Recently I went to see Jack Reacher at the cinema. I haven’t read any of the books, but after seeing the trailer I thought the movie looked quirky, fun and fast paced. I quite enjoyed the last version of Mission Impossible with its light-hearted attitude, and I thought Tom Cruise displayed similar qualities in the trailer for this picture as well. And that’s coming from someone who’s not a massive fan of Cruise.
Before I went to see the movie some information about it indeed did catch my attention. Apparently a lot of the fans were unhappy about the choice of Tom Cruise for the lead role. Though it was actually quite funny that it wasn’t some evil producer that made this decision or the book publisher, but the author himself. Still the fans were complaining that the actor looks nothing like the character described in the book – Jack was supposed to be pretty tall at 6’5″.
Some movie reviews mentioned that as a negative too, complaining that injecting the short actor into a plot planned for a tall and well built guy made it less believable. Well, duh, it’s a made up story, of course some elements you’ll have to just take as they come. And I think it worked quite well, the surprise on the bad guy’s face was a lot more genuine this way and it was more fun to watch the not so tall guy kick their butts. As a writer I think some of the scenes would actually be less interesting if they used someone with the posture of the novel version of Reacher. Some thing’s really do feel less absurd when written on paper, while on-screen they would be jarringly obvious. In the scene were Jack goes into a fight with five dudes it would be hard for them to be so cocky if they really faced a tall and well built guy. But then again, I haven’t read the book, so not sure how different the scene was from the novel.
I really enjoyed how the romance was downplayed, or even some elements turned into little bits of comedy. It can be quite annoying when just for the sake of having a hot chick in an action movie and an obligatory sex scene, a romance subplot is forced onto the viewers. Here it was quirky, and potentially posing the will they or won’t they question for future movies.
The movie is light, fun, and fast-paced – it has a few uneven moments though. It tends to meander between an action movie, a detective/criminal story, and not so sure if intentional comedy – what the hell was up with that bathroom scene, half the time I wasn’t sure if the movie went slapstick on me or that was supposed to be a failed attempt at showing how precise and adaptable to circumstances Reacher was? I tend to go to the cinema with the level of expectations adjusted to the genre of the movie and the impression the trailer made. And I was pleasantly surprised. However if you expect this to be a breakthrough in dialogue, plotting, character development or any other aspect, you’ll likely be disappointed.
For me it was enjoyable enough that as the credits rolled I thought about looking up the novels and giving them a go. But that’s where I got a bit disappointed – some of the books are written in first person POV, which I absolutely hate. That’s the style that for me recently screams teen romance, so it felt a bit weird. Also the prose didn’t pull me in at first glance, so with a long reading list it might actually be quite a while till I pick up one of the Jack Reacher novels.