Almost a movie that I think was forgotten about by many audiences, the Tom Cruise starring JACK REACHER was made by a team a few years before filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie and Cruise broke onto the world with two big MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies. And while there is a new series out of the same name and idea based on the Lee Child books AND the Reacher depicted in that show more matches Child’s original vision of Reacher, what we have her is still a very effective, character driven thriller.
The lowdown: a sniper opens fire in Pittsburgh, killing five people and causing a local firestorm with the authorities. In walks Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), a man who is usually in hiding, to help with the investigation. But of course there’s much more to it than this. Reacher is an army vet with many special skills but now lives life on the lowdown and in the shadows, and only using his talents when necessary; in particular an early sequence in a bar that leads to a very clever and visually strong scene where he takes down a bunch of guys in a bar scrap.
Watching it again, I was surprised at how dialogue-heavy the first half of the movie was, in a good way. This all sets up Reacher and how he investigates who the original sniper is and the action comes out of the story. I love how this movie has a lot of its characters use their intelligence to investigate, trusts the audience It also benefits by using the very best of all of its cast, and how Cruise, even though is smaller and less muscular than the newer one, is still matched well with the likes of Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oleywo, Alexia Fast, Jai Courtney and Tom Hagen himself, Robert Duvall. Even Werner Herzog is here in a villainous performance where he really takes it over the top with that trademark voice of his.
A sequel also came out in 2016, directed by Edward Zwick, with a rare Cruise performance where I felt he just phoned it in and had a strange family dynamic and a LOT of bickering dialogue that turned me off. Ack. Let’s just pretend that the 2012 JACK REACHER is a one and done and move on, and I am definitely going to check out the new series to compare.
About the 4k Release:
Boasting a 4k restoration and update, JACK REACHER arrives on 4k disc from Paramount and it looks great, even though at times it pushes a bit of the limits of its original 35mm anamorphic photography. Some scenes have a bit of softness and focus drift in them, but I look more on this on the anamorphic lenses and film stocks used. Some sequences, in particular the final action sequence in rain, has stunning black levels. Overall, a terrific presentation.
Sound wise, this is a powerful mix at times that really sneaks up on you. While a good portion of the movie is dialogue driven and has a relaxed, cool vibe to it, there are also moments where the bone-crunching hits from Cruise on his opponents really hits hard on the front channels, and the mid-movie car chase sequence is really heavy on the bass. The aforementioned final fight sequence also benefits well with the slight rain sticking in the surround channels.
There are a few bonus features here including two commentary tracks, one by Cruise and McQuarrie and another by composer Joe Kraemer. These tracks are on both the 4k and Blu Ray disc. On the Blu Ray itself, there are a few additional production featurettes about the casting and making of it. It was especially interesting to see how they filmed in Pittsburgh and how they even made that into a character itself. All of this is packaged in a gorgeous steelbook that has a key quote from the movie on the back. If you collect these, clearly this is another solid presentation to add to the collection.
Overall, JACK REACHER is a far from perfect movie but a really entertaining one overall, and one where I could even look past its changes from the source material. This also comes in a very handsome steel book package and as always, it looks great on the shelf. Easy recommend if you are a fan of the movie or need a little more Tom Cruise in your life.
JACK REACHER is now available on 4k Blu Ray steelbook from Paramount. As always, our thanks to Paramount PR/Shinn for sending along a copy for review.