Jack Reacher

Directed By: Christopher McQuarrie

Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Werner Herzog, and Richard Jenkins

"There's this guy.  He's a kind of cop, at least he used to be.  He doesn't care about proof, he doesn't care about the law, he only cares about what's right.  He knows what I did.  You can't protect me.  No one can."
-James Barr (Joseph Sikora)

Last year around this time, I was raving about Tom Cruise in his fourth outing as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.  A year later on the very same weekend, I find myself excited to say that Tom Cruise is still on his A-game as a former military cop on the loose in Jack Reacher.  Despite being north of the big 5-0, Cruise once again shows why he's one of the best action stars in the business in this adaptation of Lee Child's Jack Reacher novel One Shot.  Having not read the novel, I can't say whether Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie remain true to their source material.  What I can say is that Jack Reacher is one damn good action movie!

On an ordinary day in Pittsburgh, five innocent victims are gunned down by an unknown sniper.  Despite being a skilled marksman, the perpetrator leaves plenty of clues in the parking garage he uses as a vantage point for spotting his targets.  When Detective Emerson (David Oyelowo) investigates the matter and finds a barrage of clues pointing to military veteran James Barr (Sikora), this becomes an open-and-shut case.  For Detective Emerson and District Attorney Alex Rodin (Richard Jenkins), the only question left is whether Barr wants life in prison or the death penalty.  However, Barr is not afraid of Pittsburgh law enforcement.  He's afraid of an old enemy by the name of Jack Reacher (Cruise), a former military cop.  Instead of confessing and picking his poison, Barr is more concerned about Reacher.

Barr is assaulted on his way to county jail and put in a coma.  In the interim, attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike) takes on Barr's case against the wishes of her firm and her father, the district attorney.  When Jack Reacher comes out of the shadows to see what his old enemy has done to five innocent victims, he quickly gets people’s attention.  To everyone's surprise, Helen hires him to serve as the lead investigator on her case despite his bad blood with Barr.  As Reacher begins to investigate the case, he finds that Barr's crime scene is too good to be true and that these five seemingly random victims may not be so random after all.  Along the way, he makes plenty of enemies, and things get pretty messy.

While it may be a little ill-timed given the tragic reality that several massacres have occurred this year across the US, Jack Reacher is an old school crime thriller that has something for everyone.  At the center of it all, Tom Cruise delivers  a charismatic performance that will leave you wanting more.  The supporting cast delivers some very enjoyable performances.  Director Christopher McQuarrie has really put together an intelligent, action-packed thriller that satisfies on all levels.  There's also a healthy dose of comedy in the film.  All in all, Jack Reacher is one great movie.

As the titular character Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise delivers one smooth military cop.  He's badass.  He's charming.  He's brilliant.  No matter how short he is, Cruise plays this military cop to perfection.  With this loner vigilante delivering justice as he sees fit, Cruise is a great antihero in this one and will keep you on the edge of your seat.  My only regret is that Cruise does not run in this flick.  Those of you who have seen a few of Cruise's films know exactly what I'm talking about.  He generally delivers one big action sequence that requires some extensive running in his blockbusters.  We didn't get that this time around.  That man can run, and he was meant to run on the big screen.

The supporting cast also delivers quite a few enjoyable performances.  He may refer to himself as the black 007 in The Paperboy, but David Oyelowo backs it up as Emerson in Jack Reacher.  It's great to see this talented young black actor finally starting to get a break in Hollywood.  I would bet that he has a great career ahead of him.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, veteran actor Robert Duvall shows that he's still got it as crafty old man Cash.  At almost 82 years of age, Duvall is one tough old dude on screen.  It's good to see him back in action and bringing quite a bit of humor.  As Helen Rodin, Rosamund Pike delivers a decent performance.  As Helen's father and the district attorney, Richard Jenkins delivers a rather slippery performance that will leave you questioning whose side he's really on.

Director Christopher McQuarrie does a great job with Jack Reacher.  It's a very intelligent crime thriller that's a little unpredictable.  McQuarrie likes to tease certain angles and lead his viewers into assuming things about how the movie will play out.  As soon as you think you have the movie pegged, he'll throw a surprise your way, and you'll have to change your assumptions.  It's a great way to tell a story and keep the audience on their toes.  On top of it all, he keeps the laughs coming with quite a bit of comic relief.  In all honesty, I'm not quite sure whether there are more laughs or bullets in this movie.  With some decidedly dark cinematography and a playful score, McQuarrie keeps the tone of the film just right as he balances a tense crime thriller rooted in senseless violence with a humorous blockbuster appealing to the masses.

Jack Reacher really surprised me.  I was expecting a decent thriller, but nothing that would leave me cheering at the end.  This fine thriller is a great way to close 2012 as Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, and the supporting cast are firing on all cylinders.  Jack Reacher gets a strong 0.03% rating.  Have some wine coolers with this one.