Tom Cruise has one shot to win fans over with his new action franchise — and based on the reviews for "Jack Reacher," it appears that his mission is very possible.
Director Christopher McQuarrie's adaptation of the Lee Childs novel series, "Jack Reacher," hits theaters Friday (December 21), putting Cruise back in the hot seat as an action hero on the run, with an unlikely villain in the form of documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog. Both Cruise and Herzog have received mostly high marks for their work on the film, but some critics have taken issue with the familiarity of Cruise's recent performances.
Read on for our round-up of "Jack Reacher" reviews.
"Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie and adapted from 'One Shot,' the ninth in Lee Child's series of macho best sellers, 'Jack Reacher' brings its hero to Pittsburgh, where a sniper has just shot down five innocent people, including a nanny accompanying a small child, in broad daylight. The suspected shooter (Joseph Sikora) lies in a coma — after scrawling 'Get Jack Reacher' on a pad in lieu of a confession — with a seemingly airtight case against him. Shell casings, fingerprints at the scene, security-camera video, all the usual stuff that disciplined television crime-show viewers will recognize as solid circumstantial evidence. But the man's lawyer, Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), hires Reacher anyway, possibly because she thinks he might keep her client off death row, and possibly because she, like every other woman in (and presumably beyond) the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is made weak in the knees by Reacher's off-the-charts sexual magnetism." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"His Reacher is like every other character Cruise has ever played: Tough, cocky, and the smartest guy in the room. It's the Tom Cruise paradox; he's a great actor who's stopped acting. He can't vanish into a role, but then he doesn't have to. Audiences show up to his films just to see his latest ass-kicking adventure, which makes Cruise the inverse James Bond — instead of different actors playing the same character, he's one actor who plays the same character under a dozen different names. You could pretend his entire last decade onscreen is just Ethan Hunt going deep undercover to save the day." — Amy Nicholson, Movieline.com
From Page to Screen
"You can join the bitch squad and complain that five-foot-seven Tom Cruise has no business playing Jack Reacher, the six-five, 250-pound bruiser of an ex-military cop who walks tall and carries a big grudge against authority in Lee Child's novels (17 to date). Or you can let the physical stuff go and admit that Cruise is good in the role, damn good. At 50, Cruise has a physical dexterity that makes you believe he can mix it up with five guys in a fight scene, take his lumps and still win. Cruise also catches the mental dexterity that puts Reacher ahead of his enemies as he drifts around the country finding trouble." — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Looming literally in the shadows, with just two scenes in the whole film, is documentarian Werner Herzog as the villain Zec, a survivor of a Siberian gulag who chewed off his own fingers when they were dying of frostbite. Zec is exactly the bad guy you want Herzog to play, with delicious lines ('Did I have a knife in Siberia?') and enough menace in his one functioning to chill your blood. It's criminal that Zec is such a small part of the film, but that might be the price paid by a star vehicle — if Herzog were around too much more, Cruise would definitely no longer be the main attraction." — Katey Rich, CinemaBlend.com
The Final Word
"The film moves at a clip, and its relatively modest scale actually works in its favor. It all feels lean and mean, and it ends on a note that suggests this is just one chapter in a larger story. I'll be curious to see if mainstream audiences get onboard with something like this at Christmas, but if they do, I'd love to see new Reacher films every few years. Cruise may not be the same size as the Reacher of the novels, but this is every bit as entertaining as any fan of the character could hope." — Drew McWeeny, HitFix.com
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