Jack Reacher (2012)

Rated.PG-13. Our ratings: V -5; L 3-; S/N -2. Running time: 2 hour 10 min.

Break the arm of the wicked and evildoers;
seek out their wickedness until you find none.
Psalm 10.15

Jack faces off with the vicious sniper.

2012 Paramount Pictures

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie’s adaptation of Lee Child’s novel One Shot stars Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, a loner ex-military policeman who lives outside of society’s radar screen. He uses no credit cards, moves about constantly, and prefers to travel by bus. When Army vet James Barr (Joseph Sikora) is arrested for the sniper killing of five seemingly unconnected people, Jack shows up, and the action really begins.

With its hand-to-hand fights, a high-speed car chase, and a climactic shoot-out in a quarry, this is definitely a guy’s film—even more so with the few women around in such small roles. The best thing about the film is Werner Herzog and Robert Duvall. The great German director plays The Zec, the master villain behind the bizarre plot. Robert Duvall shows up close to the end when Jack goes to the gun store run by a man named Cash (Duvall) and solicits his aid. Having Cash on his side during the exciting shoot out is like having money in the bank.

There’ll be no discussion questions, this pulp fiction story being one of my “guilty pleasures.” How could you not enjoy something with lines such as the following, uttered when Jack catches up with the real sniper, “You killed that girl to put me in a frame, and I mean to beat you to death and drink your blood from a boot” ? And as for the controversy over the short of stature Tom Cruise playing the novel’s 6’ 5″ hero, it isn’t worth getting excited about.