With the Sandy Hook mass shooting still fresh in our minds, the opening scene of the new Mystery/Thriller “Jack Reacher” may prove difficult to watch for some. When a lone gunmen publicly targets and executes six seemingly random strangers, the country is stunned. It isn’t long before local law enforcement agencies pick up the trail of this shooter and bring him into custody. Six shots. Five dead. One heartland city thrown into a state of terror. But within hours the cops have it solved: a slam-dunk case. Except for one thing. The accused man says: You got the wrong guy. This so called murderer is identified as James Barr. Barr is given two options: life in prison or the death penalty. Only one man sees fit to bring true justice to this Lee Harvey Oswald wannabe, Jack Reacher. Reacher is a man with nothing to lose, a drifter with ties to nothing and no one.
As irony would have it, this mass murderer has also asked for the help of Jack Reacher, by name. This raises the attention of several Pittsburgh city officials, namely the District Attorney. When he gets into town and makes his presence known, Reacher instantly falls under the watchful eye of every lawful agent in the city: cops, detectives, lawyers, etc. Bringing to this shooter the justice he deserves won’t be as easy as Reacher once hoped. For one reason, James Barr really is innocent.
So far I’m sure the plot of “Jack Reacher” doesn’t sound too far off from any normal episode of “CSI” of “Law and Order”. Stay with me please. Slowly the plot of Jack Reacher’s world becomes more intricate and we discover that James Barr has been expertly framed. Framed for what reason? In Operation Desert Storm, Barr trained as an American Army Sniper. After his tour of duty, Barr was convicted of a crime similar to the act that he has been framed for. He got off before, because the people he killed were actually guilty of a heinous crime. During that time, Reacher served as a military police officer and was the man responsible for convicting Barr. Given the wealth of evidence stacked against Barr this time, the odds are not in his favor. Reacher is convinced that Barr is innocent, but can he prove it?
The film “Jack Reacher” is a lot more kinetic and refreshing than it sounds. It hosts some fine acting and a few great action sequences. Now I may have said this before when I reviewed the film “Drive”, but “Jack Reacher” has one of the best car chases since the 1971 film “The French Connection”. Based on the novel One Shot by Author Lee Child, the character of Jack Reacher won’t be as huge a first impression to loyal fans as it was to me as well as other newcomers to the film adaptation. Despite initial concerns made by fans, “Jack Reacher” is great old school action dynamite. We may have the beginnings of a brand new franchise on our hands.
Having no first hand knowledge of the of the novel’s representation of the material and subject matter portrayed in this film; I can’t say with one hundred percent certainty that how good of an adaptation of Lee Child’s source material. If I had to make a guess however, I would say that it is very well done. Before seeing this film, I had it brought to my attention that Tom Cruise doesn’t match at all to what Lee Child had written in his book, in appearance. In attitude, Cruise is a shoein to win Most Badass Character of the Year. It feels like Cruise’s whole career is mirrored by this one character and it shows. He inhabits the character of Reacher effortlessly and it is an awesome force to be reckoned with.