Reacher, Cruise-ified

Jack Reacher Never Go Back

This is a Tom Cruise movie. That’s a statement likely to evoke strong and opposing responses. His detractors may talk of a predictability of what will happen. They may say he only ever plays himself. They may poke fun at his devotion to Scientology and his often commented on personal life. His supporters may point to his three Oscar nominations and three Golden Globes for acting as evidence of genuine ability. They may say his films still make money and so his movie stardom remains undiminished.

Probably all these comments contain some truth, and, probably, this latest film, Tom Cruise’s second outing as Jack Reacher, is unlikely to change people’s minds.

Steve has deftly summed up the plot in his review so I won’t labour the story here. But one of the things going on is that Cruise takes the hard bitten loner and misogynist Reacher through a story arc that has him confronting the possibility of a softer, more engaged way of conducting his life. Perhaps not all fans of the Jack Reacher books may appreciate this, but Cruise fans surely will.

I haven’t read the Reacher books so the issue of how well Cruise fits the tall literary character is not something I’ve had to deal with. But now after a second film, that point probably doesn’t matter any more. Author Lee Child’s fiction is now Cruise-ifiction.

This is one of those action thrillers where it’s best to just sit back and enjoy the ride for what it is, and not delve too deeply into how various points on the plotline connect. We know he’s got a razor sharp detective mind, but Reacher’s ability to track people down has an almost supernatural aspect to it.  The fights are brutal but Reacher seems to brush off the kicks and punches rather too well.  I wouldn’t put this action thriller in the absolute top drawer, but it’s a well crafted piece of entertainment.

And say what you will about Cruise, this is a craft he knows well. He stays fit and strong, continues to do a lot of stunt work, and is utterly comfortable with the camera. He mixes action with comedy, and in this film the comic touches do work very well, as the laughter in the audience attested to. This is another movie not only starring him but made by him. The credits tell us he is the main producer.  He is a member of the Producers Guild of America. So he knows the nuts and bolts of movies and he clearly knows who his fans are and what they like. I see reports that a sixth Mission Impossible film is now in the works, and they’ve been his biggest money earners. At 54, Tom Cruise looks like he has quite a few more miles on the clock.

 

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