Based on the Lee Child novel One Shot, Jack Reacher hits the ground running. A man drives to a parking deck overlooking the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh, loads a sniper rifle with handmade bullets, and kills five people walking along the riverbank. The cops arrest James Barr (Joseph Sikora), a solider with a violent history. The suspect informs investigators, “Get Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise),” a former U.S. Army Military Police Corps officer, who has his own concerns about the man in custody.
The cops arrest James Barr (Joseph Sikora), a former soldier with a violent streak, known to Reacher. The film doesn’t leave much doubt that Barr is guilty of the crime. The story begins taking a series of twists and turns when Barr’s defense attorney, Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), hires Reacher as her investigator despite her District Attorney father’s (Richard Jenkins) warning that the case will ruin her career. Skeptical at first, Reacher knows firsthand the viciousness Barr is capable of. Helen urges him to find out more; Reacher consents to help out only after she agrees to meet with the families of the riverbank tragedy. As Reacher and Rodin investigate, they stumble into a web of corruption that goes far beyond James Barr.
Some fans expressed concern about the casting of Tom Cruise as Reacher—in Child’s novels he’s a rather big man, 250 pounds and intimidating, something Cruise certainly isn’t. Nonetheless, Tom does a fine job, using his leading man swagger, impressive physical skills to keep things moving. Director Christopher McQuarrie, who also wrote the screenplay, blends criminal procedure, drama, and action to deliver as genuinely exciting experience. He is assisted by the Lee Child’s basic story is tailor made for the big screen.
While none of the characters are what you could consider multi-dimensional, their slow development works to the film’s advantage. While we’re watching Jack Reacher methodically put together the pieces of the conspiracy, we’re also learning more about him. Reacher begins the film as little more than an enigma, and the slow build of his character adds to the tension of the film, and makes the prospect of a sequel all the more interesting.
Paramount has put out some excellent Blu-rays, and Jack Reacher is no exception. Shot on 35 mm stock, and framed in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer has a nice layer of light film grain throughout. Detail is top-notch; close-ups reveal even the smallest of facial details, and the lines, creases, etc. on various props. Image clarity is wonderful, as is color saturation. This transfer really leaves nothing to complain about.
The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is also outstanding, providing an immersive, clear experience. Every sound, from the quietest of voices to the loudest of gunshots is clear as a Ambient effects, are well spresd throughout the soundstage, and dialogue is crystal clear. All channels are clearly and impressively involved throughout the film.
French, Spanish and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks are also available, as are English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
Paramount has released Jack Reacher as a “Combo Pack.” The two-disc set includes the Blu-ray, a DVD copy of the film and codes to redeem iTunes-compatible and UltraViolet digital copies. Paramount also includes a $10 Ticketmaster sports ticket coupon and a code to access the first chapter of Child’s upcoming novel. The disc includes the following special features:
- Commentary by Director Christopher McQuarrie and Actor Tom Cruise: In this rather interesting commentary, McQuarrie and Cruise discuss the score, performances, editing, pacing, technical aspects, differences between the film and the book, the cast, and more.
- Commentary by Composer Joe Kraemer: Kramer discusses his work a little bit, but much of the track is dominated by an isolated score presentation. It’s presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
- When the Man Comes Around (HD, 26:49): Cast and crew discuss adapting One Shot, casting Tom Cruise, character traits, receiving Lee Child’s blessing, Lee Child’s cameo in the film, and shooting the film’s climax.
- You Do Not Mess with Jack Reacher: Combat & Weapons (HD, 26:49) Despite the title, this feature is a discussion of the film’s action sequences.
- The Reacher Phenomenon (HD, 11:10): Author Lee Child discusses what makes the Reacher character unique, the character’s genesis, the series’ chronology, his writing process, and his fan base.
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