Based on Lee Child’s exciting character of the same name, adapted from the novel One Shot, Jack Reacher is a gripping old-school thriller anchored by a terrific performance from Tom Cruise, a foundation of brilliant filmmaking, and a hard-boiled, gritty feel that the big screen has been sorely missing.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 5.1 DD, English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Run Time: 2 Hr. 10 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy, UltraVioletStandard Amaray with Slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 05/07/2013
The prime suspect in the sniper deaths of 5 men and women along a public waterfront utters just two words in response to the district attorney’s offer for him to avoid the death penalty – Jack Reacher. That name belongs to mysterious man, a former military investigator and loner-personality filled with conversational brevity and a penchant for eliciting perplexed looks at his ‘few words’ style. Employed by the attorney assigned to represent the accused, Reacher begins an investigation when the facts of the story don’t add up and turn after turn discovers that a deeper secret hides at the center of the case the city believes is open and shut.
The Production Rating: 4/5
Tom Cruise may not have seemed the likely candidate to embody Lee Child’s popular literary character on the big screen. At 5' 7", Cruise is a fair way from the hulking 6' 5" figure that Child describes, but Cruise carries himself as if he were that tall with a feisty, determined performance that insists a brutality that is more often hinted than demonstrated, and serves the story and film expertly.
Cruise is supported by Rosamund Pike as Helen, a skilled attorney with classic beauty and a hard nose for judicial fair-play. Her father is the District Attorney Rodin (Richard Jenkins) pushing for a confession in exchange for talking the death penalty off the table, a maneuver his daughter is uncomfortable with as she sees it is a strong-arm technique to close a case regardless of the accused’s guilt. The wonderfully talented actor Richard Jenkins plays the role of Rodin with David Oyelowo playing his lead prosecutor, Emerson, a man with little patience for Jack Reacher. Werner Herzog (Rescue Dawn) turns in an unsettling performance as the mysterious Zec, pushing pawns around to serve his means, chief among them Charlie, his muscle played by Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard). Finally, Robert Duvall makes a relatively brief but important appearance as Cash, a shooting range owner.
Christopher McQuarrie’s direction is taut. With great purpose and purity, McQuarrie captures the essence of the Reacher character and manages to never betrays him for the sake of expediency or a softer ending. Cruise – and the entire cast - excel under McQuarrie’s confident hand. The director marvels in a, dare I say, old-school filmmaking technique, allowing the spectacle and action of Jack Reacher to come not from sequences augmented by computer generated imagery, but from muscle and performances by leads that bristle with thrills. In fact, Jack Reacher exalts an absence of visual effects work (at least, any noticeable VFX) for its sequences. Chief among these sequences is the car chase involving Reacher’s pursuit in a stolen 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS of the suspects driving a slick Audi A6. It pits the muscular old school methods of Reacher against the brutal but modern ‘bad-guys’; a juxtaposition exemplar for the film’s core. McQuarrie, who won the Academy Award for his superb The Usual Suspects screenplay adapts author Lee Child’s One Shot more straight and narrow than his previous works may lead you to believe, but the non-nonsense feel of the Reacher character, at least for his cinematic introduction, require that very approach. And with this excellent grip on filmmaking and favor of character among the mystery and action, the prospects for his next film, Mission: Impossible 4, are exceedingly bright.
Jack Reacher is superbly entertaining. Gripping from the jump and what it may lack in in plot surprise it makes up for in masterful and bravura execution. And watching Cruise as a more mature actor is a treat here. Having seen his A Few Good Men again recently, where his character is cocky and slick, it stands as an appropriate contrast to the darker man he plays in Jack Reacher. Gritty and highly competent, the Reacher character’s expertise and fast-skills are matter of fact and even reluctant, versus the eager hero of roles he excelled at earlier in his career. This is a Tom Cruise I could watch again and again.
What a glorious image. Filmed on 35mm this high definition presentation (1080p) is replete with examples of amazing detail, superbly rich and perfectly saturated colors, excellent black levels with shadow details precise. I am struggling to see any issues in this image and award this a 5-star image without reservations.
Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA
As with the image, the sound quality of Jack Reacher is impressive. A pristine, precise, bold and throaty 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio delivers in every way. High caliber gun shots punch the subwoofer and echo through the surrounds, fist-fights are natural sounding rather than the product of a sound effect, the car chase sequence as riddled with a barrage of sounds throughout the speakers in an all-enveloping cacophony of sound. It’s all so brilliantly put together.
Audio Rating: 5/5
The audio commentaries are standout as special features. Besides the positive commentary by director and star, the commentary track by McQuarrie’s composing partner (having worked with him on Way of the Gun and the upcoming M:I 4) is a treat for fans of film scores. The remaining special features clock in just shy of an hour and cover the interesting origins of the film (adapting One Shot), adopting realistic fighting styles, and the author discussing the ‘Reacher phenomenon.
Special Features Rating: 3.5/5
DVD Copy of the Film
Digital Copy of the Film
Commentary by Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie
Commentary by composer Joe Kraemer
When the Man Comes Around
You Do Not Mess with Jack Reacher: Combat & Weapons
The Reacher Phenomenon
With a relatively disappointing domestic box-office haul initial word from Paramount was that a sequel would not be coming. However, steady international box office receipts and the low price-tag of the film appears to have upped the odds of a sequel considerably. That’s welcome news. The Jack Reacher character is ripe for the cinema. Unflinching skills, commanding presence, mysterious background and an honorable code as guide, Jack Reacher – with a bevy of materials to draw from in Lee Child’s novels – has great potential to become a cinematic mainstay for the foreseeable future, at least if any future movies are made with a skilled a hand and as enjoyable a result as this first film. Highly Recommended!
Overall Rating: 4/5
Reviewed By: Neil Middlemiss
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