Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Jack Reacher

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some drug material
Profanity:Some strong language, one f-word
Nudity/Sex:Scanty lingerie, sexual references
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, drug dealing and drug use
Violence/Scariness:Extended action-style violence with brutal fight scenes, sniper kills random innocent people, shoot-outs
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date:May 14, 2013

Jack Reacher, the hero of a series of books by Lee Child, is as much an idealized fantasy figure as any adorkable chick-lit single girl rocking her Jimmy Choos and self-deprecating quips until Mr. Perfect puts a ring on it.  The testosterone version has the observational and analytic skills of Sherlock Holmes, the “who was that masked man” righting-wrongs-and-leaving-town career path of the Lone Ranger, and the single-minded devotion to righteous indignation firepower of Rambo, and he will never, ever, ever put a ring on anyone.

Reacher is ex-military, and ex-pretty much everything else.  He has no strings, no relationships, no commitments — also, no id, no phone, no home, and no baggage, in both the literal and metaphorical sense.  When he needs to change clothes, he picks up something at Goodwill and throws away whatever he was wearing before.  When he needs a car, he has a very effective way of persuading people to let him drive theirs.  Or, he just takes one.  And he keeps moving.

YouTube Preview Image

In the books, Reacher is 6’5″ and 250 pounds and blond.  But that did not stop Tom Cruise, who is none of those things, from taking the role.  He more than makes up for the lack of physical stature with pure movie star charisma, a fair trade.

The movie is based on Child’s One Shot, written and directed by “The Usual Suspects” screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie. It opens with a scene of a sniper shooting random passers-by, and it is especially jarring when we see him aiming at a child.  I would say that it might have made sense to delay the release of the film because it is unfortunate to have it open a week after the shooting of children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, but it may be that after that horrible tragedy there will never be a good time for a movie that turns carnage into entertainment.  Within the world of the movie, a world people willingly enter because they want to see some guilt-free fights, chases, and shoot-outs, it is reasonably effective.  But if it is harder to enter that world these days, perhaps that is not a bad thing.

Law enforcement tracks down the sniper, a military vet, and the case seems open and shut.  But before he is beaten into a coma by other prisoners, he scrawls “Get Jack Reacher.”  Reacher can’t be contacted, but somehow he knows where he is needed, and he shows up.  The sniper’s lawyer Helen (Rosamund Pike) believes her client is guilty, but wants to do her best to represent him.  It turns out Reacher knew the sniper in Iraq.  He has reason to believe the sniper is guilty.  And, as Reacher tells us, he is not a hero.

Oh, who is he kidding, of course he is.  Surprise!  The case is not as open and shut as we thought.  There are some dreary detours into Helen’s relationship with her father, who happens to be the DA, and to a hideous torture scene with a bad guy known as “The Zec” (Werner Herzog, better known as a director), and a five-on-one bar fight, and than, thankfully, we meet up with Robert Duvall as a ex-Marine shooting range owner.  He is the only one who seems to understand what kind of movie this is, bringing a delicious zest to his scenes that almost make us forget that this is a movie in which a man is asked to bite off his own fingers and everyone seems to speak Russian.

It delivers what it intends to and what fans of the series are looking for.  But I’d say it’s too soon, and maybe it’s never going to be the right time for a mindless shoot-em-up again.

Parents should know that this film includes extensive, brutal and graphic violence including a sniper who kills innocent people and executions, many fights, many guns, car chases and smashes, torture, some disturbing images, characters injured and killed, some strong language (one f-word, crude epithets), drinking, and references to drug use and drug dealing.

Family discussion:  Why does Jack stay on the move?  Did Emerson have a choice?

If you like this, try: the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child



Previous Posts

Lucy and the Box Office: The Good News and the Bad News
Last week, "Lucy" beat "Hercules" at the box office, good news for those who still think that women-led action films can't make money. As blog The Mary Sue put it succinctly: "Today In Female

posted 8:00:04am Aug. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Guardians of the Galaxy
The summer movie you've been waiting for has arrived, a joyous space romp that all but explodes off the screen with lots of action and even more charm. Our recent superheros have been complex, often anguished, even downright tortured. It has been a while since we've had a charming rogue with a ba

posted 5:59:33pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Get on Up
There are a lot of challenges in taking on the life story of James Brown, known variously as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, the Godfather of Soul, Mr. Dynamite and others with vari

posted 5:59:21pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Magic in the Moonlight
Woody Allen's 44th film is an amuse bouche without a meal, a dollop of whipped cream without the dessert underneath.  In last year's film, "Blue Jasmine," the strength of the performances (especially Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett) and the resonance of its Bernie Madoff-ish crossed with "Streetcar Nam

posted 5:58:31pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Behind the Scenes on "Calvary"
Brendan Gleeson gives a magnificent performance as a warm-hearted priest in a sad and damaged world in "Calvary," opening next week across the country.  Here's an exclusive peek behind the scenes, featuring Gleeson and Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies Sister Rose Pacatte. [iframe

posted 3:45:01pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.