Jack Reacher (2012)

It was two years ago that I had my first encounter with a Jack Reacher novel. Nothing to Lose was entertaining and at that time I thought, written very much like a thriller movie. Fast forward to 2013 and here’s Jack Reacher on the big screen, played by Tom Cruise. Now I am sure that if I hadn’t read that book, my opinion of the main character would have been different. Unfortunately, the one main thing I kept remembering was how Reacher looked like in the novel – the impressive stature, the “rough around the edges” look, the bulky appearance. Tom Cruise didn’t quite fit this image, even though he tried.

JR The movie itself is fast paced, entertaining, and with enough going on to keep one glued to the screen. Based on the book One Shot by Lee Child, this is the 9th novel with Jack Reacher as the main protagonist. In a nutshell, it’s the story of a man accused of several murders he didn’t commit. On the hospital bed, the accused asks for Reacher, an ex military man with an impressive record and a penchant for getting the bad guys. And punishing them. Described by the accused as “the only one who can help me”, Reacher ends up exposing the bad guys, having an “almost” moment with the sexy female lawyer assigned to the case, taking off his shirt and solving the mystery. Maybe not in that order though. As a Tom Cruise movie, this was excellent. Not as good as Mission Impossible, Minority Report or Valkyrie but still, it’s a certain type of movie that Tom acts in and he’s good at it, and this one definitely fits the bill.
The car chases, the fight scenes, that combination of bravado and irresistible charm that seemed to work on all the ladies (Rosamund Pike who played the lawyer seemed more than a bit star struck), add just about the right flavor to the movie, even if it did seem a little over the top. On the other hand, it is an action movie so over the top moments are to be expected.
Lee Child (or perhaps I should use his real name, Jim Grant) makes a cameo appearance in the movie – that was neat, it’s always nice to see the man behind the novel.

I liked the movie but while I was watching it I tried to detach myself from the idea of Reacher as I read about him in the novel, and just imagine this was a typical Tom Cruise movie. Viewed this way, the movie was great, and I was able to enjoy it. If we bring the real Reacher’s appearance into focus, the film falls short. Or maybe I just need more convincing.
I can’t help but wonder if this is but the first installment in a series, a sort of Americanized James Bond.

Reacher. Jack Reacher. This could work.

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16 Responses to Jack Reacher (2012)

  1. Brian Joseph says:

    I usually find it a little odd watching a movie after reading the book. It really changes one’s perspective.

    Thanks for the insightful review. The thing about action movies is that I really dislike 95% of them but absolutely love the other 5%. Most do not work for me but when they do they really work for me!

  2. Delia says:

    It’s good I didn’t read this particular book, or it might have changed my perspective and probably not for the better. As it was, I just told myself it’s an action movie with Tom Cruise and left it at that.
    You seem to have extreme reactions when it comes to this type of movie. Intriguing.

  3. Jenners says:

    It is bothersome that Lee Child is so specific about how Reacher looks and Cruise is nowhere near this description. This was the one Jack Reacher book I read and it was “OK.’

    • Delia says:

      It’s not his fault for imagining the character the way he did. How could he have known who was going to play Reacher? To be honest I thought Daniel Craig would have been a much better choice.
      “OK” is the right word, nothing fancy, just action and entertainment.
      I have “Worth Dying For”, another Reacher novel, on my TBR pile. Might give that one a try this year.

  4. Elisa says:

    Tom Cruise?! ah man. He isn’t Jack Reacher…I will take your advice and just watch it as a Tom Cruise movie when I see it some day. 🙂 Lovely review

  5. Lynn says:

    I haven’t read any of these novels so maybe I’ll watch the film – it’ll be nice not to watch a film where I’m comparing it to the book.
    Lynn 😀

  6. Athira says:

    I haven’t read any of the Jack Reacher books and am not sure if I will but I would like to watch this movie. I’m not a big Cruise fan but the trailer was pretty cool. Maybe watching the movie may make me check out the book.

    • Delia says:

      It’s a good action movie, enjoyable. As for the book, it’s very rare that I want to read it after watching the movie but if you do, I hope it’s a great experience for you.

  7. Vishy says:

    Nice review, Delia! I have read two Jack Reacher books – ‘Killing Floor’, the first one in the series, which is my favourite, not just in the series but also one of my favourite thrillers, and ’61 Hours’ – and I liked both of them. Tom Cruise definitely doesn’t fit in with the Jack Reacher description 🙂 But nice to know that the movie works, if we watch it as a Tom Cruise movie. I love Tom Cruise’s action movies – I loved the ‘Mission Impossible’ series and ‘Knight and Day’. I will keep an eye for this movie. Thanks for this wonderful review!

    • Delia says:

      So you’re not a stranger to Reacher’s adventures. 🙂
      You’ll probably like this movie, I hope you get to watch it.

      • Vishy says:

        I love the cool, fictional hero that Lee Child has created – a 6’5″ tall man with a military background, who walks lonely in a highway without any ID and who, when arrested by the police is not able to give any logical reason for being present near a particular town 🙂 There is something fascinating in that image – it make me think of old Westerns.

  8. TBM says:

    I haven’t read the books so maybe the movie will work more for me. Might wait for the DVD though. Sometimes I crave watching a good action flick. Mindless entertainment.

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