Cruise de­liv­ers in ti­tle role

Reacher

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - Con­tin­ued from D

can­cel its world pre­miere in Pitts­burgh on Satur­day be­cause of the ob­vi­ous par­al­lels. Di­rec­tor Christoper McQuar­rie has sup­ported the stu­dio’s de­ci­sion, telling The Wrap that “no­body should be cel­e­brat­ing any­thing 24 hours af­ter a tragic event like that.”

But here’s an im­por­tant point: The Jack Reacher nov­els have been suc­cess­ful for their tight plot­ting, for their imag­i­na­tive twists — but pri­mar­ily for their prom­ise that the mo­tives of the killers will be fully ex­plained and that they’ll be tracked down and pun­ished, some­times lit­er­ally be­ing beaten to death by the phys­i­cally for­mi­da­ble Reacher. For many, that kind of de­scrip­tion might sound hor­ri­ble. But McQuar­rie, who wrote the screen­play, makes the vil­lains so de­spi­ca­ble that blood-lust doesn’t seem com­pletely off base, even if it is ill-timed.

What­ever your de­ci­sion, “Jack Reacher” pro­vides what fans of the books will want to see. Af­ter the cast­ing of the diminu­tive Cruise in the ti­tle role, some of those fans ques­tioned how Cruise would be able to be­liev­ably por­tray Reacher, who’s de­scribed as 6-foot-5-inches tall. But Cruise brings a phys­i­cal­ity to the movie that’s never in doubt. And his ruth­less, in­tel­li­gent pur­suit of the truth can’t help but be thrilling, es­pe­cially when you con­sider that his pur­suit of truth in­cludes some ex­pertly filmed car chases.

Rosamund Pike more than de­liv­ers as the de­fense at­tor­ney for the man falsely ac­cused of be­ing the sniper. She’s at­tracted to Reacher, who has only one shirt and de­cides to wash it in front of her as she vis­its him in a mo­tel room. (Reacher trav­els light.) At 50, Cruise is jus­ti­fi­ably proud of main­tain­ing his torso, and he seems de­ter­mined to share his pride in nearly ev­ery movie. At least Pike has an amus­ing re­ac­tion as she watches him go through the mo­tions of his in­evitable bare-chested strut.

Werner Her­zog also cap­tures the creepy vil­lainy of a Rus­sian mob­ster who lit­er­ally had to chew off his own fin­gers in or­der to sur­vive a lon­gago im­pris­on­ment.

But credit for the success of “Jack Reacher” has to go to McQuar­rie, whose only pre­vi­ous fea­ture was 2000’s “The Way of the Gun.” McQuar­rie is pri­mar­ily known for writ­ing the 1995 hit “The Usual Sus­pects,” and he’s set to di­rect the next in­stall­ment of “Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble.” That’s promis­ing, be­cause he seems to “get” the essence of Cruise, and he knows how to pace and frame in­tense ac­tion se­quences.

The ques­tion, of course, is whether you’re ready for a dark thriller as the mem­o­ries of New­town linger.

Rat­ing: PG-13 for in­tense vi­o­lence, lan­guage, drug use. Run­ning time: 2 hours, 10 min­utes. The­aters: Alamo Lake Creek, Alamo Slaugh­ter, Barton Creek, Cine­mark Cedar Park, Cine­mark Gal­le­ria, Cine­mark South­park Mead­ows, Cine­mark Round Rock, Cine­mark Stone Hill, City Lights, Flix Brew­house, Gate­way, Galaxy Moviehouse, High­land, Lake­line, Met­ro­pol­i­tan, Starplex, Tin­sel­town Pflugerville, West­gate.

CONTRIBUTED BY ARAMOUNT PIC­TURES

Con­tact Charles Ealy at 4453931. Jai Court­ney as Char­lie, (left) and Tom Cruise as Reacher in the thriller film “Jack Reacher.”

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