“Jack Reacher,” based on the Lee Child novel “One Shot,” begins chillingly enough with the stigma of the recent tragedy in Connecticut. A sniper looks through his scope and guns down five people in cold blood. But while “Reacher” is far from perfection it doesn’t deserve this kind of relevance, either.
The shooting inquiry brings Reacher (Tom Cruise) to Pittsburgh. He’s an investigative officer acquainted with the suspect believed to be involved in the shooting. Reacher is persuaded by the suspect’s attorney (Rosamund Pike) to help her investigate the case. A cop, played by David Oyelowo, and a district attorney (Richard Jenkins) also get thrown in the mix.
Of course we know who the killer is from the very first scene, but that hardly matters. What’s yet to be revealed in “Jack Reacher”–it was written and directed Christopher McQuarrie of “Valkyrie” fame. He has yet to live up to the storytelling chops shown in “The Usual Suspects”–is a shoddy conspiracy, a boilerplate psychotic villain played to the campy hilt by “Grizzly Man” director Werner Herzog (his character is named The Zec), some paper-thin evidence linking Reacher to the crime, and at least one car chase which gets thrusted at us with far too many over-the-top effects. “Reacher” also has some of the most incompetent villainous henchmen ever to appear on screen–why send ditzes and stooges to kill a highly trained army cop? Robert Duvall shows up later camping a character named “Cash” and he’s a great addition to any cast.
“Jack Reacher” won’t surprise you or ask you for much, which I suppose is fine, for some. For others it will feel like you’re sleep-walking through another Tom Cruise vehicle. It’s easy to see which category I fall into.
QUOTE FROM THE MOVIE: “You think I’m a hero? I am not a hero. And if you’re smart, that scares you. Because I have nothing to lose” (Jack Reacher, played by Tom Cruise)