When you think of adrenaline inducing shoot em’ ups or testosterone pumping action flicks, you don’t necessarily place Tom Cruise into the mix– that niche seems to be reserved for the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s and Jason “I have an awesome, gritty British accent” Statham’s of the world. Nowadays, when you hear Tom Cruise, you may think of his “Top Gun” or “Jerry Maguire” days, or even his manically-jumping-on-Oprah’s-couch-in-front-of-millions days, but “Jack Reacher” tries to punch those memories to the back of your head– and rather effectively. While fans of the book series may have preferred someone more rugged and, well, bigger, Cruise proves his detractors wrong and leaves few asses left unkicked.
The movie tells the story of ex-military police hero Jack Reacher, a man with an insatiable need for justice, and, in the books at least, a man of immense, imposing stature– Cruise punches skyward much of the movie. When the suspect of a seemingly open-and-shut case calls for the now retired military shut-in, Reacher (Cruise) responds with force, all 5’7″ worth. Armed with deadly combat skills and a cache of armor-piercing one-liners, Cruise proceeds to beat down a cast of strong-armed thugs twice the size of him.
The film is in no way lacking action with a myriad of bar fights, shootouts and explosions, but I really liked the balance of ass kickery, humor, and an engaging plot. One of the funnier moments of the film was when two inept thugs get the jump on Reacher and, while arguing the best way to dispatch him in a “Dumb and Dumber” sort of way, inevitably fall victim to Reacher’s ubiquitous fists.
In a film fraught with action, it’s hard to pick out one defining, adrenaline-induced moment, but if I must, the quintessentially “mano y mano” showdown between Cruise’s character and the primary antagonist, Charlie (played by Jai Courtney), has to be it. The entire movie builds up to an epic encounter between the two, and when Reacher escorts Charlie at gun point to an open area, two things immediately became clear: 1. both men were going to drop their weapons in silent, cliché agreement as only bro-code dictates, and 2. glorious, choreographed fisticuffs would ensue. I shrieked like a school girl and double-fist-pumped at the prospect.
I really enjoyed this film for a few reasons. The action came in droves, and although fists indeed flew, there was also an intriguing plot that played out in a “who done it” manner. Finally, the humor really stood out. The one-liners, although at times telegraphed, came often, and no hero is complete without them. This film reinserted Cruise into the forefront of action stars and has earned 4 out of 5 fists. Well Done.