Jack Reacher or Frisky Business

Ash Isaac

Jack Reacher is the story of a reluctant hero, misunderstood and unappreciated in his own time, but destined to become the savior of the world from the hordes of aliens plotting to enslave the Earth’s population. But enough about Scientology. There’s no aliens in this film, real or otherwise, just a bunch of nasty humans doing nasty human things to one another and Tom Cruise playing the 6”5 ex-Military Policeman trying to stop them all. What could possibly go wrong?

Jack Reacher is the ultimate misanthrope. He lives a solitary, drifter’s life, wandering across the United States with no real sense or direction at all. He has no passport. He has no social security number. He only has one set of clothes. He is what the ASOS marketing team would call, ‘Patient Zero’. Having just the one shirt affords the opportunity for Tom to show off his age-defying 50 year old abs that are starting to look only slightly leathery.

What else does one need to know about Jack Reacher? Well, through the ever informative use of a montage that involves a succession of fawning women gazing up adoringly at the taciturn Reacher, we discover that not only is he a formidable detective and military strategist, but also that he’s damn hot. Irresistible, one might say. He is the white version of Shaft and no-one understands him but his woman.

The woman in this case is sparky lawyer, Helen Rodin, played by Rosamund Pike although the bulk of the role is actually devoted to Rosamund Pike’s cleavage with numerous gratuitous shots of her décolletage interspersed amidst the rest of the action. Rodin is the defence attorney for James Barr, a former US Army sniper on trial for the cold-blooded, long range execution of several seemingly random victims. Barr has just one message for his lawyer: Get Jack Reacher.

And, rather like the Bat-signal being flashed up into the sky, the mere utterance of those three little words is enough to have the reclusive Reacher turn up with his one set of clothes, glint in his eye and chip on his shoulder. Along with every other fictional detective and crimefighter he has heard of Occam’s Razor – the principle that the simplest explanation is most likely correct one. Thus, James Barr, the psychotic sharpshooter would indeed be guilty of the heinous crimes of which he is accused. Thankfully, along with every other fictional detective and crimefighter, Reacher takes no notice of Occam’s Razor, instead opting to believe that the most unlikely and farfetched explanation is correct which prompts him to uncover a vast criminal conspiracy at the root of the spree killings.

The kingpin of said criminal cabal is called ‘The Zec’ or ‘The Prisoner’ who gained his supervillain name by surviving in one of Russia’s toughest prisons by chewing his own fingers off. Bear Grylls, eat your heart out. Seriously, eat your heart out. Needless to say, the Zec doesn’t take kindly to Reacher treading on his remaining digits and sends a succession of thugs and hitmen, each more incompetent than the previous set, to try to beat some sense into Reacher. Well, Reacher don’t scare so easily, and doles out some sense-beating of his own.

In fact, when it comes to the casual dispensation of violence, Reacher proves himself more than just a dab hand. Bats, knives, guns, a bathtub, he can turn anything within reach into a deadly weapon. His most lethal tool, of course, is that devastatingly toothy smile that he reserves for the most serious of miscreants. In no time at all, Reacher has tracked the conspiracy to its source and, rather than indulge in due process, habeas corpus or any of those other ludicrous civil rights, he decides to execute the Zec and all his henchmen thus proving that anyone who doesn’t believe in capital punishment is just a big sissy.

Fans of the Reacher books have protested about the casting of Cruise as the monolithic, saturnine lawman and it’s difficult to imagine this sexed-up, turbo-charged film version was exactly what author Lee Child had in mind when drawing up his most famous creation. On the Chuck Norris Badass scale Reacher ranks a solid 7. He loses points because even though he professes to hate everyone else, he just loves himself way too much.

About Ash Isaac

I am a contributor of questionable taste, origin and talent. My one claim to fame is that I was born in the same hospital as Cliff Richard. I am still in possession of my soul unlike Sir Cliff who sold his to Samael the Desolate in return for eternal youth and the friendship of Sue Barker.