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Film review: Jack Reacher

  Saturday 15th December 2012

Deserving every one of its five stars, action film Jack Reacher is an absolute delight to watch. Fun, fast and furious, Tom Cruise is utterly compelling, as are his co-stars Jai Courtney and former Bond girl Rosamund Pike.

Jack Reacher is released in UK cinemas on 26th December 2012.

Jack Reacher is released in UK cinemas on 26th December 2012.

Based on Lee Child’s book, One Shot, Jack Reacher is the story of a former soldier turned lone-drifter.  Played by Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher is your ultimate action hero, even if he doesn’t quite measure up to Child’s literary description of the 6’5″ muscle-tank. This matters little, because Cruise makes up for his lack in height with his huge on-screen charisma and his explosive chemistry with Pike.

In broad daylight, a sniper arrives in a parking lot, assembles his weapon and takes out five seemingly innocent passers-by. During investigation, all evidence points to one man, who is quickly apprehended and now awaits trial.  With the amassed incriminating data all directed at the suspect James Barr (Joseph Sikora), it comes as a shock to the inspectors when he asks for Jack Reacher. With Reacher’s reputation preceding him, he throws himself into the investigation, battling Barr’s lawyer, Helen Rodin (Pike), trying to counter the evidence against the suspect and prove his innocence.

The plot twists and turns with the introduction of some unexpected baddies.  Director Christopher McQuarrie (who wrote Valkyrie and The Usual Suspects) succeeds in portraying Jack Reacher as not just an action movie, but a thriller as well. With believable fight scenes and solid acting, there is nothing achieved by half-measures in this film.

Up-and-coming actor Jai Courtney (best known for his role as Varro in the TV series Spartacus) is absolutely glorious on the big screen. Playing the role of a bad-ass sniper is a big step up from his leather-clad days as a gladiator, and he makes the transition effortlessly. With amazing intensity and atmospheric music, the opening sequence with Courtney is an absolute triumph.

There is a huge comic element in this film, something that America does not always pull off, especially for a British audience. However, the reactions elicited from the audience reflected the success of McQuarrie’s with combining action, tension, and humour. Although there is a small serving of cheese, Cruise delivers it well, producing more laughs and less cringe. 

It cannot be emphasised enough how good this film really is, and with the vast majority of reviews really rating Jack Reacher, it is safe to say if there is one action thriller you should see this year, then this is the film for you.

Verdict: ●●●●●

Jennifer Atkinson

Watch the trailer for Jack Reacher here:

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