Cruise saves another day
Jack Reacher Starring Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog, Alexia Fast. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. 130 minutes, rated M (violence & offensive language). Showing at Reading Cinemas Porirua. Jack Reacher is the latest paperback hero to make the jump to film franchise, an ex- military police-cum-drifter who struts his way into convoluted conspiracies and injustices like a modern day cowboy before punching and kicking his way out.
Lee Child’s protagonist is resourceful, ruthless and relentless.
Indestructible and a textbook anti-hero, it’s easy to see what attracted perennial indestructible anti-hero Tom Cruise to produce the project and that he was never going to let a little thing like the character’s lofty height stop him from casting himself as Reacher.
However, to this end, Cruise has done the picture a disservice. An otherwise vigorous action thriller, Jack Reacher is reduced to white noise.
We have simply seen Cruise play this gig too many times already.
Sure, Reacher is a grimmer presence than we normally see from the actor – the pearly whites are never allowed to form that famous smirk – and he doesn’t dress as trendy as Cruise’s past action men.
But come on, aren’t we all a little tired of watching The Cruiser walk into a movie, kick arse and save the day, barely breaking a sweat or revealing a single character flaw?
Now, nobody tends to give Humphrey Bogart a hard time for repeatedly playing a gumshoe, and Bruce Willis has long been celebrated as everybody’s favour- ite Everyman against the odds. But nobody dominates their movies like Tom Cruise, and rarely are his characters conflicted or saddled with ambiguity, fallibility, vulnerability or, well, anything that interesting.
Cruise is compelling when he does stray into the grey – Magnolia and Collateral are his best performances – but when he is on ego-tripping hero mode, as he is in Jack Reacher, he sucks any sense of uncertainty from the picture and leaves no heavy lifting for the supporting cast. Richard Jenkins, Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo are left with little to do but orbit around Cruise’s epitome of gallantry.
Damn, this review was supposed to come off more positive. McQuarrie (who wrote The Usual Suspects) is no slouch, the film looks and feels classy, heavy on close- ups and hard- boiled dialogue.
Compared to the train wreck that was Alex Cross, this is vintage action film-making.
There is also a keen focus on the victims of violence, which makes the actions of the bad guys pack more of a wallop than your average run-and-gun yarn.
But the notion that Cruise will likely each year alternate between saving the world as Ethan Hunt on impossible missions and saving America as Reacher is nauseating.
Cruise control: Tom Cruise plays the resourceful, unstoppable hero type – again – in action flick Jack Reacher.