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.
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.