Tom Cruise is back in action breaking ribs and twisting arms, this time as the title character in Jack Reacher (out today), based on Lee Child's popular series. After years serving at various ranks in the military police, Jack comes out of retirement to help solve a heinous mass murder. When the suspect turns out to be one of Jack's former troopers with a violent past, he agrees to get to the bottom of the case and put the guy behind bars for good. It doesn't hurt that the DA's beautiful daughter (Rosamund Pike) is the attorney asking for his help. Jack Reacher may sound like a cut-and-dry popcorn flick, but there's a lot more to the film that I didn't expect. However, there are also a few things to consider before buying a ticket.
- The opening scene is very disturbing. The movie opens with the crime; the shooter is making bullets in his apartment, and then we see him set up in a parking garage across from a busy walkway, where he proceeds to methodically pick off victims. It's not a traditional action sequence; it's slow and focused and there's no music, just the sounds of the shooter breathing. It's a really intense scene, and it may be difficult to watch, especially given current events.
- It's a mystery movie. I expected Jack Reacher to be straight-up action, but it's much more of a murder mystery. We know who the shooter is from the beginning, but Jack (and the audience) has to put together the motive and who is really pulling the strings. There are are some gun fights and some knife fights, but the movie's strength lies in its challenging narrative puzzle.
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- The violence is squirm-worthy. Apart from the opening scene, which, while chilling, is relatively bloodless, there is a lot of fighting and violence. Some of it is hilarious — like when Jack gracefully takes down five attackers — but some of it is brutal. Want to see someone almost bite his own fingers off? How about an eye-gouge? No? Probably stay away from this movie, then.
- Tom Cruise is kind of hilarious. One thing I love about Tom Cruise is that the guy never goes on autopilot. Here he brings a ton of energy to Jack, while tossing out one-liners and that signature grin. Though some of the jokes can go into total cheese territory, Cruise brings a sense of humour to Jack that even the most sombre moviegoer can appreciate.