I've been a fan of the Jack Reacher series of novels for the last couple of years. I love the character of Jack Reacher and I get excited when I hear about an upcoming Lee Child novel.
So when I heard that Tom Cruise was going to be playing the lead role in "Jack Reacher" I was very sceptical. Reacher is physically imposing. He's big. He's tall. The novels make lots of references to his physique. All the references are to physical attributes that Tom Cruise lacks.
That doesn't, however, mean that Tom Cruise's portrayal of Jack Reacher was doomed to fail, but it had to be taken with a very large pinch of salt.
So how was the film?
The movie is produced by Tom Cruise and it's good fun. It's enjoyable. I'm not sorry I went to see it.
It's not, however, a faithful screen adaptation of Lee Child's creation. There are plenty of actors who could have brought Jack Reacher to the screen and done a better job. Tom Cruise is too small and too pretty. Sorry.
Maybe Liam Neeson, Jason Statham, Daniel Craig, Vin Diesel or any physically imposing male actor who has a more "lived in" look could have done it.
Moving on ..
The cast is pretty impressive. Cruise plays Jack Reacher, as already mentioned, and he's joined by Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog, David Oyelowo and Robert Duvall.
Herzog may not get much time on screen, but he emanates pure evil as "The Zec"
Werner Herzog as The Zec in Jack Reacher
There isn't really a "female interest" for Reacher in this film, but the leading lady is Rosamund Pike who plays the role of lawyer Helen Rodin
Rosamund Pike in Jack Reacher
Joining them is Robert Duvall as Cash
Tom Cruise & Robert Duvall in Jack Reacher
So it's got a good cast and there's plenty of action, funny one liners and all those other elements that you sort of expect from a big budget film like this.
Does it succeed? As an action thriller? - yes, as Lee Child's Jack Reacher? Not really. The main failing is Cruise. He's good as an action hero and has plenty of experience (think Top Gun, Days of Thunder, the Mission Impossible series), but he's still too damn small to be Jack Reacher. Sure Lee Child might defend the choice, but with Cruise producing the film and Child being paid for it (and getting a cameo role) it's not as if either of them are objective.
So go see it and enjoy it, but be warned - it's not really Jack Reacher for those of us who love the books.