Jack Reacher (2012)
Dir: Christopher McQuarrie
According to the novels, Reacher is 1.96 m tall with a 50-inch chest, weighing between 100–115 kg and he has dirty blond hair. Tom Cruise is 1.7m tall with a 50 inch chest, weighs 77kg and has dark brown hair… Perfect casting then!
Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is former military police, but has been living off the grid for many years, and with his skills he’s impossible to find. However, when an expert sniper is arrested for a seemingly random shooting spree, his only words are to ‘get Jack Reacher’, who promptly turns up to investigate, uncovering a far more complex situation.
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who is best known for writing ‘The Usual Suspects’, but who hadn’t directed for 12 years. He’s more a writer than anything else, and his small portfolio has varied wildly between the extremely well-regarded ‘The Usual Suspects’ (currently #23 on the IMDb top 250 list) and the terribly regarded ‘The Tourist’ (with a 20% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes). Now teaming up with Tom Cruise, he seems to be developing a few projects.
Cruise took this on apparently wanting an action franchise, but he’s already got the far superior and successful ‘Mission Impossible’ films. It seemed for a while that developing ‘Reacher’ into a full franchise might be in doubt as the initial response in America was ‘lackluster’, but a strong worldwide box-office return sadly prompted production to go ahead on a sequel.
Some of the casting in this was good, as a villain we have director Werner Herzog, whose accent lends itself brilliantly to a sinister character, but his role in this is so small and undeveloped it seems like a huge waste. I also like Rosamund Pike here as a defense attorney and slight interest for Reacher. There’s a hilarious height issue for them as a couple, in certain scenes he looks taller than her, even in one where they’re stood directly next to each other. So, I paused the film, Googled their heights, and sure enough he is shorter by 4cm, plus she’s in a couple of inches worth of heels! He was definitely standing on something, possibly the casting director who was determined to make it work!
I saw a really interesting television show on the writer Lee Child, in which he was interviewed and showed that his pen name was chosen for very clever marketing reasons and his writing is for financial reasons. I am guessing his approval of Cruse in the lead role was for the same reasoning, he’s interested in paying bills and so this makes great financial sense but it’s not a great film, even as an example of this area of the action genre it’s not anywhere close to being among the best. Things like ‘MI: Ghost Protocol’ really are head and shoulders above this.
It didn’t make much impact on me, and I doubt it will have much lasting success, I would even cast a little doubt on the sequel making it through production, certainly I’m not in any rush to see it and I expect I’m not alone in that.