Cruise saves an­other day

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

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.

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