We all know film trailers can be deceiving. Case in point is the Tom Cruise vehicle Jack Reacher, which was marketed as an out-and-out action thriller. It’s not. There’s some fighting and shooting, to be sure, but Jack Reacher (out on Blu-ray on May 7) is for the most part a quiet, intelligent mystery film.
Based on Lee Child’s novel One Shot, Jack Reacher stars Cruise as the titular character, who is featured in a franchise of books by Child. Reacher is a former military cop who is called in to investigate what appears to be a random murder spree by an ex-army assassin. Reacher is like the Fonz gone AWOL—tough, cool, assured, smart, and able to predict what will happen in any given situation. He’s no party—Cruise plays him in a humorless, cold way without his trademark warmth and charm—but he’s effective. He gets results, and he moves the story along. He also kicks a lot of ass along the way.
In Child’s books, Reacher is described as a tall man—6’5” or so—and while height’s not one of Cruise’s attributes, he pulls off the character’s attitude and smarts, as well as his ability to handle himself in a fight. Cruise carries the movie, and he carries it well, peeling away the layers of falsehood and conspiracy to get to the heart of what happened one day in a Pittsburgh park.
As I said, there are moments of tough-guy punchouts, including one scene where Reacher pulls the cliché “I’m going to drop my gun so we can go man-to-man” move. But it’s more of a detective film, and the story, as guided by screenwriter/director Christopher McQuarrie (who wrote The Usual Suspects) is well-told, concisely edited, nicely shot, and well-acted by a cast that also includes Richard Jenkins and Rosamund Pike as Reacher’s will-they or won’t they attorney client.
Handsomely transferred to Blu-ray with all of its Pittsburg-ness intact, this is a good-looking film in high-def. The pivotal scene—involving the shooting that sets off the story—is lit and photographed as well as anything you’ll see in film these days. And the Blu-ray has some cool bonus features, such as a look at the stunts and physical training Cruse and the cast underwent for the film, a feature on the phenomenon surrounding the Reacher character, and interesting commentaries from Cruise, McQuarrie and soundtrack composer Joe Kraemer. The BR set comes with a standard DVD, as well as a Digital Copy version.
Jack Reacher was a pleasant surprise for me. From the trailers, I was expecting to see Cruise leaping over flaming cars and bouncing from buildings, but this is not that kind of film. As it earned big bucks at the box office, and there are plenty more Reacher novels to adapt, this could be the first of a franchise, and I think it could be a good one.Buy Jack Reacher (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) on Amazon