Don’t Reach for Jack Reacher

Don’t Reach for Jack Reacher

Adaptation of photograph by Phil Guest, available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Copyright © 2013 Phil Guest.

Devin Jones, Student Opinion Editor

Jack Reacher is the tale of a hardcore dude who has no fear of the night or Russian mobsters that try to monopolize the construction business. Directed and starring Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher is based on a novel series written by British author Jim Grant and follows a mysterious ex-military police major who boasts of being “impossible to find,” and is your typical, overpowered protagonist. Jack is also a “top notch detective,” and his extensive military training makes him an unstoppable fist of destruction for anyone stupid enough to go toe to toe with him. However, Jack’s personality and character back story only go that far, giving the viewer next to nothing about the character’s past.

The movie opens up with a man, later identified as a Russian hit man  setting up his semi-automatic sniper rifle in a parking garage and shooting down civilians with (apparently) reckless abandon. After shooting down five people, two men and three women, the sniper makes his escape out of the parking lot and the following scene introduces one of the “bad guys,” Detective Emerson, played by David Oyelowo, looking around the scene of the crime and discovering a shell casing. After a very CSI: Miami sequence of events using forensics, Emerson conducts a raid on a home and detains the man suspected for the shooting, James Barr. We are then introduced to Barr’s attorney, Helen Rodin, played by Rosamund Pike, who pledges to give Barr a fair and just trial. The scene ends when Barr writes that he wants to see Jack Reacher on a notebook and holds it up for Detective Emerson to see.

From this point, the viewer is launched into the world of Jack Reacher after he agrees to be Helen’s lead investigator for Barr’s case. A series of fist fights and political struggles between Helen and her father later, the plot seems to degenerate. The main problem with Jack Reacher is that the viewer doesn’t feel as if he/she is truly invested in the film. The acting certainly isn’t bad, but after watching Tom Cruise for almost two hours, it gets to be a little stale. The detective work is shabby at best and is very hard to follow. For example, Jack seems to put all the pieces of the puzzle together off-screen rather than in front of the viewer. This makes it feel as though you aren’t involved in the story itself and, thus, reduces that interest the viewer has in the movie. There certainly aren’t any of the “Oh man!” moments that should define an action movie, and the holes in the plot are so big that you could walk through them. The shoddy conclusion also adds to this cringe inducing movie’s review, although this article won’t spoil that bit. All in all, Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher scores a solid three out of five stars due to the large number or logic gaps, substandard detective work, somewhat entertaining action scenes (see this movie if you’re a fan of fake hand to hand combat), and below average conclusion.