run time: 130 mins
considered: Action, Crime, Thriller
starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Joseph Sikora, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzong
movie summary: A mysterious guy driving a van parks on an upper floor of a parkade, pulls out a sniper rifle and guns down five random people in the middle of the afternoon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Police respond to the shooting and begin to piece together the crime scene that is littered with bullets and finger prints. All the evidence leads to a former U.S. Army sniper James Barr (Joseph Sikora), who is found at home asleep with the van, rifle, and shell casings in the garage. When he is arrested and questioned, he doesn’t say a word except to ask for a piece of paper and write the name Jack Reacher on it.
Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is a loner, former military police officer with no known address or previous record, who is known to disappear and reappear whenever his services are needed. He is not a big guy in statute but can whip anyone’s ass with his mind and fists. Reacher learns about the Barr shooting on tv and heads to Pittsburgh where he surprises defence councilor Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike). Barr was attacked in jail and is in a coma when Reacher gets there. After being denied to see the evidence pertaining to the case, Jack meets with Helen who asks him if he could help her get Barr off the death penalty. He refuses the offer because he doesn’t care what happens to Barr but is only interested in the crime.
Reacher explains that Barr is a trained assassin and has pulled a stunt like this before during a tour in Iraq. The two exchange notes before he agrees to help out, where he visits the families and crime scene. By the end of the night he is at a bar and ambushed by a group of hired guys who attempt to take him out, but Reacher beats them all down before getting arrested. Helen bails him out of jail where he tells her he’s on the case and has some really interesting leads to follow-up on. His investigation leads him to believe that the target was one particular person while the other four were killed to distract the authorities away from the real crime. He heads over to a shooting range in Ohio where he begins to get a profile on Barr’s personality, actions, and shooting accuracy.
The missing pieces of the case are starting to come together when Helen is kidnapped by a group of Russians who Reacher thinks is behind the shooting. He asks the shooting range owner Martin Cash (Robert Duval) to help him with ammo when he goes to the sand pits to get Helen back. Together the pair attempt to rescue Helen while coming face to face with the man behind the whole shooting and set up of Barr as the patsy.
my thoughts: Tom Cruise has had a few hit movies in his career and a few not so good movies. Jack Reacher is one of his best roles yet and by far his best in recent years. This movie reminds me a little of A Few Good Men where he plays a hot-shot lawyer who takes nothing seriously and always wins his cases. In this film he is another hot-shot, former military special agent, who solves crimes with unorthodox tactics. Rosamund Pike and Robert Duval are great Hollywood stars who support Cruise in this rogue role that keeps people guessing his next move.
People who sit down to watch Jack Reacher on Netflix or On Demand should not expect a shoot’em up style movie but a good tense thriller about solving a very violent crime. The story focuses more on Reacher and his abilities then the shooting itself, because an event like that would draw National news attention which doesn’t happen here. Instead we get an action packed modern detective story with many plot twist and turns.
This film is based on the book One Shot (2005) written by Lee Child.
my star rating: 8 out 10