“”Jack Reacher” is a competent thriller, held back by the ego of its lead.”
Christopher McQuarrie‘s “Jack Reacher” (based on the books by Lee Child) isn’t a bad movie by any stretch. It’s well-done and surprisingly clever at times. It also has some great fight scenes, though the film has a big problem.
And it’s called Tom Cruise.
Which isn’t to say that his performance is a bad one. Quite the contrary, it’s not great, but it’s more than acceptable.
Though among people familiar with the character of Jack Reacher, the casting of Cruise left a bad taste in their collective mouths. For instance, while I haven’t read any of the novels, the character is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 220 and 250 pounds.
Tom Cruise is 5 foot 7 inches tall, and I feel reasonably confident in saying that he doesn’t weigh 180 pounds, never mind 200.
Which is a problem because the the character is supposed to be physically intimidating. What’s intimidating about Cruise is his celebrity, not his physicality (probably not a coincidence that he’s surrounded by relatively short people in the movie). What’s interesting to me is that Jason Statham is an inch shorter than Cruise, but feels larger, possibly because he has an intensity about him that Cruise lacks.
And while Tom Cruise never seems to inhabit the roles he plays – which isn’t to say that he’s not interesting to watch at times – only that he doesn’t seem to have much in the way of range. He’s always “Tom Cruise acting as whomever,” and seems to never allow himself to inhabit a role (perhaps not a bad thing, considering how successful he’s been).
This means that he more often than not sticks out, when he should instead vanish.
And you’ll notice, prior to now, that I haven’t mentioned Scientology. It’s a goofy religion (most are, which is where faith comes in), which I would like to not even care about, but Cruise himself doesn’t let me.
Tom Cruise is listed as a producer on “Jack Reacher,” and could have opted for an actor that’s closer to Reacher’s physical proportions, but – I assume – he chose not to.
Which is his right, especially since involved with financing it, but to disregard something so crucial to this character as his physical dimensions implies an ego that perhaps needed to be tamped down.