January 1, 2013

“You think I’m a hero? I’m not a hero, and if you’re smart, that scares you, because I have nothing to lose”
Who's Jack Reacher? A six foot five, two-hundred and fifty pound former United States Army Military Police Major with blonde hair and blue eyes. Sounds like Tom Cruise? Hell not. In terms of physical appearance, the movie may be different with the best-selling book "One Shot", one of Jack Reacher's series written by Lee Child extraordinaire. But, what about the other aspects? The main question will be : is it just another less-glamorify Ethan Hunt or a perfect adaptation that will give a sweet dream to the book's fans? 

The movie which was released to the theater days after the horror of Connecticut Elementary School massacre may be the one that people will choose to end their 2012 with (because I did, yesterday). I mean, who doesn't love Tom Cruise as an actor (moreover, with his name and face plastering all over the poster)?! Plus, there's Christopher McQuarrie, who can't be underestimated as an Oscar caliber writer and director. Jack Reacher may be a promising feature (I can see it as a golden card for a sequel), but does it really exceed the expectation? The answer is no.

The story begins with 5 random shootings in a sunny day at a park somewhere in Pittsburgh, done recklessly by a sniper that the police strongly believe is James Barr (Joseph Sikora). When it's time to questioning Barr and to make him confess everything, Barr only answer was "Get Jack Reacher". As the police undergoes the searching, only to find that Reacher is a 'ghost', Reacher shows up out of nowhere. Long story short, he then team up with Barr's attorney, the smartly ass-kicking Helen (Rosamund Pike) who's in the battle against his own father, the head of the District Attourney, Rodin (Richard Jenkins) together with the strongly-behaved detective, Emerson (David Oyelowo) to race against Barr. But Reacher knows that something is wrong and with the help of Helen, he then begins his journey to search the real mastermind behind the tragedy.

I love how this movie begins with striking event, then slowly (and surely) peeling each layers of justice that goes stronger and stronger (though the quarter after the shooting is loosen), revealing more truths with the tension rising at every level. I love how they case-solving presented by dialogue exchange, performed flawlessly by the duo Reacher-Helen. It reminds me a lot with Beckett & Castle in a thrilling criminal series, Castle. How they complete each other sentences, then ideas just popped out and quickly emerge and dangling in one complete way. The 130 minutes runtime feel like eternity, which is good, because this movie remains its tension steadily, flickered with twists and surprises and more revealing and shocking truths. I also love how this movie feels lot like 70's action flick, with heartpounding hand-to-hand fight scenes, a lot of shootings and of course the car chasing which tires screeching provides quite a soundtrack. 

What I hate the most about this movie is that the villain never really shows his fangs. The Zec (Werner Herzog) may appear creepy and determined, but he's just a useless frosting, not minding to give any sweetness to the story. Not to mention his too predictable evil plan that feels way too complicated to be absorbed. I mean, if you paid attention enough, you would have known the answer right from the very beginning. And I do think that the silly humors are unnecessary, don't you think?

Reacher is confident, smart and patient, I love that character. Tom Cruise can do his exterior, appears to be cool and calculating (and downright handsome), but the wounded aspect, everything inside him that triggers problems, I can't feel it in Cruise. He's charismatic enough, but he looks more like a walking puppet with stone-hard case. Rosamund Pike is the light of this movie. Helen is smart, strongly behaved, determined and I love how she gets all hot and bothered when Reacher is around. She's a good partner for Reacher, but I don't seem to feel their chemistry. Charlie (Jay Courtney) appears to be the real villain, the sneaky and strong-willed sniper who's all around Reacher. David Oyelowo can only deliver black-cop, not more than that. Richard Jenkins plays well on being the innocent accussation that had made me believe that he's the one.

Finally, Jack Reacher is a full-action movie filled with non-stop heartpounding actions with one step at a time moment of truths. Jackwatch, but certainly not more than that. FYI, you can't put a higher expectation than this


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