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.

Lightning Review: I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein movie posterSynopsis
Frankenstein’s Monster (Aaron Eckhart) has survived in seclusion for over 200 years after he was brought to life by Victor Frankenstein (Aden Young). Now he finds himself caught in the middle of a centuries-old battle between the Gargoyles, led by Lenore (Miranda Otto), and the Demon Prince Naberius (Bill Nighty) and his Demon horde. With the help of the scientist Terra Wade (Yvonne Strahovski), he seeks to learn about his origins and why Naberius is after him.

When I went into the theater to see I, Frankenstein, I didn’t have very high expectations. Which I suppose was a good thing so at least when I left the theater, I wasn’t too disappointed. Pretty much the only thing this movie has going for it are the action and visuals, which look amazing. The story didn’t do anything to pull you in or make you care about the characters. One of its biggest drawbacks is it takes itself too seriously and has trouble enjoying itself for being a simple fantasy-action film. I, Frankenstein feels a lot like Underworld, both in tone and story (although this isn’t really a surprise since the writer, Kevin Grevioux, was also one of the story writers for Underworld). I just feel like I have seen the “someone caught in the middle of an unknown, centuries long battle” schtick before and with better execution. At least this movie moves along quickly so you don’t have time to dwell on its shortcomings. Sometimes a movie’s cheesiness is its strength, but not it the case of I, Frankenstein; Its great special effects aren’t enough to make up for the lackluster story and character development.


I, Frankenstein Trailer

Synopsis (from video description): 200 years after his shocking creation, Dr. Frankenstein’s creature, Adam, still walks the earth. But when he finds himself in the middle of a war over the fate of humanity, Adam discovers he holds the key that could destroy humankind.

I’m kind of iffy on this one. It looks like Frankenstein’s Monster has become some sort of monster hunter himself, almost a Van Helsing feel to him. Kind of an interesting turn of fate, I guess, that could be an interesting twist on the character. I get an Underworld vibe about the film, but it is comes from one of the co-writers of that movie, so I guess that is to be expected.

I, Frankenstein hits theaters January 24, 2014. Directed by Stuart Beattie and staring Yvonne Strahovski, Aaron Eckhart, Jai Courtney, Miranda Otto, Caitlin Stasey, Kevin Grevioux, and Aden Young.