Monday, June 17, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Jack Reacher (2012) **

PG-13, 130 min.
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Lee Childs (novel “One Shot”)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Jai Courtney, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog, Alexia Fast, Vladimir Sizov, Joseph Sikora, Michael Raymond-James, Josh Helman, Robert Duvall

“Jack Reacher” is the type of movie that reminds me of the way my middle child likes to do his chores. He refuses to do them in the efficient ways we try to teach him. He prefers to come up with his own way to do things that rarely take into consideration his end purpose. He likes to take the long way around things. It seems almost everyone in “Jack Reacher” likes to take the indirect approach. Reacher himself is the biggest offender.

Reacher is a mystery. He’s so aloof that everyone else has to say his name incessantly in order to remember it. Hell, Reacher has to say his own name more than most people just to keep it straight. Anyway, Reacher is a former Military Police investigator who joins a lawyer to prove the innocence of a man he feels to be guilty of killing five people in a city sniper shooting. See what I mean? Instead of looking at the actual murders to begin with, Reacher starts pursuing a lead that begins when a young woman in a bar who seems to be picking him up, but he infers that she’s setting him up.

Anyway, I don’t see much use in tearing apart all the plot points. The truth is, this is a murder mystery and for those who are looking for such a thing without putting too much thought into it… well, Jack Reacher’s your man. Tom Cruise is the titular Jack and the rest of the cast is pretty impressive compared to the material they’ve entered. I’m sure this will please many well enough for a home rental, but it’s a pretty good thing not many bothered to see it in theaters. I wouldn’t be able to get too enthused about a continuing series of these movies.

Oh, there is one pretty funny point of interest. Fans of the “Jack Reacher” novels were upset that the 5’ 7” Cruise was cast in the role because apparently in the books the character is quite a hulking man. I had forgotten this when I watched the movie, but at one key point in the plot a motel manager claims to the police that they’ll know the guy when they see him as if his massive nature makes him stand out. I didn’t realize they were talking about Jack Reacher at this point, but then one of the detectives reacts as if she’s obviously talking about Reacher and moments later spots Reacher in a car all hell breaks loose. It’s a real WTF moment. “Oh yeah, he’s supposed to be really big, but he’s played by Tom Cruise.” Smack to the head! Why not just change the line?

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