Tom Cruise is a name well-known to movie buffs, particularly those with an affinity for action blockbusters. While best known for the Mission: Impossible series, Cruse has ventured into other properties, including the two cinematic adaptations of the Jack Reacher novels. Cruise produced and played the title character in both, and the first installment, based on Lee Child’s 2005 novel One Shot, has recently been re-released on 4K UHD Blu-Ray. Question is, is the 2012 Jack Reacher film worth reaching for or is it best left on store shelves?   


Thoughtful and witty, Jack Reacher is a drifter with an intense military background. His fellow veteran James Barr (Joseph Sikora) was convicted for sniping innocent people, and Barr’s attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), daughter of district attorney Alex Rodin (Richard Jenkins), is trying to save him from the death penalty. She also seeks to prove something to her father, whom she believes is too militantly invested in his job and has likely incriminated innocent people. Reacher appears to see Barr, reluctantly teaming up with Helen, police and, later, a former marine sergeant to uncover the truth.

As a whole, Jack Reacher works as a fun ride as it grinds through its yarn. Thankfully, save for one minor exception, the cast did an excellent job translating their characters to the big screen, infusing them with personality. Cruise, in particular, portrays Reacher with charisma and confidence, making our hero entertaining to watch on his two-hour conquest towards victory.


Unfortunately, it’s nevertheless hard to be an effective thriller when there’s a dearth of suspense. Once he gets his game face on, you can sense Reacher’s theories will always prove correct, leaving you yearning for a twist that never comes. On top of that, Reacher is the most physically capable character present, meaning the action sequences, while well-choreographed, are fundamentally weightless. The one moment when Reacher wasn’t commanding the situation — when two goons sneak up and strike him from behind — is the one moment in the film when the stakes are convincingly raised. Any concern quickly diminishes, however, as the two hired muscles soon start bickering in a comedic fashion, allowing the veteran to regain his bearings and knock them out. It’s ultimately impossible to get emotionally invested in Reacher’s struggles when he’s never challenged.

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Those eager to supplement their Jack Reacher experience with bonuses will be pleased with the nice roster of them on display. “When the Man Comes Around” is a revealing 26-minute feature discussing the creation of the film, focusing on casting and the excitement Lee had over the film adaption of his work. The aptly named “You Do Not Mess with Jack Reacher: Combat & Weapons” explores the training Crusie went through to learn to fight as well as the weapons used throughout the movie. Of interest to series newcomers is “The Reacher Phenomenon,” which interviews Child on his series, covering the genesis of his now-famous character and how he writes his books. Also included are two commentary tracks for the movie, one featuring Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie and the other hosts composer Joe Kraemer.

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