postponed after the Newtown massacre.
When in 2011 it was announced that Tom Cruise will be portraying Lee Child’s protagonist Jack Reacher this caused slight upheaval amongst fans since Cruise doesn’t entirely fit the character description. Therefore, this makes us think that Reacher is not about appearances but about presence. Although the opening (consisting of shots and scenes with little to no dialogue) attempts to set the scene for Cruise’s appearance as Reacher and other people’s reactions to him, the character fades as the action goes on and remains a mystery for the viewer. Most of the characters are schematic and even stereotypical, but Robert Duvall as the owner of firearms and ammunition store Martin Cash still gets the time to help Reacher save Rosamund Pike’s defence lawyer Helen Rodin. Meanwhile, filmmaker Werner Herzog makes for a memorable villain with a dark past Klaus Kinski, also known as Zec, leaving us wishing we could have seen more from him.
Visually the film looks as a great action film, with fight sequences where Cruise beats up a group of guys in a dark car park in just the blink of an eyeq. However, apart from these action sequences, in scenes where the mystery should unfold for the audience not much seems to happen. The plot includes a number of twists, which viewers might find interesting but the film delivers these swiftly, without much fuss, probably to mirror its protagonist’s coolness and failing to engage.
On the overall, Jack Reacher is an action film with some great thrilling fight scenes. However, since these are fairly generic, the film may quickly lose its audiences since it is indecisive whether to fully reveal its protagonist or unfold the motives for the shooting in the beginning.