There was some outcry when Tom Cruise was cast as the title character of a series of books by Lee Child. “He’s too short” they said. “But Reacher’s 6’5″ tall” they yelled. “Not Tom FUCKING Cruise” is what the general consensus from the fans of the books as well as non-fans of Mr Cruise. In all fairness, he does have a screen presence that fulfills that larger than life trait and is very convincing as a though ex military police officer who lives like a drifter solving crimes as he travels place to place. Even if he still does look like Tom Cruise.
Taken from the novel One Shot (a much better name by the way) the film opens with a sniper attack on five random civilians by a shifty Jai Courtney framing a former U.S. Army sniper in the process. When the sniper’s only demands is to get Jack Reacher, who should walk through the door that instant but the man himself. Directed by Christopher McQuarrie (his second directorial effort after Way of the Gun) gives a great pulpy detective story with a nonsense protagonist. Thankfully there is no thrown in romance just Rosmand Pike not knowing where to look when Tom Cruise takes his shirt off. Woman in general appear to just throw themselves over Jack Reacher in this film, but then again it is Tom Cruise.
With solid turns from everyone all round from Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo and Robert Duvall who shows up in the last act as a sidekick/mentor to Reacher, it’s a role that could have been a cameo but hey…. its Duvall. Also another casting right out of nowhere is Werner Herzog is the mysterious man in the shadows The Zec. To call it a performance would be wrong, to call it perfect casting would be right. Herzog basically plays himself but as an evil mastermind who forces people to bite off their own thumbs.
It’s a shame Jack Reacher didn’t do well as it had hoped. The character is such an entertaining one. A pulpy noir detective that cuts the bullshit and kicks ass, perhaps not an original concept but then again what is? Maybe Cruise wasn’t right, at the ripe old age of 50 and the vast amount of stories to tell, and I do think they are worth telling, and with chances of any sequels not on the horizon I do hope that someday someone else takes on the role and bring more of Lee Child’s novels to the big screen. It’s what Jack Reacher deserves..