A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.
I haven’t really noticed how typecast an actor Tom Cruise is until I say down today to look at all the cast and crew IMDb pages for Jack Reacher. The star of the Mission Impossible franchise, which has announced its fifth installment is currently under production, does a new action thriller in a similar fashion every couple of years [MI I-IV, Minority Report, Knight and Day, Jack Reacher]. All of his characters in those films are the same, and I realized something after coming to that conclusion: he does the role well, and these movies aren’t really about him anymore. He is exactly like the character Jack Reacher in that we know what the character is, but we don’t know what kind of adventure he will go on or what mystery he will solve. I usually look down on the same performances from typecast actors, but its not because they aren’t capable, but because they are good and reliable in doing so.
In this case, Jack Reacher provides an interesting case that the Cruise character must solve, and Christopher McQuarrie‘s writing/direction of the film are something much different than the MI films. I had this sense of deja vu in the early half of the film with what I thought had a very similar mood/camera work to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The first shooting scene of the film from the parking garage was probably the most thrilling, scary scene I have ever seen in a Cruise typecast movie. I was holding my breath the whole scene. Something very unique and rare [unfortunately] is the very real and possible way that the action and fighting were done. The punches landed hard, no one betrayed any laws of physics that I could tell, and everything seemed not only possible, but plausible. Paired with that was the sound editing of those scenes, which was pretty much a complete lack of sound, other than that of the gunfire or hits landing. I thought it was awesome, and also reminiscent of the Nolan Batman.
So, like I said before, the question isn’t about Cruise, it’s about what story he is implanted in. This one was an intriguing one, the main police case and it’s eventually revealed holes are smart and well done. There were some run of the mill cliches, but the first half of the film was some great movie material. Then, there was the second half, your typical Cruise hero action revenge stuff, and I think that was less entertaining and just felt like something different than the first half. I was horribly disappointed when Cruise threw down his gun to battle a villain hand to hand, although I completely understand why it was done, I just thought the film could have done something better and more unique than that.
A cool little note for the future is that McQuarrie is writing and potentially directing the next Mission Impossible, so I think Jack Reacher is an indicator of good things to come for the MI series.
3/4 – In yet another Tom Cruise typecast, self-produced action thriller, writer/director Chris McQuarrie provides a realistic, heavy, and sometimes scary story and action with a well made/portrayed mystery for Jack Reacher to solve.