Based on Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, Jack Reacher follows the title character (Tom Cruise), a mysterious military investigator, as he reluctantly agrees to look into the murder of several civilians by a skilled sharpshooter. There’s little doubt that filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie, working from his own screenplay, does a superb job of immediately drawing the viewer into the proceedings, as the movie kicks off with a spellbinding (and dialogue-free) stretch revolving around the aforementioned sharpshooter’s attack and the subsequent initial investigation by the authorities. It’s a riveting opening that paves the way for a deliberately-paced yet consistently watchable thriller that benefits substantially from Cruise’s engrossing performance, as the actor effortlessly steps into the shoes of an impressively hardened figure with a propensity for random acts of violence and tough-guy posturing (eg in one of the movie’s more amusing moments, Reacher tells a foe, “I mean to beat you to death and drink your blood from a boot.”) McQuarrie’s leisurely modus operandi results in a midsection that does, admittedly, feel somewhat padded-out, with the procedural-like bent of the narrative ensuring that Jack Reacher, at times, resembles the pilot episode of a new cop show on TNT. And although the protracted climax isn’t quite as riveting as one might’ve hoped, Jack Reacher is, in the end, a better-than-average modern-day thriller that hopefully marks the start of a promising new series.
*** out of ****