Simply put, Jack Reacher is my favorite literary character of all-time. We’re talking right up there with Dirk Pitt, Joe Pickett, Lucas Davenport, Billy Bob Holland…you name it. I love Lee Child’s writing style, and more importantly I love the stories themselves.
For those unfamiliar, the basic premise is Reacher is a former military investigator who was discharged after thirteen years at the rank of Major. After that, he came back home to an America he wasn’t especially fond of and just took off. No home. No credit cards. No cell-phone. Nothing. He drifts around, buys new clothes off the rack every so often, stops and eats in diners
when he’s hungry. Goes where he wants, kicks a lot of ass, bags a lot of women.
Don’t tell me there arent tons of people out there that haven’t at least wondered about leading such a life.
The major lynchpin of the entire series is that Reacher is this rugged, well-trained, mountain of a man. 6’5”, 250. Proficient
in every kind of hand-to-hand combat there is. Skilled marksman. Etc. Is it a little over-the-top? Maybe a touch tall-tale-esque? Absolutely, but that’s what makes it so fascinating. As Child himself said, the idea was to have a David-vs-Goliath scenario, but this time Goliath is the good guy.
(Needless to say, I whole-heartedly endorse these books. Without Fail is probably my favorite, if you’re looking for a place to
All that being said, when I heard there was going to (finally) be a movie made, I was ecstatic. Immediately I began wondering to would play him. Ray Stevenson maybe? Perhaps a bulked up Gerard Butler? Better yet, Joe Manganiello?
Nope…Tom Cruise. All five-foot-five of him.
To be fair, I have no beef with Tom Cruise. His early body of work alone, including The Outsiders, All The Right Moves, Risky Business, Cocktail, Top Gun and A Few Good Men all earn him a lifetime pass from me. I even enjoyed Days of Thunder and Far and Away. Somewhere around Jerry Maguire is when things started to go awry, but that’s alright. He gave us a
top-notch decade. Can’t ask for more than that.
That being said, his miscast in this one was so egregious it made it impossible for me to (1) enjoy the movie or (2) be even a little even-handed about it. The entire time I found his presence distracting. None of the fight scenes were believable and his attempts to convey Reacher’s stoic, brooding demeanor just came off as severe over-acting.
Not to completely deride the guy…they picked one of the lesser books in the series to use as a first adaptation. He wasn’t given a ton to work with on this one. Also, some attempts by the screenwriters to add moments of levity were very contrived and a few of the supporting actors were just terrible.
My favorite part of the movie? Rosamund Pike, in a walk. I mentioned in this space once before that I would watch Jessica Chastain read the back of a cereal box for two hours. That’s b/c she’s a great actress. I would do the same w/ Rosamund Pike, b/c she is a fixture in my top-five celebrity crush list. Completely knocked her role out of the park, and looked good doing it.
The takeaway? The movie is a decent enough action flick that will keep you entertained for two hours. Just don’t go in expecting a faithful application of the source material. Actually, don’t go in w/ any knowledge of the source material. Otherwise, you’ll be just as distracted as I was the entire time.