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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

Jack Reacher  

Review:

Intelligently Crafted Thriller [Blu-ray]

It's hard to understand why this didn't do better at the cinema - it's actually an above average thriller - pulp fiction beginnings, but pieced together into a screenplay that fairly sizzles along, and runs like clockwork. Tom Cruise might not look quite the bruiser that the books apparently have him written, but coming to the movie without preconceptions, I certainly bought in to him as the outsider with a drive for his own personal brand of justice, which doesn't always mean living on the right side of the law. He brings a pent up but honed, trained energy to the part which works well.

It would be fair to say that the plot doesn't rely on action set pieces, but when they do come along they are well executed, notably the mid movie car chase, rather that the slightly more pedestrian conclusion. Satisfyingly, these set pieces serve the plot rather than appearing to be merely a studio request. More satisfyingly still, although the storyline wanders some well trodden paths (Jack Bauer meets John Rambo..?), it does so in some unexpected ways.. not that it is a twisty plot per se, just that it is not sign posted from the outset, and the screenplay sparkles with some memorably economic dialogue. If the secondary characters are given lesser roles to play with, it's almost forgivable in the face of the efficiency of the plot as it careers along, as driven as the main character.

Christopher McQuarrie should be congratulated on getting an excellent balance of intelligence and thrills, and a good performance out of Cruise in the lead role. Cruise doing his own stunts - notably in the driving - certainly adds to a sense of realism which helps the movie, as does a memorable cameo from Robert Duvall.

I'm not encumbered by any preconceived notions of the character or the story, not having read any of the books. However on the basis of this film, I'd be delighted to see more of the same.. and Tom Cruise did convince me at least as the unstoppable Jack Reacher. This isn't a movie which aims for the moon.. it's not trying to be the years most action packed, or most intense... however it has aimed to be a well crafted thriller bringing Lee Childs protagonist to the big screen in an intelligent and involving way. And this it has done admirably.





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