By Phillip Guy Ellis (Northampton, England)
Star – Tom Cruise
Genre – Action
Run Time –2 hrs
Certificate – PG13
Country – U.S.A
Awards – 1 Win
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So after 30 odd books author Lee Childs felt it was time to unleash his badass man alone crime fighting vigilante Jack Reacher upon Hollywood. With Tom Cruise on board the franchise got the boot it needed and if Tom Clancy’s, Jack Ryan and Robert Ludlam’s, Jason Bourne made for cool movies then why not Reacher? OK, Cruise is 9 inches shorter than the fictional renegade ex-military man character and the fans not that impressed with that fact, and Cruise already established in the Mission Impossible movies, but he delivered in the first film for an enjoyable two hour action movie and so he is back.
Christopher McQuarrie directed film one but Ed Zwick, who had previously worked with Cruise in The Last Samurai, was appointed director here. Was that on cruises request we wonder? The first film, Jack Reacher, was actually based on the 9th book in the series with film two being the 18th book. There was no origin story in the first film and Reacher turns up as the finished article. Jack Reacher 2 would be Tom Cruise’s first sequel for any movie in his 30-year career. Film one did $218 million from just a $60m budget whilst more money was thrown at the sequel coming in at $96million but bringing back $168m profit. That’s not what the studio expected from a Cruise movie.
• Tom Cruise as… Jack Reacher
• Cobie Smulders… as Major Susan Turner
• Aldis Hodge… as Captain Anthony Espin, Turner’s friend
• Danika Yarosh… as Samantha Dutton, the girl Jack Reacher protects
• Patrick Heusinger… as the Hunter
• Holt McCallany… as Colonel Sam Morgan
• Austin Hebert… as Daniel Prudhomme
• Robert Catrini… as Colonel Bob Moorcroft
• Robert Knepper… as General James Harkness
• Jessica Stroup… as Lieutenant Sullivan
• Madalyn Horcher… as Sergeant Leach
• Teri Wyble… as Mrs. Prudhomme
The Hunter: This Reacher guy is interesting.
Gen. Harkness: You have no idea. They ran out of medals. So don’t make this a competition.
The Hunter: Too late.
Drifter and man alone in the shadows Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), a former military investigator turned vigilante, has just taken down a human trafficking ring. Today he is returning to his old military headquarters to meet Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), whom he has been working with during his travels and the closest he has to a friend. But he soon learns from buddy Colonel Sam Morgan (Holt McCallany) that Turner has been accused of espionage and detained.
Turner’s attorney, Colonel Bob Moorcroft (Robert Catrini), reveals to Reacher that there is evidence that Turner is involved in the murders of two soldiers in Afghanistan but Reacher believes she is being set up. His brief has yet more bad news. Candice Dutton, an old lover, has filed a paternity suit against him, claiming he is the father of her 15-year-old daughter, Samantha Dutton (Danika Yarosh). Reacher tries to reach out to Samantha, but she rebuffs him.
Later, Moorcroft is killed by an unknown assassin. He knew too much. Reacher is framed for that murder, arrested and transported to the prison where Turner is being held. Two assassins arrive to kill her but Reacher takes them down, rescuing Turner and escaping to Morgan’s house, having deduced he is involved in the conspiracy somehow, a chance to extract information. After they leave, the assassin, revealed to be working with Morgan, kills Morgan and frames Reacher for yet another killing. The trio are now on the run as they try to figure out how to decode the conspiracy.
I think the title of the movie sums up what most people thought about it. It was not great and certainly forgettable, even for Cruise fans – especially for Lee Child’s readers. Co-star Cobie Smulders did all her own stunts to do her best to make this work alongside Shorty but clearly someone had muddled ideas where the style of the second film should go and nowhere near as fun and entertaining as film one. It was a bad idea to have Tom bombing around in broad daylight dressed in cool black threads for more camera time as we are back to Mission impossible territory. Why mix the two?
In the first film Reacher is in the shadows, armed with super combat skills and intriguing, very much like Denzel Washington’s, Robert McCall character in the enjoyable remake of The Equalizer, not being chased around with loads of explosions and generic car chases as is the case with JR2. It’s very average and a rare flop for Cruise. It’s very much a film to watch on terrestrial TV as part and so not pay the rental in Skystore or something. It’s just bland. There is no Cruise premium here. I just can’t recommend this one guys, rare for a Cruise movie. In fact I’m quite annoyed they have wrecked the franchise. The John Wick stuff is excellent in the same genre and they didn’t cock that up with film two. I would watch that instead.
Imdb.com – 6.1/10.0 (97.234votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 38% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 45% critic’s approval
Village Voice –’The feel for the epic that once gave this director’s films a pop grandeur is also gone. He’s made a totally anonymous movie, devoid of personality or interest.
The New Republic –’The film has the empty sheen of a quick in-and-out cash grab, a movie insisting that it’s a franchise while the audience yawns indifferently’.
Globe & Mail –’It would be a refreshing departure from the more bombastic set pieces of modern Hollywood if it weren’t all so lazily executed’.
Independent –’What has started as a pared-down and brutal thriller turns into a family melodrama’.
The Mail –’While the first Reacher movie had its moments (how can you hate a movie that casts Werner Herzog as the bad guy?) this one is substantially duller’.
[referring to the bodies near the diner]
Diner Cop: What the hell happened here?
Pedestrian #1: There was a fight. One guy took them all down with his bare hands.
Pedestrian #2: He’s still in there.
[points his fun at Reacher]
Diner Cop: Turn around, mister. Let me see your hands, slowly.
[Reacher turns slows with his hands raised]