Score = C+

(Action/Crime/Thriller) Rated-PG-13

Review by: Kisho Wolfe

Logline: There’s the law, and then, there’s Reacher’s law.

The movie kicks off as just another day for many folks taking a stroll in the park on a bright and sunny Pittsburgh afternoon. Things seem nice and cozy until a shot rings out, and strikes a man sitting on the bench.  Then, a second shot takes out a woman in a business suit.  Three, four, a total of five shots echo out over the park killing five random strangers.  The evidence leads back to a well-trained military sniper by the name of James Bar (Joseph Sikora).  James refuses to testify to the killings and instead, writes one name on the confession sheet:  Jack Reacher.

Jack Reacher is an ex-military force of sane-crazy.  Built up throughout the film as a violent, calculating, ghost-like individual, Reacher actually moves with one purpose; to set things right—law be damned.  Although this is familiar territory, Tom Cruise does a great job portraying our main character who coincidentally, ends up being the antagonist for the majority of the film.  This is where things differ from most stories.  Rather than wait for the bad guys to chase him, his investigative prowess sends him on the hunt for those that have done the wrong with the sole intent of making sure their wrong-doing comes to an end—permanently.

As the film moves on, the puzzle pieces start to connect quite nicely thanks to the director’s decision to keep the audience informed during the plot points.  The flash backs were a nice touch as well, but felt a tad over-done in a few segments of the bridge shooting and Bar’s other incident in the military.  There are laughs to be had in the movie as well thanks to Reacher’s blatant disregard to otherwise tension-filled moments.  In fact, these moments are where this murder-mystery shines, because truthfully, without them, the film did more struggling than entertaining.  Speaking of entertaining…

Maybe it was just me, but, the trailers for Jack Reacher had me anticipating gushing bouts of action packed tough guy’s stuff (“gorilla” grunts and all) with the possibility of a decent murder investigation to make things interesting.  Instead, the good stuff seemed to trickle out like a leaky faucet which created slow moments as we dealt with the “talking head” syndrome films use to flush out the story.

For the most part, this movie does well with an internationally eclectic cast from various parts of the globe.  Germany (Werner Herzog), Austrailia (Jai Courtney), UK (Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo), Canada (Alexia Fast).  Definitely a nice variety happening.  Oyelowo brought intensity and Cruise always does well in the “ass-hole” roles, but everyone else seemed a bit lack-luster performance wise.  As the main female co-star in a predominantly testosterone filled cast, I would’ve like to have seen stronger emotion from Pike to show us exactly why she was chosen for this role to begin with.  Jack Reacher gets a C+.  A bit slow in parts, but when the action does pick up, it does it well enough to pull you back into the movie…at least until the next “talking head” moment.

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