[img]http://www.customdvd.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26090&d=1364293933&thumb=1[/img]Releasing Studio: Paramount
Disc/Transfer Information: Region 1; Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Running Time: 130 Minutes
Tested Audio Track: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring Cast: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog, Jai Courtney, Robert Duvall, Joseph Sikora
THE LAW HAS LIMITS. HE DOES NOT.
Boy, what another disappointment this was. After seeing the hyper-kinetic trailers and teasers for Jack Reacher, which included fast-moving sequences involving Cruise in yet another Mission: Impossible-like butt-kickin’ role in which he appears to be some unstoppable CIA/James Bond type taking out bad guys like we take bags of trash to the street, I was stoked to experience this theatrically or via rental. Of course, like always, the theatrical release came and went and before I knew it I was receiving the standard DVD to review and share my thoughts on. The final product, as what, for some reason, always seems to happen when we’re really anticipating a title, was far more disappointing in my opinion as compared to what was promised. I’ll explain…
First, let me say that I know it seems like an almost oxymoron-like standpoint, but I actually like Cruise in these “action hero” roles; you wouldn’t think he would work, at all, in these leads, but for whatever reason, he seems to kick butt with the best of ‘em up on the big screen when he’s portraying these secret spy/highly trained operative types a la Mission: Impossible, and it seemed from the first trailers for Jack Reacher, he was again slipping into the point-and-punch role of a rogue operative gone nuts, exhibiting incredible martial arts-like fighting skills in which he completely immobilizes his targets. And, like the aforementioned Mission: Impossible franchise films, from what I could tell from the trailers, Cruise was just going to work here. However, something went wrong after almost an hour of watching this went by and I found myself entwined in some sort of “lawyer drama-meets-brief-action-sequences” plot that didn’t really deliver what the trailers teased at (can we say Iron Man 3?)
Based on the novel One Shot by Lee Child, Jack Reacher opens with a sequence depicting a lone sniper in Pennsylvania taking shots at what appears to be five random people on the other side of a river just off a ball park. The sniper’s identity is exposed to us, the viewers, as being a rugged, Bane-from-Dark Knight Rises-looking tough guy named “Charlie” (Jai Courtney)…but all is not what it seems. Planting the fingerprints of an ex-army sniper named Barr (Joseph Sikora), Charlie disappears and Barr is brought in by Pennsylvania police where he refuses to speak but instead writes down one message about locating someone named Jack Reacher (Cruise). Cruise’s Reacher character is also ex-army, with some kind of counter-intelligence experience and advanced security training that makes him a physical nightmare for whomever is fateful enough to cross his path. Meanwhile, the gorgeous blonde lawyer taking the case to defend Barr (Rosamund Pike) is in a battle of wits with her own father, the D.A. (Richard Jenkins) and the ace cop he has working the case (David Oyelowo) – until Reacher steps in and is kind of “hired” by Pike to investigate what is really going on here after Reacher explains to her how Barr couldn’t have possibly done this shooting.
Reacher’s investigating leads him to – as it always does in nearly all of these “quasi-dramas” of late – a conspiracy being covered up by the cops and maybe even Pike’s father involving Russian gangsters and a construction empire that was interfered with; somehow, the people killed by sniper Charlie in the opening sequence have ties to possible ways of stopping the money rolling in from these cover ups, from what I gathered, and thus everyone and anyone even willing to get in the way of this scenario is disposed of, usually by Charlie. The whole notion was unnecessary and long-winded, taking us away from what we thought this film was going to be about – Cruise in a lead fighting hero role – and drawing us into a two hour kind of sappy drama involving lawyers, D.A.s, corrupt cops and…oh, you know the script…have any of you seen Broken City?
What was perhaps most disappointing was the lack of actual fighting scenes involving Cruise, in which he gets to show off his particular skill set a la James Bond or even Liam Neeson’s character from Taken – there are a couple of scenes, but not nearly enough based on what the trailers promised, though what scenes did involve Cruise’s Reacher character were exciting and well choreographed. One involves a moment in which Reacher is followed to a bar, where a young girl dressed very provactitavely comes onto him, leading him to be threatened by a group of tough guys who eventually make their way outside of the bar to confront him in a fight. Cruise’s cool, calm approach to giving these guys a “last chance” to walk away was one of the highlights of the entire film, but when the punches start flying and he takes out all five of these muscular dudes, it was pure eye candy. Another sequence towards the end of the film when Reacher tracks a kidnapped Pike to a desolate construction site to confront the Russian boss holding her there (Werner Herzog) and his men, one of which is the Bane character-like Charlie, is the other redeeming moment of the film, as Reacher enlists the help of gun range owner and operator “Cash” (Robert Duvall) to stage a secret attack on the kidnappers from the perimeter of the construction site. Most disappointing about this sequence, though, was the all-too-brief physical confrontation between Reacher and Charlie, of which the film kind of sets up all along the way…Reacher finally takes out all of Herzog’s guys, leaving only Courtney to pretty much do battle with outside the mobile office Pike is being held captive in, and in dropping his gun and rushing Charlie head on to engage in hand-to-hand combat, the two clash and pretty much beat the arm-and-leg-breaking snot out of each other…of course, Reacher gets the upper hand and stomps on Charlie’s broken neck and head like it’s a wet saltine cracker, leaving only the Russian mobster to deal with now. However, before he gets to the old man, we learn of someone else who was in on all of this…and it wasn’t Pike’s father, the D.A., which we’re lead to believe…
Something I noted when watching this final fight sequence between Cruise and Courtney: With the obvious lack of score in the background during this scene and the “grunts” of the two men as they punch each other into cole slaw, it reminded me very much of that first fight scene between Bane and Batman in The Dark Knight Rises…the eerie, tension-building lack of score or effects was really impactful even in Jack Reacher, and it seemed to me that McQuarrie had some inspiration from that film in shooting this last sequence.
Jack Reacher had so much potential, but, like unfortunately so many other films with the same promise on their proverbial shoulders, it fell flat in the end. I really thought this was going to be a Tom Cruise action stunner, with him portraying a character much like Liam Neeson’s in the aforementioned Taken films, using advanced martial arts and defense training to take out enemies left and right; what we got was a rather slow-moving yarn involving a beautiful lawyer and Cruise’s character’s involvement in assisting her prove her client didn’t kill those people in the sniper attack. But the whole thing came off as kind of corny and boring; not what I expected, at all.
[img]http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQAeFmNMIq1R_1f5NznEUDHS3MaQ7Qqn-shHzIspx0XUwv1rOiemD9HpWjvUw[/img]VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC LOOK?
Paramount presents Jack Reacher on standard DVD in a rather clean 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, and while it’s by no means a Blu-ray challenger, the picture quality got the job done. I experienced no compression noise and blacks were pretty spot-on in terms of shadow detail and bleeding. The image as a whole was on the soft side, but this could have easily been due to the noise reduction engaged in both my display and Blu-ray player (at low levels on both) – or it may have been a creative decision on the filmmakers’ part. Upconverted to 1080p via my OPPO BDP-83 player, Jack Reacher was about as satisfying as a current release on DVD could be.
[img]http://daily.greencine.com/Jack-Reacher-Rosamund-Pike-2012-film.jpg[/img]AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC SOUND?
The standard English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix accompanying Jack Reacher on DVD was on par with the video, and also got the job done. While a bit hushed and subdued in the dialogue, which required some master volume goosing, the entire track was engaging and aggressive when called upon – the last action sequence of the film in particular exhibited some excellent “ping-ponging” from bullets across the entire soundstage as Cruise, Duvall and Courtney trade machine gun fire outside the construction site. As machine gun fire blasts from all channels, the ricocheting effects were uncomfortably real on this soundtrack as bullet shells drop, fling and ping off of twisted metal in this construction boneyard.
This was disappointing for me, but, as always, your mileage may vary. Jack Reacher will be yet another in a long line of titles I simply don’t see me putting on my collection shelf with regard to DVD or Blu-ray; if you’ve seen this, I’d like to hear from you, so let’s discuss Jack Reacher, fellow Shacksters!