Jack Reacher

Does size really matter? Who knows, but a decent script sure as hell does.
Tom Glasson
Published on January 09, 2013


Author Lee Child describes Jack Reacher as 6' 5" and 115 kg, with ice-blue eyes, dirty blond hair, and a 50-inch chest.

So I know what you're thinking: Tom Cruise was born to play this role, right!?

No? Well, it seems fans of the Jack Reacher series agree with you. To them, casting Cruise as their burly hero was akin to having Gilbert Gottfried play Superman, or putting Russell Crowe in a musical. But does size really matter? Because for those who've not read the books, Cruise fits the bill perfectly: a no-nonsense military cop and Iraq war veteran turned modern-day Ronin, moving anonymously from town to town in search of wrongs that need a-right'n. He's cool, he's calculating — he's everything you'd expect from Tom Cruise in an action film.

And yet, in defence of the fans, he is utterly irreconcilable with the character from a physical perspective and that does count for something. Movies based on books should reflect those books as best as possible, and in that respect Jack Reacher earns itself a big black mark.

But what of the film itself? To begin with, producers could not have chosen a worse week in which to premiere a film featuring a mass public shooting, coming just days after Sandy Hook. Yet even without that horrific real-world backdrop, Jack Reacher's opening scene remains both terrifying and unsettling. It's also probably the most original aspect of an otherwise by-the-numbers thriller, which may explain why director Christopher McQuarrie frequently revisits it.

Overall the plot is simple but confused, the writing is largely mundane save for the odd zinger and — despite an impressive cast that includes Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, and Werner Herzog — even the acting feels periodically hammy. If you're a fan of his work, it's hard not to like Tom Cruise, but compared to last year's fantastic Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol, not even he can get Jack Reacher to fire on many fronts.

So again we ask: does size really matter? Who knows, but a decent script sure as hell does.


Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x