Jack Reacher Review

Jack Reacher movie posterSynopsis
When a sniper kills five random people, the police investigation quickly leads to Army veteran James Barr (Joseph Sikora). But Barr insists he is innocent and tells the District Attorney, Alex Rodin (Richard Jenkins), to bring in Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) to investigate the case. When Reacher finally arrives, he agrees to help Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), Barr’s defense attorney, find out the truth about the murders. After looking at the evidence, Reacher comes to one conclusion: Barr is innocent.

Jack Reacher is based on the book One Shot, written by Lee Childs and the ninth novel in the Jack Reacher series. I haven’t read any of the Jack Reacher novels (Or heard of them until this movie honestly), so I have no idea how it compares to the source material. As a film, however, Jack Reacher had the potential to be a great thriller, but instead it drags its feet and takes its time to get to the climax, and has a difficult time keeping my attention.

Tom Cruise plays the part of Jack Reacher well. I have seen quite a bit of comparisons between Cruise’s Reacher and his book counterpart. My Grandpa has read Childs’ novels and explained to me that Reacher was a guy who sticks out of the crowd but looks like someone you don’t really want to pick a fight with. Or according to the internet, a blonde haired, 6’5” man who is built like a brick house. This is a stark contrast to Cruise’s dark haired, shorter build. But to be honest, I think Cruise’s smaller, less intimidating stature fits the ghost persona described in the movie perfectly. Reacher as an average-sized man can blend in anywhere much easier than a taller-than-normal man can.

We quickly learn who Reacher is within the first few minutes in a quick expose from David Oyelowo’s Detective Emerson. He explains who Reacher is and a little bit of his motive. Then the rest of the movie is used to show why this guy is such a bad-ass. At first I thought this was an indication that the whole movie would move along quickly, but it was a mistake to think that. More on that in just a moment.

There were a few good action sequences throughout the movie, particularly a car chase about two-thirds through the film. However, the final fight, the action sequence that is supposed the be the biggest scene, felt lackluster. The lead-in sequence was pretty cool, but there wasn’t much to the fight itself. But I guess since it was billed as more of a thriller than an action movie that isn’t too surprising.

I felt there was a lot of unnecessary plot that could have been removed. The film tries to stretch out the investigation and final reveal to keep the viewers invested. By doing so, it adds many extra elements that make the plot needlessly bloated. Jack Reacher has a run time of little over two hours, and most of that time feels like it is dragging on. If this movie was closer to an hour and a half or so, it most likely would have been more engaging.

Jack Reacher could have been a fantastic thriller, but instead took way too long to build up to the underwhelming final scenes. There were several plot elements that could have been removed, helping the movie to move along quicker. However, I did enjoy Cruise as Jack Reacher, as he fits into the idea the character is a ghost more than his book version. For all its faults, Jack Reacher is a decent thriller that isn’t a bad way to spend two hours.


Review requested by JavaGirl. Check out her amazing blog at JavaGirl’s Life.

6 thoughts on “Jack Reacher Review

  1. Thanks! You’re the best! I think I might have liked this movie a bit more than you did, but nevertheless, truly enjoyed your review. I love 2 hour movies! I think the plot with the girl Jack Reacher befriends shows the viewer the soft side of him instead of always the kick a**. The cinematography was superb (I’m pretty picky about the camera and how it moves in every movie I watch and this is coming from a girl who lives and breathes photography) with great angles. Not too crazy about the real Jack Reacher being 6’5 feet tall. Like you said, a shorter average man makes more sense to the movie and viewer. Great job!


    • Sounds like you did. There is nothing wrong with a two hour movie, I just feel if it were shorter, the plot would be more concise and I would have enjoyed it more. I guess I notice a bad camera more than a good camera but I agree that the camera work was good in this film. Glad you enjoyed my review!


  2. I liked the movie a lot, without spoiling anything I love near the climax when Tom Cruise finally fights Jai Courtney (who was awesome in the STARZ show Spartacus) and twists his harm to make him scream so the antagonist can hear what is happening to his top man.


  3. having read all of the Reacher books I was very disappointed to see a 5’7″ish Tom Cruise play a 6’5″ 250# Jack Reacher, cannot believe Lee Child approved of this casting snafu


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