Tom Cruise re-teams with Christopher McQuarrie to bring the literary character Jack Reacher to the big screen.
I have never read any book involving the character of Jack Reacher, including 'One Shot', which this film used as the basis. So, not being able to compare and contrast the book versus the film, I will solely be reviewing the film on its own merits.
After a sniper guns down five people in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the sniper is easily tracked down. Using crime scene evidence, this appears to be an open and shut case. During his interrogation, the sniper, James Barr (Joseph Sikora) writes down "Get Jack Reacher".
We learn that Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is a ghost. There is little information on him, and most of it comes in the form of his military history. Jack Reacher shows up and almost immediately teams up with Barr's defense attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike). Helen is just trying to ensure that Barr gets a fair trial while her father, District Attorney Alex Rodin (Richard Jenkins) feels that this case is a slam dunk.
As such with a film like this, the case isn't a slam dunk and Jack Reacher begins to find evidence that may free Barr. Jack uses his intelligence and wit to overcome obstacles that are continually thrown his way in an effort to avert him from saving Barr. In typical Tom Cruise fashion, action, fists and one-liners are thrown out in a fury with most landing for good shots.
Writer and director Christopher McQuarrie makes an old-school feeling solid action/mystery film. McQuarrie's script is a little too generous with wrapping things up in a neat little package, though. As an action film, though, you could do much, MUCH worse. There are no humongous set pieces or large amounts of gaudy CGI continuously hitting you over the head. This is a solid, stripped-down, yet somewhat forgettable action film. Christopher McQuarrie provides a few action set pieces that do not feel over the top (with the exception of a fist fight in the rain) and doesn't try to 'wow' you with whatever new CGI creation that was devised this week. Instead, the action is solid, just like the performances.
Jack Reacher does not really stand out amongst other characters that Tom Cruise has played before. He is secretive, but a solid good guy who wants things to be done right... even if he is the only one who can do it that way. Jack Reacher follows a solid code of conduct, and with the exception of a car chase, adheres to what he believes in. Granted, as he never seems to fear what he is getting in to, there really is no threat that anything bad is going to happen to him.
Jack Reacher is nothing grandiose, but also nothing gratuitous either. Just a good old fashioned action/thriller. And sometimes that is all you need.