Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher in the new film based on the books by Lee Child.

Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher in the new film based on the books by Lee Child.

Reel Reviews: Cruise plays the big man

You will believe Tom Cruise can fight in Jack Reacher.

  • Dec. 28, 2012 7:00 p.m.

Former U.S. Army Military Police Major Jack Reacher is brought in to investigate the seemingly random murder of five unrelated civilian victims by an exceptional sniper.

A renegade and a rebel, Reacher (Tom Cruise) wanders the American landscape, helping those who need it, a drifter with a bank role.

Based on one of 17 novels in the Jack Reacher series, this film serves as our big screen introduction to a well-loved tough guy. Does Cruise, who produced the picture, do it justice? Can the film please both ardent fans and initiates?

We say, “You will believe Tom Cruise can fight.”

TAYLOR: Tom Cruise is just under five-and-a-half-feet tall but you couldn’t tell that by looking at Jack Reacher. I was worried that the diminutive weirdo wasn’t going to be able to pull it off, as Reacher is described at 6’5” and pushing 250 pounds. However, Cruise is in reasonable shape and by way of either casting or effects, even when in a crowded nightclub, no one is taller than he.

HOWE: I was pretty impressed with this. I have never read any of Lee Child’s (aka Jim Grant) novels featuring Jack Reacher, and after witnessing this movie, I may now try a couple. Reacher doesn’t go overboard in fight scenes (only when needed) and relies more on a mystery/thriller format, which I really enjoyed.

TAYLOR: I was pleased by being able to watch the case be solved, rather than only have butts being kicked. Yet, I had no problem believing Cruise was a well-trained soldier with exceptional fighting skills and that he could do the damage he did. It was a well-balanced, entertaining film. A little cliché certainly, a bit too “on the nose” for my tastes, perhaps a wee bit long, but good.

HOWE: Richard Jenkins seems to be in every other movie at the moment, and he proves yet again what a fine performer he is. The tone of his voice, how he delivers his lines puts a comical edge to them without him really trying. Fantastic.

TAYLOR: Jenkins’ deadpan belongs on the big screen. He’s busy these days wherever they need a solid second man to anchor reality. There were some comic moments in the film, although its overall tone is serious, it’s not without levity. I noticed too that many audience members found that humour in the things Cruise didn’t say or didn’t do. Reacher is the strong silent type and I guess knowing this helps you understand how walking away with a smile is an appreciable statement.

HOWE: If you enjoy the Bourne or Bond series, but want a tad bit slower pace rather than super close up fight and chase scenes, then this movie is for you. The acting is of slightly higher quality and the storyline a little more realistic.

TAYLOR: It’s a good whodunnit and has a clean, classic, straightforward style that allows you to simply enjoy the mystery, without trying to impress with needless distractions.

— Taylor gives Jack Reacher 3.5 cans from the top shelf out of 5.

— Howe gives it 4 classy fight scenes out of 5.

The movie is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are movie critics based in Vernon, B.C.