Sunday, February 03, 2013

Reaching for Jack

One of the world’s finest actors, wacky Scientologist Tom Cruise, adopts the mantle of literary character Jack Reacher in Christopher McQuarrie's adaptation of One Shot by Lee Child. A former major in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, Reacher has since bizarrely eschewed an identity, permanent address, drivers licence and now only seems to own only the clothes he’s wearing. Despite his eccentricities however, he’s also a highly skilled investigator and when another former soldier whom Reacher failed to convict years earlier, becomes prime suspect in a multiple homicide - he demands Reacher himself assists his lawyer in investigating his case.

Cruise is joined on screen by Rosamund Surrogates Pike, Richard Killing Them Softly Jenkins, Jai Spartacus Courtney and the legendary Robert Duvall. The latter puts in the most convincing performance an an old-timer US Marine who won't walk away from a fight and relishes the chance to open fire on human beings again. And then there's Werner Herzog, the villain of the piece to which I can only bury my face in my hands in disbelief. The man is one of the worlds most prolific documentary filmmakers but he's no actor. For his [thankfully] few scenes he does nothing but sit in a chair sprouting sheer nonsense in his trademark emotionless monotone.

McQuarrie [who wrote The Usual Suspects and will helm M:I-5] has the movie play out bizarrely like a common 80’s thriller. It’s a mishmash between a bog-standard conspiracy tale at its best and a predictable Steven Segal movie at its worst. Despite the sheer nonsense of this combination, when melded with the absurdity of the Jack Reacher character and Cruise’s professional performance as well as Duvall's, this has far more a credible pedigree of an action-thriller than most movies that make such a claim these days and in fact the end result is thoroughly entertaining.

Final Verdict: They don’t make them like this anymore. Not sure of that's a good or a bad thing yet.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***1/2

1 comment:

Mark said...

Werner Herzog is beyond any form of human judgement. (Something I’d imagine you’d wish Captain Harmon Rabb, Jr would take into account. Heard from Harm recently at all?)

I can understand why you would attempt to quantify him in terms we could all understand but I'm saving you trouble by telling you to stop.

*Always* assume he was blindingly brilliant and move on. He’s Werner Herzog and we’re not.