HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Jack Reacher
HTS Overall Score:87
It seems that every author out there is getting a movie deal, and finally Lee Child’s has gotten around to getting his Jack Reacher character on the silver screen as well. The film has gotten one of those love it or hate it raps. Usually the hate it mantra seems to be motivated by fans of the book who don’t think that Tom Cruise is very much the “Reacher” type. In the books Jack Reacher is a hulking 6’5” behemoth who can pile drive a 400 lb marine without so much as batting an eye, and as you can tell Tom Cruise doesn’t seem to fit that physical build very much. After checking into the book character a bit I do admit that the director kind of tailor built the script around Tom Cruise, but it does not take away the fact that the movie was a total blast from beginning to end. I went in expecting a mediocre action movie only to get blown away by the sheer intensity and intrigue that the film inspired
Our first introduction to the film is through the eyes of a mysterious sniper. Setting up his bullets and casings, finding a vantage point, setting up his targets and then cold bloodedly murdering 5 civilians in the span of a few seconds. Now the police back track the clues and everything points to James Barr (Joseph Sikora), an ex-army sniper with a penchant for violence. With a seemingly open and shut case the district attorney (Richard Jenkins) and lead detective are confident they can get a confession, unfortunately, Barr calls in the help of one Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise); a military police officer with a drive for justice, to come in and help him out. Now here’s the kicker. Reacher doesn't believe that Barr is innocent due to Barr’s violent history, but as the tale unfolds he’s forced to come to the conclusion that everything is a giant setup. A giant hand is manipulating things behind the scenes, making it look as if Barr is the criminal for some strange Reason. Partnering up with Barr’s defense attorney (Rosamund Pike), Reacher digs deeper and deeper seeing just how far the rabbit hole goes.
Straying from the typical action hero genre, Cruise steps into the role of Jack Reacher and seamlessly blends a police procedural with some very heavy duty action scenes to create a hybrid of the two genres. Jack is a man driven by justice. No matter if he hates the man he’s investigating, he’ll do the right thing, even if it’s against his better judgment. Rosamund Pike plays the defense attorney (who’s also the DAUGHTER of the District Attorney) a crusading idealist who is in over her head in the clichéd underdog role. At first glimpse, “Jack Reacher” is a rather stereotypical film. Man is framed, calls in the super hero and that man/woman saves the day against insurmountable odds. While that’s true, the execution of that simple plot is how the film really shines. The film keeps enough information from the audience so that Jack can uncover plot points on his own without us seeing the outcome from a mile away. As a result it allows us to watch the film in order to see how it unfolds rather than predict the movies outcome from the get go.
Keeping us on the edge of our seats Tom Cruise plays a character as only he can. Suave, cold, hard and methodical, his representation of Jack is a bit different from the book, but still wildly entertaining. Tom has the ability to mesmerize an audience with just a look, a laugh and mix that in with some great “Arnoldish” one liners. His ability and desire to do his own stunts make the fight scenes even more interesting and there’s very little, if any, of that hyper annoying quick cuts to a fight scene where you can’t tell if they’re fighting or if the cameraman is having a seizure. The one unique thing to the fight scenes was the fact there was NO music playing. Most fight scenes, or car chases have the score blasting at full throttle with some adrenaline inspired sound track, but they decided to go with a lack of scoring for the fight scenes, ala “The Great Escape” or “Bullitt” ,adding a very unique feel and drive to the action scenes. It was refreshing to be able to focus on the actual fight instead of feel overwhelmed by a score that is trying to direct your emotions.
Now there were SOME flaws to the film. Rosamund Pike was decent, but there was nothing spectacular to her performance. There were several times that I noticed her traditional English accent slipping through and she didn’t have as much Chemistry with Cruise as I’d like. Also the main villain behind the scenes seemed a bit lackluster. He was intimidating as all get out, but his back story explanation for WHY he was doing what he was doing just felt a bit tacked on. However, all of that was made up by the sheer Chemistry of Cruise and the actual Sniper, Jai Courtney. The two of them displayed a ton of charisma and had me grinning from ear to ear. Cruise actually gives a “Taken” like speech where he describes just exactly what he’s going to do to Courtney that is every bit is impactful as Liam Neeson saying it to a cadre of flesh peddlers in “Taken”.
Rated PG-13 for violence, language and some drug material
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11705[/img]As with most modern action films, Paramount gives us a fantastic 2.35:1 AVC encoded transfer for “Jack Reacher”. Detail is absolutely fantastic from the get go. Long city scape shots are absolutely fantastic and show off a nice thing layer of film grain, giving the movie a very natural look. Facial shots are just as detailed and show off some incredible nuances. The film has quit a few dark scenes so we’re given more than ample time to evaluate the black levels in the film. Blacks are deep and inky with nary a scene of black crush. Shadow detail is well replicated and I never felt like I was straining to see anything even amongst the darkest of scenes. Contrast was evenly balanced and the flesh tones were very natural. Compression artifacts were non-existent. Even amidst the deep dark scenes the only grain being displayed was natural film grain and zero signs of compression noise or macroblocking. Colors were rich and colorful, given a slightly yellowish/orange hue, the bright scenes are bright and saturated well with a nice color blend. The reds of Sandy’s lipstick shines as a paragon of primary colors and the blues and browns of Jack Reacher’s clothing are perfectly replicated. Overall a fantastic picture that demonstrates just how good traditional film can look vs. digital.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11707[/img]Every bit as good as the video, “Jack Reacher” is given a superb 7.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack. Robust and clean it shines on all levels. Deep impactful LFE saturates the film from the very get go, with a snipers rifle sending shock waves throughout the sound stage. Dialogue is smooth and clean, locked right in the center as it should be. My main grip with 7.1 soundtracks is that the LFE and dialogue get a bit muted in most 5.1 setups, but no so in this case. I was extremely impressed with how balanced everything seemed. Nothing was out of phase with any of the other pieces. The LFE was rich and powerful, the dialogue was well within acceptable dynamic range standards and the use of surrounds was absolutely superb. There’s a scene at the end of the film in the quarry where the simulated rain was so realistic that I actually had to check outside to make sure that it wasn’t raining at my house.
• Director's Commentary
• Audio Composer's Commentary
• When the Man Comes Around
• You Do Not Mess with Jack Reacher: Combat & Weapons
• The Reacher Phenomenon
Seemingly an innocuous police procedural/action movie, “Jack Reacher” almost slipped by my radar in the theaters. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised and had an absolute blast watching it both in the theater and at my own home theater. The sheer fun factor of the movie was off the charts and was something that both my wife and I will be spinning in the player for quite some time. Given the fact that it has some awesome audio/video scores it’s a no brainer. The only downside is the lack of special features, which seems to be a pattern with a majority of today’s new releases. Either way, I give it a giant two thumbs up.
Starring: Rosamund Pike, Tom Cruise, Jai Courtney
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Written by: Christopher McQuarrie
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish, French, Portuguese DD 5.1
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Runtime: 130 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: May 7th, 2013
Buy Jack Reacher Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It
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