Jack Reacher feels like it could have been a hard-boiled detective thriller but ends up feeling confused, predictable and at times… laughable.
When a man guns down five innocent people only to plead innocent at his arrest later, he asks for one Jack Reacher. Reacher is an elusive “army cop”; a vigilante with military training who plays by his own instincts and rules. With the help of a young female lawyer, Jack discovers there is considerably more to the random killings than was first suggested.
Oh, Tom Cruise… can you please do something that isn’t an action film one of these days? Please? I’d like to think you have more scope than this, and I think you are an alright guy, but you make it increasingly difficult to defend you!
This film’s biggest problem was its tone, and it baffled me multiple times. We open with a grisly shooting, provokingly shot through the scope of the rifle as we gun down innocent passers by. Intense stuff. What follows unfortunately is Tom Cruise getting into fights with the world’s stupidest thugs, including one scene in a bathroom that was positively looney toons.
The film’s first act is what I could call “Tommy’s First Investigative Thriller”. I can’t say I was ever in doubt that there was more going on, in fact some of the characters seemed woefully oblivious to the clues, and so the film drops all pretense almost immediately. Enter Mr Cruise, who is bewilderingly playing a man with split-personality disorder. I’d like to tell you Jack Reacher is an anti-hero, a rogue vigilante, he even says at one point: “I am no hero”, yet he frequently does heroic deeds. He sticks up for a young lost girl, he goes into danger to save one woman when he could have chosen another way. I never found him compelling as a “tough guy”, he still had that PG-13 Tom Cruise thing going, made worse when he suddenly switches between this and a hard-boiled act in certain scenes!
The less I say about his female counterpart Rosamund Pike the better, I’m happy to say though it appears I’m not the only one who thought she looked like she had wobbly, googly eyes inside her head.
The film’s opening is decent, but the rest that follows is awkward and unconvincing. Only when we get into third act car chases and fight scenes do we find some more compelling direction; the car chase is particularly good and the action isn’t all shaky camera nonsense, I could see what was happening. One might say though that it is too little, too late.
I do like Tom Cruise, but I wish he did a wider range of films, he didn’t always do action films before, and Jack Reacher is average at best. I feel as though it should have been a lot grittier, more intense but have a dry wit and merciless humour to it, and while I say that as someone who hasn’t read the books, the film comes across as wanting to be such a thing.