Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guest Blog: JACK REACHER (movie) by C.J. Henderson

Much has been blogged and commented upon about the soon-to-be released JACK REACHER movie starring Tom Cruise. Much of it not very flattering, mostly due to the casting of Cruise in the title — and all without actually having seen the film.
I read some of the early Reacher books and liked them well enough, but for some reason never stuck with them. I've seen a few Tom Cruise movies that I liked, a few I didn't, and a whole bunch that I never bothered checking out. So I've got no horse in the race. If the movie is good, it's good — Li'l Tommy's height notwithstanding. It is, after all, possible for the right actor to "act big" … anybody remember a fella by the name of Alan Ladd?
So when my friend C.J. Henderson recently saw a screening of JACK REACHER and wrote the following review, I thought it made an intriguing contrast to all that previously has only been speculation compared to the critique of somebody who's actually seen the finished product.
Here's what Chris has to say:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is to announce that I received my Christmas present early this year. This night, in fact, when I saw the screening of "Jack Reacher" the first good novel that has been correctly adapted by Hollywood in years. The movie is based on British author Lee Child's book, "One Shot," one of the novels in his Jack Reacher adventure/thriller series. Let me just say this up front, that one of his books not only made it to the screen, but in such good condition, is the miracle of the ages. I will, or course, explain. But right now, let's get to …
 The story: The place is downtown Pittsburgh. For some unknown reason, a sharp-shooting assassin murders five people in cold blood in broad daylight. Thanks to expert police work, a suspect is named and captured in record time. The man is given a choice: confess, and get a life sentence, or cost the city the expense of a trial and assure himself of getting the death penalty. Taking the papers he has been handed, the man scrawls across them in large letters--GET JACK REACHER.
 This confuses the authorities because no one knows who this Reacher is. Oh, they find out who he was quickly enough. He was a military policeman with an excellent record. But, for the preceding two years since he left the Army he has been completely off the grid. No phone, utility bills, screen name--nothing. Then, with no idea how to find Reacher (Tom Cruise), suddenly  he walks in the door having come to see them.
 What unfolds from that point on is a complex game filled with multiple layers of lies and misdirection. It would be practically criminal for any reviewer to give away more of the plot. And, there is no need. One could only ruin for an audience the overwhelmingly terrific experience ahead of them.
 This is top-flight entertainment. Based on one hell of a book, the filmmakers have managed to make one hell of a movie. They did this mainly by not mucking around with what was already an incredibly tight, tremendously nuanced story. The film, which just tops two hours, is the tensest, most heart-pounding film made since the turn of the century.
 Now-a-days, Hollywood doesn't have faith in this kind of story. The film is not filled with explosions. It has action, but it has no hero--at least, not the kind of "hero" that the film industry understands. The industry likes cookie-cutter heroics, the kind of asinine crap Stallone and his ever-increasing crew of knuckleheads are making fun of in his remorselessly trivial "Expendables" series.
 Reacher is not that kind of character. Most of the time, when someone in a movie talks about playing by their own rules, they're talking about the usual paint-by-the-numbers bilge that we'll most likely see highlighted in Schwarzenegger's grand return to the screen. Reacher is more than a mere refreshing breath of air. He is a return to the kind of character you would think that only a young Clint Eastwood, or Lee Marvin, possibly, might be able to portray with any conviction. That Tom Cruise was able to pull this off so successfully is, to myself at least, practically unbelievable.
 I would like to simply give him the credit for a fantastic performance and let it go at that. However, it would remiss of me to not mention that if he did have any help, it might have been from the film's director, Christopher McQuarrie, who previously brought us "The Usual Suspects." Taking that into consideration does help explain the movie's unrelenting tension level. On the other hand, McQuarrie also brought us "Valkyrie," another Tom Cruise vehicle in which the star did not so much stand out as he did stand around.
 So, credit where credit is due, this is a terrific film. First because there was an incredible book to adapt, and second because when he wants to be, Tom Cruise can rise to the occasion and be one of the best actors working today.
 As for everything else, the film has all other bases covered. There is nothing overly sensational about the cinematography, editing, special effects, costuming, et cetera. Everything else works fine, and helps keep the movie barreling along to its conclusion.
 This may or may not be a see-in-the-theater film for you, but if you like action, brutal fight scenes, intelligent characters, a story with evil in it that is as realistic as possible, and a main character like you've never seen before, this is the holiday picture for you. There is no sex, the usual cursing is held to an utter minimum, and the overall effect is fantastic. See it at home if you have to, but this is one definitely worth seeing.
 Our final word: 5 stars out of 5.

In addition to writing reviews for Black Cat Media and other outlets, C.J. Henderson is a prolific and popular author who writes in many genres. He's written extensively in the Lovecraft mythos, has recently written the first Spider novel in 65 years, has done a number of stories and novels featuring Kolchak: The Night Stalker, etc. He also does the Jack Hagee, hardboiled PI series; as well as the Teddy London, occult detective series.


Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

Dosti said...

Really waste of time. This movie doesn't involve the viewer into it's complexities. The ending is weak. If you want a real challenge read Stranger's Paradox. Download this ebook free (Coupon Code QW33J) at Smashwords (deactivate adult filter) Select buy> register> go to checkout> and enter the coupon code.

Jack Reacher said...

Oh pipe down Dosti lol. Surely you didn't expect the movie to be as good as the book? they rarely are - but with that said, Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise was a more than adequate action thriller. I recommend it - but I recommend Lee Child's books much, much more.