Jack Reacher (2012)

Tom Cruise is short. And he has brown hair. And he is pretty much not like the Jack Reacher of the Lee Child novels. Physically, at least, Chris Hemsworth might have been a much better choice.

The most famous of the lines in the Reacher novels is, "Reacher said nothing." But this Reacher says quite a bit. I guess it's hard to take the internal monologue and make a decent movie with it, but the exposition is nearly constant, and he has an overwhelming need to show everyone how smart he is all the time. Do you remember the movie Collateral where Cruise was opposite Jaimie Fox? Well, he just reached into the acting bin and pulled out that character. I liked that movie, but this wasn't supposed to be that movie. 

On the plus side, Pittsburgh is featured very prominently in this movie, and they do a pretty good job of not making it look like crap. Well, aside from all of the urine-soaked back alleys and crumbling infrastructure, it looks good. The large number of outdated, loud, and ultimately slow muscle cars is all Pittsburgh. 

So, the action scenes are inconsistent. One scene has just a few miserable fighters who get their butts handed to them pretty quickly. Then, there is the meth house. That scene is just a travesty. It's like the Three Stooges decide to attack Bruce Lee. It crosses the line between action and comedy. This is not supposed to be a comedy, you idiots. 

It's a thriller with action parts, so there has to be a car chase. This car chase lasts too long and is ultimately pointless. I just think they thought that there were things that needed to be in the film, so they shoehorned them in wherever they could.

One of the points made is that the killer put a quarter in a parking meter. I just want to be clear on this: he entered a parking garage and put a quarter in a meter. I've been in that garage. In fact, I've been in almost every public garage in downtown Pittsburgh as well as some in other cities. Parking meters are used where there is no choke point. In garages, you control the points of ingress and egress so you can consolidate the places where money needs to change hands. I've never been in a parking garage where there were individual meters. 

The ending it a true WTF moment. The ramifications of the end are staggering, but they're treated as if things are resolved. I'm not going to give it away for anyone who wants to see it, but it is the worst wrap-up I've seen in a movie that implies that things are brought together. At least in something like Empire Strikes Back, it's not supposed to finish things off. 

I expected too much. I didn't read this Reacher book, but I read another Reacher book, so I had expectations for what the character would be like and what the interactions would be. Clearly, what I thought and what the director thought were two different things. This was a decent movie, I think, if you don't go into it with expectations.

The direction was okay.
The acting was good.
The cinematography was really good.
The dialogue was pretty bad.
The story was boilerplate - which is a shame.
Everything else was probably above average.



  1. It's a shame they didn't have a book to reference. Oh..wait. The dramatic changes in this movie (like the removal of a key character) to the minor unnecessary changes (moving it to PGH from a town in Indiana) would necessitate a -2 from your score for me. Tom Cruise as Reacher necessitates a -10.

  2. You needed to set aside your expectations. They wasted the source material, that's agreed.
    For what was actually produced, it was a middle of the road action movie.


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