Thursday, September 30, 2021

Movie Review: Jack Reacher

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Action, plot
Cons: Overly serious tone
The Bottom Line:
Sniper in crosshairs
Reacher questions if a frame
Tone too serious

“Weird Meeting You.”  “Likewise.”

Since I read so many mysteries, I have heard of the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child.  They are somewhere on my TBR pile (and yes, I realize they aren’t cozies).  I was curious when I saw that a Jack Reacher movie was being released, and I always intended to watch it.  I finally got the chance, and I enjoyed it, although it did have some flaws.

Pittsburg is rocked when someone with a sniper riffle takes out five random citizens one afternoon.  The police are lucky in that they are able to track down a suspect almost right away – an ex-Army sniper named James Barr (Joseph Sikora).  However, Barr only says one thing – “Get Jack Reacher.”

Reacher (Tom Cruise) is also ex-Army, a former investigator who has his own reasons for wanting to see Barr in trouble with the law.  He’s a loner and a drifter who comes to town on his own.  When he connects with Barr’s defense lawyer, Helen (Rosamund Pike), he comes away from the meeting with questions.  Could it be that Barr is being framed?

The plot of this movie is wonderful and drew me in right away.  I love a good mystery, and this was a great one.  There are good twists and reveals along the way.

This is also an action movie.  It’s not full-blown, over the top action, but it does contain several intense action scenes.  They were also wonderful and kept my glued to the screen.

A lot of fans of the books had issues with Tom Cruise being cast as Reacher.  Apparently, Reacher is supposed to be a physically intimidating person, and Tom Cruise isn’t that.  I can certainly understand their issues with casting choices like that since I have had my own issues with casting of favorite characters over the years.  Having said that, I didn’t have a problem with him or anyone else in the cast.  I was just judging them based on what we saw here, and I thought they all did a great job.

My issue was more with the direction and tone of the movie.  It felt like it was trying to be too earnest.  There were some speeches that felt out of place and slowed things down.  Everyone acted like this was the end of the world, which I think was a directorial choice instead of a performance choice.  Even some of the lighter, funnier moments, lost their impact because everything was so solemn.  I’m not saying this should have been a comedy, but a little lighter tone would have made the film more enjoyable for me.  I’m wondering how much of that was trying to imitate the tone of the books.  If so, I wonder if it comes across better on the written page.

I watched this movie on TV, and I had to laugh at some of the obvious edits to the language.  I’m not sure what cuts might have been made for violence, but even so there was one disturbing scene I wound up fast forwarding through.

I’m glad I finally watched Jack Reacher, and I still plan to watch the sequel, which I’ve already recorded.  I can see why fans might have been disappointed with it, but if you are looking for a decent thriller, you’ll be glad you watched this one.

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