Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

January 23, 2013

‘Jack Reacher’ reaches average in crowded action genre

Movie Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — There are simply certain days when despite how hard I try, I’m at a loss to drum up excitement for something mostly average and likely to be filed away in the countless “Oh yeah, I saw that once.” That’s not to say I had any disdain before watching the latest chapter of Running with Tom Cruise, but when your range of character creation is pretty much guaranteed to be déjà vu, one can simply hope the ride at on the two hour vacation goes without motion sickness.

True to something I would have vegetated to back in the heyday of action bliss in the 80s and 90s, I will say this latest entry was sufficient enough with corny one-liners, plenty of pathetic henchman smackdown and a villain one railroad scene short of Snidely Whiplash (played by the devil’s own voicebox, Werner Herzog). Perhaps the one thing that did help it was how this dastardly fiend was dealt with even if the final scene was much more rushed than necessary. “Jack Reacher” was at least fun while it lasted and might help tide those over waiting for the heroes in tights later this year.

I suppose the best way to put this plot featuring our plain clothes hero Jack (Cruise), is kind of like a Punisher meets Rambo backstory. No longer able to do his duty for his country, this former army police officer has long disappeared from the world as we know it; that is until a former sniper colleague of his named James Barr (Joseph Sikora), brings up his name after he is accused of murdering a handful of people in public.

Reluctantly, Jack comes out of hiding to help his defense attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), determine for sure that he is guilty of the heinous crime. That actually seems pretty easy at first, but don’t ya know it if meddling in police business doesn’t attract unwanted attention be it from police Detective Emerson (David Oyelowo) to the district attorney Alex Rodin (Richard Jenkins), who also happens to be the lawyer’s daughter. By the time Jack figures out this is much more than what it appears on the surface, he’s involved in too deep to escape.

That may be the best way to describe this movie, as being just good enough to get one interested, but by the time you realize how things kind of cop out, you’re in deep enough that you might as well finish watching. The characters themselves aren’t all that interesting or developed save the Scooby Doo-esque moments when they discover another clue and quite frankly I wish I could have seen a much more involved main villain, who does more than sound creepy and give orders (Like some mangled former Nazi now parading around as an emo).

Still, maybe the hope is that sequels can milk the character’s adventures longer and give him more of a past that isn’t so drive-thru window. That said, it works well for a guy’s night out flick where all we have to do is react. As a result, I’d say Jack Reacher deserves a so-so two and one fourth out of five bullets.

Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.