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.