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Tom Cruise's "Reacher" Takes on China

2013-02-20 15:04:57        Global Times

A poster of the movie. [Photo: douban]

Hitting theaters in China on February 16, at the tail end of the Spring Festival, was Tom Cruise reprising his macho man role in action movie Jack Reacher.

Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the film is based on the novel One Shot by British writer Lee Child, the ninth of 17 novels all starring American ex-military cop Jack Reacher.

The opening sequence unfolds wordlessly and somberly: a man parks his white van across from Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium, dutifully pays for the meter, then pulls out a gun. He fires and shoots five victims, swiftly and seemingly at random. Due to this chilling scene, the film's original release date was postponed in light of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary massacre that took place in the US in December.

The assassin is not meticulous, though. Leaving behind his fingerprint on the quarter he uses for the meter, police catch James Barr (Joseph Sikora) when the prints are scanned and identified in the system. Cops corner Barr to confess, as all evidence points to one conclusion. But instead, Barr writes out a request: "Get Jack Reacher."

This Reacher, as police investigators say, lives now as a ghost, with no license, no credit cards, no P.O. box, no e-mail, basically "nothing." Reacher was however, at one point in his career, a brilliant investigator who attended the illustrious West Point.

The protagonist, played by Cruise, is reminiscent of the James Bond seen in the latest Skyfall, shakily emerging out of a self-imposed exile to solve a case. There is no need for police to beckon him in; Reacher instead shows up at headquarters after seeing the incident on the news.

How Reacher relates to Barr and the motives behind the crimes are all revealed in due time. Reacher, meanwhile, in his quest to find the truth, is aided by pretty attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), who is defending Barr.

Keep an eye out for a cameo by German filmmaker Warner Herzog, who makes brief but chilling appearances as the evil Russian villain, Zec. Other antagonists, however, are more goofy, packing more comedy than physical punch. In one scene, the bad guy accidentally knocks out his partner with a bat on his way to attack Reacher.

It's hard to believe that Cruise is 50. He looks good - and he gets a chance to show this off in a shot with the title character buff and topless, changing out of his only outfit.

Though Cruise is perhaps best remembered for his role as Ethan Hunt in the hit franchise Mission: Impossible, the Hollywood Reporter writes that Jack Reacher is unlikely to continue the life the other thriller franchise saw. The film, which cost $60 million, took in $153 million since January 2013 - modestly successful, but falling short of expectations. That is, unless the film achieves in Asian markets what it didn't in the West. As films that sink or merely float in the West do remarkably well here - think the 3D rendition of Titanic - fans rooting for Cruise may be in luck of seeing more.

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