One of the biggest surprises in casting news this year was the reveal of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. For some, the choice was obvious. Tom Cruise fills seats! And that’s pretty much all the movie studios want. For others, people like us that actually know the source material, the choice was a huge and obvious mistake.
If you aren’t familiar with Jack Reacher, the character, he can generally be summarized as being a huge, foreboding, tank of a guy. He digs pools to earn money, when hes not bouncing. He literally stops bullets with his chest muscles! He’s had an extremely impressive career in the Military Police, was highly decorated, and an expert marksman. Tom Cruise… is well… a tiny guy. Sure he’s built and all, but hes just basically the polar opposite of Jack Reacher!
But I digress. The movie! How was it? It was good! A very entertaining detective story with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, but nothing too complex to have you scratching your head. The action scenes were good, if a little scarce. Mr. Cruise puts on the charm, as always, and plays the personality of Jack Reacher pretty well. Although I couldn’t help notice that he was really just playing a generic Tom Cruise role, with which some obvious liberties were taken to stretch it into the role of Jack Reacher. There was a decent car chase and some good fight scenes, although one particularly towards the end was a little cliche.
I’ve only read the first 3 Jack Reacher books but from that I think I generally have a pretty good understanding of the main character. I certainly have a very vivid mental image of the guy. Because of that, I just couldn’t help but be bothered the whole time I watched this movie. Many could argue that most people have no idea who Jack Reacher is but they certainly know Tom Cruise so I shouldn’t care and just get over it. If that were the case, why name the movie “Jack Reacher”? Why not name it “One Shot” (title of the book the story is based on) and give the title character a different name? I can’t help but feel a somewhat bait and switch tactic here. The Jack Reacher books, of which there are many, are stunning and unfortunately I feel this franchise has lost its chance at any other movies being made.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the one huge mistake in the movie that just really bothered me. Jack Reacher, as demonstrated in the movie, is a fairly accomplished military marksman and an impeccable detective! So when a counter-sniper mentions having issues with the spotlights from his vantage point – Reacher’s brilliant idea is to “just shoot them out”. To which is he is chastised and replied to “why don’t I just set myself on fire so he can see me better too!”
I hate to sound so overly negative, as I was truly entertained watching this movie and in the end isn’t that really all we want? But, I just have to nitpick a little and point out the overly obvious casting flaw with the adaptation from book to big screen!
My recommendation: wait to rent, but definitely see it!