Jack Reacher - Blu-ray Review

'size and appearance do matter. Cruise never looks intimidating, where Reacher often is. He always need to demonstrate his malice, Reacher often doesn't.'

Jack Reacher's most insurmountable problem is exactly five foot seven inches tall, yet even with $60 million to spend, it cannot overcome it.

There's little the film, director Christopher McQuarrie or Tom Cruise himself can do about his height. Yet it resounds still around Jack Reacher and the film's reception, echoing an apparently odd casting choice. Jack Reacher, as far as Lee Child's books go, is an imposing man. Six foot five inches, with a fifty inch chest and dirty-blond hair. Tom Cruise gives up nearly a foot to him and a change in hair colour. I haven't checked his chest. These sort of things tend to lead to arrest.

Overcoming physical discrepancies though, is hardly unheard of. Just ask Daniel Craig. Cruise here gets his demeanour spot on. Unlike Ethan Hunt, Reacher is not a man on the outside by fate, circumstance and conspiracy, but by choice. As such, brushes with the mainstream world, where villains Werner Herzog and an impressively evil Jai Courtney prowl, happen on his terms and his terms only. Witness his harassment of an auto parts store owner. Reacher can be mean in pursuit of his goal, clinical in combating foes on battlefields he has first set. It's very pleasant to see Cruise get the subtle ticks of the character right.

For all that though, size and appearance do matter. Cruise never looks intimidating, where Reacher often is. He always need to demonstrate his malice, Reacher often doesn't. It's not purely a question of whether he's match in the looks department; these are characteristics that impact at least individual scenes, if not overall plot. It's arguable that fans have a right to expect to see them.

Other minor bits of broken thinking pepper a film which is still much more enjoyable than the reception it garnered suggests. The excellent silent opening is dramatic and real-world scary, whilst its constant replays accentuate the human element, reflecting the plot. Later on though, as Reacher flees from the police, a group of ordinary citizens help him out. In a city that's just witnessed the opening event? Something doesn't ring true here, as with everything else from the point Robert Duvall's bizarrely motivated helper gets involved, including images of someone, who never actually appears, sneaking up on Reacher whilst he takes long range sniper shots.

It is muddled then, in its thinking and execution, but the script can stand out at times and Cruise's performance, though physically unsatisfying, has plenty of thought behind it. It's also a pleasing one-hundred and thirty minutes, or, as you might wish to describe it: not short.



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