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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Movie Review: “Jack Reacher”


   I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.


The Cast: 


   Tom Cruise is a bona fide action star. It’s obvious that he’s been taking martial arts for a while now, and takes his fight scenes very seriously for entertainment value and accuracy. It shows in all of his films, so it isn’t just the choreographer...it’s him also. He has great range as an actor, but this role didn’t require him to really stretch as the meat and potatoes of the role was mostly an emotionally guarded man prone to extreme violence.

   Rosamund Pike plays the naive attorney swept up in more than she ever imagined could be going on. Again, there was no real requirement of depth needed to convey the foundation of the character...and Pike was more than adequate for the script she was handed.

   Robert Duvall is simply classic. Whenever I see him now, I see a seasoned actor that brings more to any role than what was handed to him on paper. Although his part on this film is smaller than others not mentioned in this post, his special brand of expertise he brings to his craft certainly eclipses the rest of the cast.



The Plot:

   Five random and innocent people are murdered one morning by a military sniper with seemingly no motive. The evidence makes it an easy catch for the police and the case is all but a success for conviction...except the accused killer insists that he is innocent. Further, he has only one request...get Jack Reacher.

   Reacher, having seen the story on the news, is already on is way...to bury Barr (the accused sniper) as per a promise made years before. A man that has gone completely off the grid, Reacher can’t be found, can’t be tracked and with no cell phone, credit cards, bills, or anything resembling modern technology, he is the closest thing to an invisible man anyone can possibly be.

   Everything seems to be in order except...Reacher has some questions that nobody has asked, and nobody can seem to answer. Some pieces of the case don’t fit and so Reacher decides to start his own independent investigation...and is quickly recruited by the defense attorney (Pike) to help prove that Barr is innocent.

   Along the way, Reacher makes an ally of a shooting range owner named Cash (Duvall) in what turns out to be a far more dangerous and complicated situation than just a military sniper gone awry. With seemingly random people trying to kill Reacher, and eventually the police out to “apprehend” him...Jack Reacher must call on all his detective, military and martial arts skills to uncover the truth...and leaves a trail of blood, broken bones and burnt wreckage in his wake.



The Verdict: 

   Recent events have put a damper on the current way we view gratuitous violence...and the opening sequence of this film certainly hit a cord. It was tough to watch, and only got more profound when the director dangled the possibility that a child was in danger. That said, it set the tone for the rest of the film regarding the evil Reacher was going up against

   I’ve never read any of the books, but read much of the criticism some had that Cruise did not resemble the description of Reacher in the book. Even if i had read the books, I still would be pleased with Cruise’s performance as he brought the presence of Jack Reacher to life...albeit in his own way.

   He was unassuming in his posture, yet confident in his presentation. Analyzing everything with Sherlock Holmes type attention to detail brought a quality to the character that was only enhanced when he would calmly deliver dialogue, seemingly in contrast to imminent situations. The bar scene and ensuing fight outside was an instant classic. The real beauty in this scene was that it was not isolated...but indicative of the entire film.

   A softer side of Reacher wasn’t seen until he interacted with Duvall’s character. The veteran Duvall delivered on the small role he was provided and gave Reacher an extension of his influence when it came time to tie up all the loose ends. A movie that delivers on pure entertainment value, with a plot that is not too profound, but acted upon by characters that are...it was better than I expected it to be. Although heavy at times, the action and seemingly unintended comedy, were an excellent offset and soaked three and a half (3 1/2) cinnamon sticks, out of five (5),  in this action packed cup of tea.

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