Film Reviews and Discussion.
Dir: Christopher McQuarrie
Duration: 130 mins
Reach(er) for the stars? Tom Cruise stretches diminutive frame to fill the shoes of a modern literary action giant. Does he succeed?
So, here we have it; a blockbuster action flick designed to kick-start the post-Christmas woozy (and no doubt boozy) period with an energetic fire of poise and purpose.
Firstly, placing cards on the table, so we know what we are dealing with here, you should know that this is literally a Tom Cruise production. Not only holding a starring role, this is a tent pole production under the creatively minded title ‘ a Tom Cruise Production’. With an imagination like that, one cannot wait for his sharp and agile mind to turn to original screenplays. Lordy.
Moving on, much has been made of Tom Cruise’s lack of height in comparison with the towering figurehead of the source material (Lee Child’s series of novels, of which One Shot is the bearer of content for this particular outing). The question at the heart of all this banal discussion is whether or not the quality of the movie removes the pedantic urge to niggle. After all, the public can forgive many shortcomings if they are washed away in flurry of entertainment. Especially in the action genre.
The plot details of this feature are not really of relevance to this review. Suffice to say, it is suitably swift-moving and frantic, involving a legal case and a/some shooting/s. It is adrenaline cinema; a cinematic defibrillator intended to excite and entertain.
Cruise is reliably engaging, assured and competent. Eyebrows will surely be raised at the use of Werner Herzog in the Bond villain role. His voice oozes sinister import and it is a devilish masterstroke in terms of casting. In fact, so textbook is his performance, that he should be stroking a cat. He doesn’t. Sadly. Rosamund Pike fulfils requirements as an intelligent yet alluring blond. She offers a compelling counterpoint to Cruise.
The final act provides a cliche-driven showdown, which is as entertaining as it is nauseatingly predictable. On the plus-side, the scenery chewing cameo from Robert Duvall is rip-roaring. He seems to be having fun. It would be easy to follow this sentence with, ‘which is more than can be said for the audience’, but this would unfair, no matter how convenient a turn of phrase.
This is a fun film. That is not a crime. It is not to be taken it too seriously. A further instalment with Cruise as Jack Reacher would be a welcome addition to the cinematic calendar. For a feature of this type, there can be offered no greater plaudit. It deserves a viewing but it does not deserve in-depth analysis or essays.
Competent. Efficient. Unpredictably predictable. Just like the protagonist.
If you like this, try this: Taken (2008) – An obvious choice. It is like a strand from Season 1 of 24 condensed into a couple of hours. Enjoyable as popcorn cinema, with brain in neutral gear (borderline considering a move into ‘reverse’).
You can see the trailer for Jack Reacher here: