copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

The last movie I saw before this one happened to be Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol and the problem I had with that film is that it was kind of dumb. The attention centered on the awesome action scenes and everything else was filler. Jack Reacher, on the other hand, may not necessarily be a super smart movie, but I was surprised to find in it a relatively interesting and intelligible detective story instead of an over the top action movie I would normally expect Tom Cruise to star in.

The main issue I have with this film is the dialogue. Some phrasing sounded artificial, cartoonish even, like something someone wrote for an episode of CSI rather than something a real person would actually say. I think that might have been intentional. Sometimes it would fit the stylistic approach of a comic book that this movie was slowly beginning to take as it was progressing.

Either way, the screenplay in general was quite good.  The story is about a murder that brings Jack Reacher, played by Tom Cruise, out of hiding after a murder suspect asks for him by name. The movie was happening within relatively small area and had a low-key provincial feel to it, which at first I found disappointing, but this small scale gives the story room to grow, twist and turn and so it does. The story was not predictable and it grew at just the right pace. Some things you can see coming but others not so much. There are a few scenes in the film that, for just a few moments, deliberately make you presume the wrong thing. I have not seen a good detective story like this in a while and this was refreshing.

Jack is an interesting character to base a movie around. He knows what he is doing; he is intelligent and has some fighting skills thrown in for good measure. However, he is not invincible and does make mistakes. Also, his moral fiber is a little twisted, bringing a certain realism to his character. Just like the story, Jack’s character is not revealed all at once but slowly, as the movie progresses.

The story lost me a little with some of its weird decisions and a few unanswered plot questions, but overall I really liked the mixed tone of the movie.

It has different vibes flowing through its veins. It has some really dark violent streaks but also some comedy, some sudden slapstick comedy even. It has action and car chases but also some slower investigative work. The music at times sounds like it's from an adventure movie. It is an interesting chameleon.

Also unusual are the moral colors movie shows. I already mentioned the somewhat dark main character, and there are a few dubious decisions this character makes, which other good characters then accept to be ok. At the same time there is a character in this film who is explained to be mentally ill and you expected him to get punished somehow but not only does he not get punished but the movie makes him him out to be a victim.

In another movie, such a wide palette of tones, characters and morals would not have worked and the film would have felt all over the place and disjointed, but I feel like in this film it works…barely.

This was a dark yet fun movie and different from anything I can recall seeing in the last few years.

Jack Reacher