Sherlock Homeless

Jack Reacher is one smart drifter

Jack Reacher, the hero of Jack Reacher (in case you were confused), is a drifter with nothing to lose. We know this because that is exactly what Tom Cruise says he is while yelling at a bad guy on the phone, Taken-style. Reacher is novelist Lee Child’s six-foot-five, fictional meal ticket beloved by millions who were outraged at the casting of the Lilliputian Cruise. Honestly, Cruise’s well-honed action hero swagger compensates for just about everything, other than a line of dialogue that suggests he’s capable of killing with just one punch. Um, maybe if the victim is a comatose, anorexic hemophiliac.

As depicted in the movie, Reacher is a butch, heterosexual male’s dream version of himself: brilliant to Batman-detective levels, rugged as dollar-store toilet paper and beholden to no one, living off the grid and rambling wherever he wishes. When a suspect in a mass shooting asks for him by name when interrogated by a top cop (David Oyelowo) and the District Attorney (Richard Jenkins), Reacher finds himself reluctantly aiding defense attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), daughter of the D.A. and pouty-lipped, helpless hottie.

Of course, nothing is as it would seem in this twisty-turny tale that involves a one-fingered, one-eyed villain played by brilliant German director Werner Herzog. But with Sherlockian investigatory work, copious thug punching and the aid of a kindly shooting range owner (Robert Duvall) with septuagenerian sniper skills, the case is broken easier than aforementioned thug noses.

Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie delivers solid entertainment. Well, solid entertainment whenever there isn’t monologuing going on. For some reason, dialogue that is spoken in conversation crackles with wit and fun, and tough guy diatribes sound like they were written by a fifth-grade bully. Although Reacher’s military origins pull him a slight bit away from the prototypical “private dick” in classic noir, the antihero intent remains present as can be. Only, instead of a femme fatale, we get a “femme heaving bosom” in Helen, a character so woefully underwritten one has a hard time believing she’d be capable of signing her name let alone passing the Bar exam.

 When Jack Reacher works, it is largely because McQuarrie gives in to a formula Cruise knows by heart. Lost in the shuffle of his off-screen shenanigans is the fact that Mr.Cruise is a “grade A,” class-one friggin’ movie star. Not an actor, per se, but a full-fledged iconic figure that hearkens back to a bygone era before “indie movies” and “street cred.” It is entirely possible that this film marks the start of yet another successful franchise. But it is equally likely this is a one-off bit of inconsequential action fluff.

Either way, in a month that sports nothing but Oscar hopefuls, family-targeted entertainment and Russell Crowe singing, Jack Reacher represents a choice for some adult fun. Sure, it’s cliched, unoriginal, kinda-dumb adult fun, but if you can’t indulge on things that aren’t exactly good for you at holiday time, when can you?

Grade = B

posted at 08:50 pm
on Friday, December 21st, 2012

COMMENTS

(We're testing Facebook commenting (you can login using other services, too); please let us know if you have trouble.)


 

« Previous Page


Marvel Blockbusts a Cap

With fight choreography pickpocketed from Baryshnikov and more leaping and bounding than Pooh’s friend Tigger on cocaine, Captain America (Chris Evans) makes beating the crap out of bad guys look...

more »


That Ship Cray

They gave the guy who made Requiem for a Dream $150 million to make a movie about Noah’s ark. Huh?! In Requiem, writer/director Darren Aronofsky had Jennifer Connelly connect with another woman via...

more »


Quirking on Something Different

To alter a phrase from Twain, who won’t mind because he’s dead, writer/director Wes Anderson repeated history until he figured out how to rhyme. Barring a brief foray into stop-motion animation,...

more »


Speedy and Irritable

The most important thing to know before attempting to endure the lumbering bore that is Need for Speed is this: every single character in the film is unspeakably dumb. Presumably set in a world...

more »


Xerox Xerxes

When director Zack Snyder’s opus of underwear modeling amidst geysers of animated blood, 300, first arrived eight years ago, no one expected a sequel. And not just because 299 of the 300 Spartans...

more »







Advanced Search