When I first heard that Cruise had the rights to the books, I was really upset. Reacher is over 6 feet 5inches, and weights 250 pounds. Need I say more? Okay, I will. Reacher is anything but slick. Tom Cruise, no matter what character he plays, always comes off as…slick. So you can understand why I had a big problem with him playing this character.
Jack Reacher is a drifter. He wears his clothes until they get dirty, then he throws them away and buys some more at a thrift store. He doesn’t live anywhere, doesn’t have a bank account and travels around the country on a bus. People in trouble usually just bump into him, and of course he helps. Reacher was a Major in an elite military police unit and still has a few friends in the Army.
When the film opens, there’s a shot of several guys lying on the ground. It’s obvious that they were badly beaten up. Inside a nearby diner is Reacher, and from the bruises on his face, we know that he’s the one who kicked their butts.
When the police go to arrest him, he tells them that in two seconds the phone on the wall will ring, and, “You guys are going to be in big trouble.” That’s all I’m going to say, but it’s a very clever scene and gives great insight into Reacher’s character.
After that opening, it doesn’t take long for Reacher to be drawn back into the life he left behind. His friend and successor, Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) is framed for espionage. Reacher will stop at nothing to prove her innocence and to expose the real perpetrators behind the killings of two former soldiers.
This takes the audience on a really fun ride which includes great stunts (mostly performed by Tom), killer fight scenes, chases, twists and turns, which finally leads us to New Orleans where there’s a very big parade going on celebrating Halloween.
One of my favorite parts of the film is Reacher’s relationship with a fifteen year old girl, Samantha (the wonderful Danika Varosh), who may or may not be his daughter. It’s in Cruise’s scenes with her that he gets to show another side of Reacher, and it’s really quite endearing.
There’s also a great character known as “The Hunter” played by Patrick Heusinger, who’s quite good at playing a sociopathic killer who’s determined to take down Reacher and make him suffer big time.
I give “Jack Reacher Never Back Down,” directed and co-written by Edward Zwick, which opens today in theaters, Friday October 21st, 4 bagels out of five with lox, cream cheese, capers and the works. Don’t miss it.