Jack Reacher is 6′ 5″ tall. Tom Cruise is 5′ 7″. Jack Reacher weighs between fifteen and eighteen stone. Tom Cruise weighs twelve. Jack Reacher has a 50-inch chest. Tom Cruise… okay so he’s built up, but certainly not fifty inches of unstoppable man machine. In fact Mr. Cruise might be more suited to play me (yes, fine, after he lets himself go for a year… what do you mean “a decade”?) than the drifter, ex-MP, force of nature, and Marty-Stu of seventeen books of increasingly ridiculousity.
In a two-hour buttock-number best summed-up by a breaker, Jack Reacher is “someone what used to be an army police and now wants justice or something. I dunno.” After an Iraq veteran is arrested for the murder of five innocents, his only plea is to “Get Jack Reacher” and, like the genie from Aladdin, albeit more magical, he appears to sort things out but, boy, does he take his time.
The movie struggles to decide whether it’s Day of the Jackal or Die Hard, and in the end becomes neither 1970s exploitation movie or high-octane blockbuster. Instead what’s left is an ultimately lifeless paint-by-numbers piece that fails to stand out from dozens of similar cinematic male fantasies.
Mr “It Was Not A Significant Bullet” does well with limited material as the big bad, as does Oyelewo with a role with even fewer dimensions. Rosamund Pike, however, should have her Equity card ripped out of her one-note paws.
Height aside, the “Man With No Name” thing that is the very essence of Jack Reacher requires a level of charisma and menace that Cruise just doesn’t possess. Ang reckons Meryl Streep, the tiger from Life of Pi, or even the Yellow M&M would have been better choices and who am I to argue?
The only truly memorable aspect of the film is Werner “Yes, I cooked and ate my own shoe; what of it?” Hertzog. As the mysterious Prisoner, he managed to sound like a man who has stared long into the abyss and sent the abyss packing.
I’m an atheist, but if I’m wrong I’d like to think that whatever god will call us to account will have Hertzog’s voice:
There is only pain, and coldness, and fear…
…and Jack Reacher on an endless loop.