Jack Reacher (2012)

Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher (2012)

As a modern example of the post-Bourne action blockbuster, Tom Cruise vehicle Jack Reacher is more than adequate. It’s a sleek, streamlined piece of Hollywood filmmaking, managing to maintain interest throughout its 130 minute runtime thanks to carefully-judged pacing, clean cinematography. The narrative – a machismo-laden mystery mostly faithful to Lee Child’s novel One Shot – is one of those convoluted narratives that’s got just enough going on to hold your attention (provided you don’t think too deeply about it afterwards). Even the product placement – a Mercedes reversing camera proving critical in the climatic action sequence – is clever.

What lets Jack Reacher down isn’t Cruise in the lead role – he’s convincingly brusque – but just how American it is. I can forgive the film’s worship of guns and cars, perhaps. I can even accept its tacit endorsement of police brutality as endemic to the genre’s fetishisation of fascism. But an early scene where we’re expected to applaud Reacher describing a young woman as a “slut” reveals an ugly streak of misogyny running beneath the film’s surface. Dig a little deeper and some equally problematic racist undertones are revealed; note how the only two characters who aren’t white Americans turn out to be villains.2.5 stars

10 thoughts on “Jack Reacher (2012)

  1. It’s funny that somebody of Cruise’s height is playing a guy with the name of Jack REACHer, but hey, the guy makes it work. As is usually the case with him. Good review.

    • Cheers! I think his comparative lack of height worked quite well in the context of the film; made it seem like people would be more likely to underestimate him (plus I’ve never really understood people who make complains like but he’s 7 feet tall in the book!!!, because, really, who cares?).

  2. I have Amazon Prime, and it looks like I can watch this movie for free right now. Is it worth watching for free, or is it 130 minutes of my life that I wish I could get back?

    • I caught it on Netflix while doing other stuff and didn’t regret it. It’s not a great film but it’s well-paced and shot enough to keep your interest throughout.

  3. The problem lies in your first few words “example of the post-Bourne action blockbuster” Post Bourne, that is now the bar that these movies now have to achieve and this is yet another movie that dies not reach that very high bar set by Damon and Co

    • That’s true, it’s not really on the level of those films at all. It kinda felt torn between being a serious ’00s action film and a cheesier ’80/90s action film actually.

  4. Pingback: If You Choose to Accept It: Tom Cruise and the Mission: Impossible Franchise | ccpopculture

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