Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher or is he? Not according to fans of the books (written by Lee Child). To me though, as someone who hasn’t read the books Tom Cruise does a good job. I can however see that it’s unlikely he would have been cast if he hadn’t bought the rights himself – he certainly lacks the physical presence of Child’s 6 ft 5 hero.
Isolated from the books, this is a great crime thriller, brutal and uncompromising like Reacher himself. The story is well told and it’s superbly paced. Tension is cleverly created and built upon until the final scenes. A particularly good attribute the film has is ‘surprise’. It often confounds your expectations, as things happen slightly differently to how you might expect. This is taken too far at times though an there are a few moments which just make you think ‘Really?’ The overly clumsy and incompetent baseball bat wielding thugs are one and there’s a scene at the end of the film where Reacher has his gun to the head of the lead bad-guy but decides to put it down so that they can fight. This puts himself and his attorney friend Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike) in great danger. It just doesn’t seem like something the usually no-nonsense Reacher would do.
Bad Points : Beyond a little sexual tension between Reacher and Helen there isn’t really any emotional depth to the film. Reacher is as enigmatic as he is unemotional and has almost no human relationships. As a one off film this works, but it’s hard to see a sequel being able to find similar mileage in the character unless he is fleshed some more. It’s a similar situation to that of Taken – a film that worked and was good for what it was but just didn’t need a sequel. A great crime thriller then, that somehow pulls off the feat of being both intelligent and stupid at the same time. He may not be perfect for the role but Cruise isn’t bad either. 7/10