Miscast Cruise 'competent' as Reacher

02:25, Jan 16 2013
Jack Reacher
JACK REACHER: Tom Cruise in the role of Lee Child's rough investigator.

MOVIE REVIEW: Jack Reacher. Starring Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Werner Herzog, Robert Duvall; directed by  Christopher McQuarrie.

Tom Cruise was always going to be a hard sell on the big screen as Jack Reacher as, canonically, Reacher stands at 6'5" and is built like the proverbial brick ....house.

Cruise, however, does not and is not. He's short, and although he can clearly build up his muscle mass to a certain extent, he's never going to reach the giddy heights that Lee Child envisioned in his books.

However - and I'm aware that I'm probably committing blasphemy - Cruise doesn't do a bad job.

Is he the Jack Reacher of readers' dreams? No, of course not. But what he is is very good at a certain kind of action movie. Setting Mission Impossible II aside for being completely terrible, as Ethan Hunt, Cruise managed to carry off the rest of that franchise with a certain level of competency, and it's that competency that's to the fore in Jack Reacher.

He's spectacularly miscast, of course, but he doesn't let that stop him, and the movie doesn't suffer terribly much for it.

He's surrounded by actors who are at least as competent at their jobs as he is, there's a spectacularly creepy bad guy in Werner Herzog, and the story - of a sniper who suddenly lets loose on a crowd of people - is engaging and interesting, with lots of shady angles and conspiracy theories.

Reacher's relationship with principal girl - attorney Helen Roden (Pike) - stays out of the bedroom, which is a refreshing change, and the focus is entirely on the story, and that's what makes the movie work.

Should Reacher be recast if there's a second movie? Yes, probably, because it is a little bit distracting, but for me, it wasn't disconcerting enough to detract from the story, and, honestly, that's all I wanted.


The Southland Times