JACK REACHER Add To My Top 10
Truth and Justice Prevail, But. . .
Release Date: December 21, 2012
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 130 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures/Viacom
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
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Sumner Redstone, Chairman
Philippe Dauman, CEO, Viacom
Brad Grey, Chairman/CEO
Adam Goodman, President, Paramount Film Group
5555 Melrose Avenue; Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
Phone: (323) 956-5000; Website: www.paramount.com
The movie opens in Pittsburgh, Pa. where an anonymous shooter guns down five people near the Pirates baseball stadium. A former vet named James Barr is arrested for the crime. Instead of asking for a lawyer, he just writes, “Get Jack Reacher.”
Jack is a former military police investigator who’s gone off the grid. The Pittsburgh authorities can’t locate him, but he’s already seen the news reports of Barr’s arrest. So, Jack shows up in the DA’s office as the DA is discussing Jack with the detective handling the case.
At first, Jack thinks Barr is guilty of the crime, because Barr committed several murders in Iraq before being shipped home. Barr was never prosecuted, however, because the men he killed were some American contractors engaged in gang rape incidents. The military brass didn’t want the story to come out, so they just quietly shipped Barr home.
However, there are some anomalies to the Pittsburgh shootings. For instance, Jack figures out that Barr would never have picked the shooting position that the true killer did. Instead, Barr would have picked another position that would make it easier for him to cover his tracks. So, Jack suspects a frame up, and he agrees to work as the defense attorney’s investigator. Making matters a little dicey for Jack is that the defense attorney happens to be the DA’s lovely daughter.
Jack’s investigation becomes dangerous when the real killer hires a local meth dealer and his friends to entice Jack into a fight and get Jack thrown in jail. When that doesn’t work, he decides to set Jack himself up for another murder. Eventually, Jack learns that the original murders are part of a larger conspiracy. He has to get help from the elderly owner of a nearby gun range to save the defense attorney’s life.
JACK REACHER is a fast-paced thriller. Most of the performances are very convincing despite some weird moments that don’t make sense or seem a little too over the top. If you’ve read some of the novels, Tom Cruise makes a good Jack Reacher, even though physically he doesn’t completely fit the character in the books. Ably assisting Cruise are Rosamund Pike as the defense attorney, Richard Jenkins as the DA, Werner Herzog as the creepy main villain, Jai Courtney as the real sniper, and Robert Duvall as the crusty gun range owner.
The good news is that the hero’s main goals are truth and justice. Also, he gives a lecture to a local young woman about being used by the mean meth dealer and his friends. When the villain’s evil henchman murders her to frame Jack and kidnaps the defense attorney, Jack gets righteously angry. He threatens the henchman with great bodily harm if he kills the defense attorney. Thus, Jack practices self-defense. Also, he tries to protect the innocent, the vulnerable and the weak, especially women (children’s lives aren’t really threatened in the movie, but Jack would protect them too if they were).
That said, Jack hands out some vigilante justice two or three times in the movie instead of handing bad guys over to the authorities. Thus, justice is more important to Jack than the law. Also, JACK REACHER the movie contains plenty of foul language, strong violence that could be copied by children or teenagers, and brief sensual content. The language could have been cut down considerably, and one scene of implied fornication was not necessary at all. Finally, there’s also a scene where the seemingly good actions of two shooting victims turn out to be sinful acts when Jack uncovers the truth. Consequently, the world in which Jack operates is a broken world requiring a really tough, no nonsense hero.
Toward the end, Jack gives a speech defending his simple lifestyle, telling the defense attorney he has the kind of freedom that most Americans never truly achieve. Of course, no man is truly an island, which is why Jack constantly finds himself having to right wrongs and protect innocent people victimized by bad guys.
So, overall, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution for Tom Cruise’s JACK REACHER.
JACK REACHER is a fast-paced thriller. It’s very good, but not great. Most of the performances are convincing despite some weird moments. If you’ve read any of the novels, Tom Cruise makes a good Jack Reacher. Even though, physically, he doesn’t fit the character. The good news is that the hero’s goals are truth and justice. He also protects the innocent and vulnerable. That said, Jack hands out some vigilante justice several times. The movie also contains plenty of foul language and strong intense violence. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution for Tom Cruise’s JACK REACHER.