Early JACK REACHER Reviews Praise the Action, Direction and Casting of Werner Herzog as the Villain, Mostly Positive Reactions for Tom Cruise

     December 10, 2012


Some early reviews for writer/director Christopher McQuarrie’s Jack Reacher are now available, with a consensus praising the film’s action sequences and pacing, as well as McQuarrie’s capable direction. Werner Herzog’s rare performance as the villain was also lauded across the board, while Tom Cruise’s role as the titular tough guy hit home with a majority of viewers. Fans of the Lee Child source novels were more critical of Cruise playing the 6’5” enforcer, but appeared to be won over by his on-screen intensity. The film also drew a number of comparisons to classics like Dirty Harry, Bullitt and The Outlaw Josey Wales.

Jack Reacher, also starring Robert Duvall, Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo, opens December 21st. Hit the jump to read some of the early reviews and reactions.

tom-cruise-robert-duvall-jack-reacherLet’s take a look at some of the early domestic reviews of Jack Reacher. Be sure to click on the links in order to read the full reviews. First up, THR, who say:

“Tom Cruise is in fine form as mysterious tough guy Jack Reacher…Cruise might not be the 6-foot-5 rock described in the books, but he makes the title role fit him like a latex glove in a winning turn that could spawn a popular new franchise for the star, if public reaction to Christopher McQuarrie’s film is as strong as its fun quotient warrants.”

The review goes on to address the simple, yet solid plot of Jack Reacher:

“While the plot is not complex — it’s simplicity itself compared to McQuarrie’s labyrinthine classic The Usual Suspects — it nonetheless provides the tasty satisfactions of sturdy mystery thrillers of yore, in which you know things are not what they appear and you’re happy to be led by a capable expert through a maze of obstacles and suspicious characters to a satisfying denouement.”

Since Jack Reacher is a good old-fashioned action movie, THR also comments as such:

“…Cruise puts on an impressive show of quite credible mano a mano skills, which, refreshingly, are not edited in a flurry of cuts designed to obscure either an aging star’s inadequacy or the participation of a stunt double…Another action sequence that delivers the goods and doesn’t cheat is an extended nocturnal car chase through Pittsburgh streets that harks back to the propulsive realism of Bullitt andThe French Connection days; it’s no coincidence that the car Reacher drives is a 1970 Chevy Chevelle.”

jack-reacher-tom-cruise-1We’ll leave the THR review with a note on the film’s pacing and direction by McQuarrie:

“The writer-director, whose behind-the-camera skills have jumped considerably since his debut on The Way of the Gun a dozen years ago, delivers the narrative and the visuals with clarity, dispatch and style, aided greatly by Caleb Deschanel’s bracingly sharp cinematography, Jim Bissell’s nuanced production design and on-the-mark editing by Kevin Stitt that never calls attention to itself and helps 130 minutes go by in what feels like less than two hours.”

Total Film was also on board with THR, giving Jack Reacher four out of five stars and calling the film:

“A superior thriller, with Cruise and McQuarrie slotting together like a bullet in a clip. Like Reacher on the firing range, the aim isn’t always true – but the misses are fractional.”

They also praise Cruise’s performance as an under-sized actor filling the some big shoes:

“As for Cruise, he may be shorter than the 6ft 5in Reacher of Child’s books – a topic that vexed some fans – but that doesn’t deter from one of his most intense, determined performances in recent memory…From buzzing around town in a red Chevy muscle car to beating up a squadron of guys in a bar brawl, it’s Cruise at his most rough-hewn…”

Variety, however, wasn’t quite on board with Cruise as the title character:

“Reacher is a brawny action figure whose exploits would have been a good fit for the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone back in the day, but feel less fun when delegated to a leading man like Tom Cruise. The star is too charismatic to play someone so cold-blooded, and his fans likely won’t appreciate the stretch.”

jack-reacher-tom-cruiseThe review goes on to say that Cruise:

“…comes across as more of a weary boy scout, snuffing much of the energy that makes him so appealing. Whereas the hyperkinetic actor looks best on the run, Reacher is a slow-moving, six-and-a-half-foot enforcer — the kind of guy Cruise should be outwitting, not playing.”

Though they do praise Herzog’s work and the action throughout the film:

“…behind this particular scheme lurks a wonderfully evil Werner Herzog, whose rare acting role more than justifies the price of admission for fans of the heavily accented director…The setup may be clunky and the character a cliche, but the film looks terrific (courtesy of d.p. Caleb Deschanel), and somewhat redeems its silliness through action, featuring several satisfying hand-to-hand altercations, a tense car chase and a well-staged climactic shootout…”

The Variety review also points out that the Child books are incredibly violent and gratuitous, characteristics that are hamstrung by the film’s PG-13 rating.

Let’s take a look at some of the reactions to early screenings via Twitter:

Well done sir @tomcruise#jackreacher Laughed more than I thought I would! You definitively keep the action going; kudos to Duvall too!
Amazing conversation with @TomCruise tonight at the #JackReacher premiere, maximum respect for him and a fabulous film!
Had fun representin’ for the boy at the London #JackReacher premiere. Go see it y’all! It’s brilliant! pic.twitter.com/vvrmWusa
#JackReacher is a great film. @TomCruise was brilliant. Surprisingly funny and very violent. Worth a watch if you like that type of thing.
Gary Mancini ‏@Indiana_
@TomCruise#JackReacher was awesome. One of the best action films in years. Highly recommended! Well done to all involved #JackReacherUK

Be sure to check the film out and decide for yourself with Jack Reacher debuts December 21st.

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