Jack Reacher

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. With Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Werner Herzog, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo

Wrong (?) choice Tom...
by gaRis (@takisgaris)

It was around Christmas last year, the usual time for an adventurous treat by Tom Cruise. Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol was an unprecedented success which clearly resurrected the dilapidating MI franchise. 2012 hasn’t been equally kind to Mr. Smile; Rock of Ages can’t really be taken as a box office winner ($48M) however there was sufficient reasoning for him to unleash his formidable crazy -performance antics, Tropic Thunder style. Well, you know, the effervescent Tom found a good idea to lead another action- packed, shooting- down crime thriller franchise. He turned 50 last July, just saying. Talking about Jack Reacher, a 17 published novel saga by Britton author Lee Child, based on a character lost in the shadow, a punisher of all things evil in equally gruesome ways. Paramount programmed the opening gala for December 15th, but just a day before, the Sandy Hook (Connecticut) grade school shooting tragedy occurred, taking the innocent lives of 20 toddlers and six of their heroic teachers.

Bad timing undoubtedly but that’s the least of the film’s problems, the main one being its writer/director Christopher McQuarrie. Little that you know that this is the same guy that has won an Oscar for his Usual Suspects script at the age of 27, a fact that is more jaw dropping than that brilliant film’s infamous twist ending. Not really a big career for him ever since. Here’s his sophomore effort behind the camera after his mediocre The Way of The Gun (2000). He then finds a place under the sun by writing Valkyrie (2008) where he meets Cruise. He’s credited for script-treating Ghost Protocol too. However, as McQuarrie the director, not so much. Jack Reacher is prolonged (124 min.), over talky, sporting a quirky narrative, undecided about its orientation, obstinate and egocentric, exactly as its protagonist. 5.7’’ Cruise playing 6.5’’- 230 pounds Reacher takes much more than a smirk and a plenty of cockiness.

Conclusion: God save the aptly cast supporting actors, from Richard Jenkins (as his adversary D.A.) to Robert Duvall (still rocking at his 81 as a gun shop owner and probably a NRA member) and the formidable Werner Herzog (you read that right) as the ultra-Siberian mobster, “the Zec” is justifying the price of admission. Alas, mission is still not accomplished and honestly I don’t see a second instalment since Reacher’s showing performance merely exceeded its making costs ($73M for a budget of $60M). Widely acknowledged as the most celebrated actor overseas (especially in Asia and more particularly Japan), Tom Cruise is safe from harming his manically boosted ego. I, as most of his million fans can forgive him this miscalculation of a film choice. Of course there’s another part of me, which is infuriated from his allegedly interference in PTA’s The Master, which possibly resulted in scraping significant scenes pertaining to Scientology references. One can feel after repetitive viewings that the story becomes cyclical and repetitious, focusing on Freddie Quell instead on (The Cause’s leader) Lancaster Todd. Then again, what the heck Tom, remember Magnolia? You Frank-ly nailed that one man…

World Premiere: 20 December 2012

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