“Jack Reacher”

Jack Reacher” with Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog, Joseph Sikora, and Robert Duvall

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie 

The Official UK Poster for "Jack Reacher."
The Official UK Poster for “Jack Reacher.”

Originally my review was dry, terse, and immensely boring.  Not the Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson type of ‘Bored,’ but fairly deathly in its own right.  However, after placing some “Black Keys” on hi-fi and letting the caffeinated beverages fill in where the creative juices left off I began to coalesce a much clearer picture of Tom Cruise’s latest picture, “Jack Reacher.’

Essentially, the film “Jack Reacher” is plays out like a throwback to older movies of the same genre.  It is incredibly reminiscent of older action films and it leaves much to be desired when considering the stellar source material in which it was derived.  “Jack Reacher” is based off of Lee Child’s famous character and series of novels (specifically his novel “One-Shot”), which detail the interesting happenings of Jack Reacher–an ex-MP who wanders the States looking for…well..something.  He always ends up in a predicament, but he always manages to help those in a jam and move on to the next place and task.

In this particular plot, Jack Reacher (played by Tom Cruise) is called by name by an old military ‘buddy,’ Barr (played by Joseph Sikora), who has requested his help.  Barr has been charged with gunning down five people at a park with a sniper rifle.  This scene opens the film and normally would not be troublesome to watch, but after the recent shooting in Connecticut I found this difficult to view.  This most-likely is reactionary and on the whole I do not support film censorship.  Forewarning though…my gut did react.

In between Barr’s supposed shooting, holding, and Jack’s trek, Barr is brutally beaten during transport that renders him useless and leaves him in a coma, so by the time Jack reaches Barr his primary witness/suspect is out of commission.  In pursuit of the truth, Jack Reacher teams up with Barr’s lawyer Helena (played by Rosamund Pike), and begins a thread-lined journey that will eventually lead him to the heart of the truth.

The acting of the supporting cast and large portions of the script (specifically the dialogue) really disappointed me.  Save for Tom Cruise’s portrayal of the idiopathic character, Richard Jenkins as the DA, David Oyelowo as the lead detective, and the incomparable Robert Duvall of the case the acting was atrocious.  Helena’s dialogue was choppy and cliche, which resulted in a flat, inconsistent character that could have been anyone off the streets.  However, that being said, there were far worse performances and writing to be had.  The film’s villain, ‘The Zec’ (played by Werner Herzog) was so incredibly cliched and not at all frightening that I thought for a majority of the film that the casting director had taken head shots from all the worst Bond-villain throwaways that he or she could find and finally settled on the worst of them, The Zec.  Not only was the villainous Zec not imposing he was nonsensical, frightfully dull, and had absolutely no purpose besides being fodder for Tom Cruise in the closing moments.

All-in-all, I thought Tom Cruise was great as Jack Reacher.  His lines were impeccable and the action sequences were tightly shot and added to the tone of the overall film.  However, even Tom Cruise cannot hold up an entire film, and in this instance he proved this sentiment wholeheartedly.  The writers had excellent source material and chose to butcher much of Lee Child’s writing in favor for the old and the cliched…this coupled with the fact that the supporting cast was truly awful really took what could have been a great film and transformed it into a ‘meh’ film.

I give Jack Reacher three-out-of-five stars, and recommend that you wait for this to make its way to DVD before watching it.

“Snatch,” “Mission Impossible II,” and “Sunshine”

Because of my previous snow experiences, detailed in my last post, I was unable to update my cinematic adventuring log–and, “yes” it is of the yuletide variety.  So here are the last three films I watched and my little blurbs about them:

Snatch” with Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Benicio Del Toro, and Vinnie Jones (2000) 


“Snatch” is one of my favorite films of all time.  Guy Ritchie manages to weave several subplots into one grandiose plot that often ends in a particularly clever manner.  The casting is always top notch, and with the exception of “Swept Away,” I have never left a theater feeling disappointed after viewing a Ritchie film.  Jason Statham’s storyline is essentially the main narrative in which several seemingly unrelated storylines swirl about all ultimately tying into one another.  Brad Pitt’s role of Mickey the Gypsy, especially stands out in “Snatch”—Mickey drives the plot of the film by creating the initial predicament.  More often than not, Mickey is almost all but indiscernible and Statham’s character, Turkish, along with his best friend Tommy remark on this quite often creating quite a few chuckles along the way.  But, what Mickey lacks in communication he more than makes up with his bare-knuckle boxing talents.  Overall, if you enjoy a great British gangster flick, set in modern-day London, with a wide, all-star cast then this is the movie for you.

At the time my girlfriend hadn’t watched “Snatch,” so yesterday evening I decided to pop it in and revisit and old friend to make introductions.  I could watch it a hundred times over and still want more; I highly recommend it.


Mission Impossible 2” with Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, and Thandie Newton (2000)


My girlfriend and I had the pleasure of attending a showing of “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” before Christmas and we absolutely loved it!  It is astounding.  The plot is tight, the visuals are phenomenal, and the cast is astounding.  In light of such a great action film we decided to roll it on back and watch “Ghost Protocol’s” predecessors to see if they hold even a lick of a flame to its newest iteration.  The verdict—they do.  We watched the ‘original’ “Mission Impossible” before I rolled out my “Cinematic Adventuring” page, but I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.  Enough time had elapsed that I hardly remembered the plot, so it was as if I was watching it for the first time. 

The other week we finally purchased “Mission Impossible II” to fill in the missing gap of our collection and within the evening we were already accepting a new mission to undertake.  The plot of is fairly cliché (it may not have been at the time—after all its been twelve years!) and revolves around a terrorist cell headed by a rogue IMF agent stealing a genetically altered strain of Influenza and its cure in order to blackmail the company it was stolen from.  Tom Cruise reprises his role of Ethan Hunt and plays off the suave super spy to the ‘T.’ However, I found his love interest, played by Thandie Newton, an all right choice for the part, but the chemistry between the two was sorely lacking.  There is a scene in which Newton is stealing a priceless necklace and Cruise interjects mid-operation.  It is the first time they meet and the chemistry bubbles briefly as they jockey back and forth in a bathtub as she cracks the safe where the necklace is stored.  However, afterwards their relationship seems to lack the same chemistry and subsequently their relationship doesn’t translate well throughout the rest of the film.  Overall, the finale is probably the best part of the film.  Director John Woo does an excellent job choreographing a stellar motorcycle scene and hand-to-hand combat finish that holds up surprisingly well after twelve years of innovations.  If you love action films (which I do) then take another gander at this one—it’ll surprise you.


“Sunshine” with Cillian Murphy and Chris Evans (2007)


“Sunshine” is one of the films that might have slipped under the radar for most.  It didn’t have a huge opening considering its cast and art direction, but even without the marketing giant behind it—it is an amazing film.  Essentially the plot is as follows—in the near future our sun is dying.  The Earth has plunged into a solar winter creating snowfall over the entirety of the globe.  The Sydney Opera House is buried by it.  Humanity has decided to pull all of its resources together and build a ship and a bomb that’ll essentially create a new sun in the place of our dying one.  The ship’s name is the Icarus I (I love a good Greek mythology reference, especially one so apropos).  The ship and its crew didn’t make it, and the sun was never restarted.  “Sunshine” follows the Icarus II; the second attempt to save humanity.  This is the last ditch effort for humanity.  If the Icarus II fails, then so does humanity.

Cillian Murphy plays the physicist who invented the experimental bomb and Chris Evans plays the hot headed, but objective, pilot.  The two of them do not get along and numerous squabbles arise out of this conflict.  The Icarus II comes across the Icarus as it nears the surface of the sun.  After seven years the Icarus I is almost inoperable, but the crew decides to detour in an effort to increase their chances of success by obtaining the first Icarus’ bomb.  Obvious complications become of this detour and the film briefly dives into the heart of the Survival Horror genre.

However, at its core, this film is not really Science Fiction or Survival Horror movie.  ”Sunshine” is about the human race, about sacrifice, and about the meaning life and death.  A superb under tone of religion, or lack thereof depending on perspective, is wonderfully woven throughout the film.  Cillian Murphy’s performance is outstanding and Chris Evans really steps outside of his comfort zone and the risk pays off.

All-in-all “Sunshine” can be a depressing experience, but watching the film through and through is well worth it.  Thinking of life and death is necessary at times.  A rate this a “must watch.”

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