With the release of the second Jack Reacher trailer, I can’t help but voice the disappointment felt by Lee Child fans. However, not all are aware of the character’s origin, and therefore, there are two perspectives in which we can analyze these trailers. There are those of us familiar with Lee Child’s work, and those who are not.
For those not familiar with Lee Child, he is the author of a gritty crime series of novels featuring Jack Reacher. The character was first introduced in 1997’s Killing Floor and has since been the main character of 17 Child novels. To the audience who has not read any of these books, I am sure the trailer looks like an awesome new action suspense film starring the well defined Tom Cruise. Regardless of the shenanigans we hear about in his personal life, Cruise has still earned a prominent title as an action star. The Mission Impossible franchise alone has been met with huge box office support. The fact that the Reacher character resembles his previous role of Ethan Hunt should generate box office support for this title as well.
The set up seems very neo-noir in which we have a, “Who done it?” sequence. We are also flashed with some clips of Reacher kicking a little butt, and taking a few names. It was also entertaining to see how Reacher gets the fuzz off of his tail and blends into the crowd next to what I am calling a Morgan Freeman look-alike. All in all, the film appears to be following 2005’s One Shot close enough. The general plot is that a man is arrested for the murders of five people killed by an expert sniper. He asks that they “Get Jack Reacher.” Reacher shows up but his intention is to prove the man’s guilt, not innocence. As cliché as it can get, Reacher gets more than he bargained for.
Now to voice the opinion of disappointed Child fans. Child is detailed and meticulous in his writing. He has spent over fifteen years developing this character over the course of seventeen novels. One Shot is the ninth of the seventeen. So why now? Why One Shot? Most importantly, why on Earth was Tom Cruise cast as Jack Reacher? Jack Reacher, described as being 6’5 somewhere between 210 to 250 pounds, is in no way resembled by Tom Cruise.
Amid the disappointment, I was laughing out loud while watching these trailers considering how many times Cruise is filmed from low angles to give the illusion of height. All things considered, any one of the previous cast choices would have sufficed. Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, Vince Vaughn, Jamie Foxx, and Will Smith were all considered for the role. With the selection of Cruise, I can’t help but feel this film is poorly managed and doomed from the start. Though the PG-13 rating should accommodate a greater audience, true fans will be disappointed that the violence described in the books will not be present in the film.
Reacher is effective not only due to his cunning prowess, but also, his sheer intimidation of size and stature. Cruise fails to demonstrate this intimidation what so ever. Reacher is not supposed to be a character that you under estimated, and later wished you hadn’t messed with him. He is supposed to be a guy that if you saw on the street, you might lower your head a bit when you walk past to make sure you avoid eye contact. Ultimately, I feel mis-casting will lead to the demise of this film. It will have its initial box office splurge with those unaware of previous novels but ultimately, I do not expect this film to have any lasting value.