Once upon a time, a young girl fell in love. She was introduced to the man by her sister, who had been introduced to him by her friends. You couldn’t help but admire the man. Tall, stoic and a former military man for goodness sake. He was quiet, but he stood for what was right. She was head over heels. Sadly, so was Tom Cruise.
Jack Reacher is an absolutely terrific character. Lee Child’s series of novels, from Killing Floor to A Wanted Man, are pretty much without fault (well, with the odd exception – and it helps if you’re into that kind of book!) So naturally, when the movie was announced, to be based on the novel One Shot, people were excited. Theories were passed around as to who would play the bad-ass drifter. He should have dark blonde hair, blue eyes, and be at least passable as 6’ 5” tall. Reacher is built – somewhere between 200 to 250 pounds, and absolutely solid. Who could pass for Jack Reacher? Tom Cruise of course. His production company bought up the rights to the movie, and cast their main man in the role.
When the news broke, I think it’s safe to say the fans revolted. We were horrified. Teeny tiny little Tom was going to be portraying our hero? No. Just no. Of course, Lee Child was thrilled, and why wouldn’t he be? Your book is being adapted for the screen and one of the biggest stars in Hollywood wants the lead? It’s a cause for celebration. Suddenly Child was saying things in interview that basically translated to “size doesn’t matter” – Reacher’s massive presence was implied, rather than literal. Not exactly in keeping with his former comments on Reacher. My sister and I were concerned, but being the loyal fans we were, we trotted along to see the movie anyway. We had always wanted to see Reacher on the big screen. If this was what it took to get the film made, then so be it.
The hardest thing for me to admit is that I didn’t hate it. Not by a long shot. Jack Reacher, the movie, was well written, it was funny, it was entertaining. It was a bit long, but most movies are these days (for me anyway, I’m always thinking I should be doing something else when I have to sit still for too long). There were some nice touches – Reacher’s driving skills weren’t the best, a subtle but fun reference to the book, him collecting his folding toothbrush after a night in the cells and even his motel aliases.
There were some dodgy points though – the cops are sent to the motel to look for a huge guy who can kill a woman with one punch, and the motel owner knows immediately who they’re talking about. Really? That little guy hanging out with the female lawyer who’s taller than him? Hmmm.
So all in all, I’ll give them it. The script was decent, the movie was decent. Would it have been a better film with an actor who actually suited the role? Maybe. Will there be a sequel? Rumours suggest not. Although I’ve heard that if there is, perhaps Bad Luck and Trouble will be adapted for the screen, the notion of which does intrigue me – it’s my favourite Reacher novel. We’ll see though. In the meantime, I’ll take solace in the fact that I don’t need to bother hunting down Cruise or Child and punish them, Taken style, for ruining the franchise. There are an awful lot worse adaptations out there of books I enjoyed, and I’m sure there’ll be more to come.
This is a pretty short blog post (no reference to Cruise intended). I think it’s because there’s not too much to say about Jack Reacher, the movie. It was fine. It didn’t suck. I’ll just be grateful for that.