"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Jack Reacher

tn_jackreacherJACK REACHER is the latest in a line of movies based on a pulp character using the character’s name as the title and not making enough money to continue as a series like they probly planned (see also JOHN CARTER, ALEX CROSS, PARKER, HITCHCOCK). This one’s specifically from a book called One Shot by Lee Child, ninth in the Reacher series. I don’t know the books, just the complaint by many readers that it’s important for him to be a big intimidating guy and not a little guy in a little leather jacket like Tom Cruise always plays. So this would probly bother me if I had read them.

As a Tom Cruise movie though it’s pretty good, thanks mostly I think to writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (WAY OF THE GUN). He opens with a cinematic punch in the balzac as A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD’s Jai Courtney carefully plans and executes a sniper attack on five innocent people in a park. McQ sticks us with a long rifle-scope-view of people walking through the park, bringing the crosshairs to rest on the heads of children and eldery people, creating a tension between wanting to find out what’ll happen and not wanting to see that happen. Making viewers feel like accomplices. When he does start shooting there are finally cutaways, which I bet is a concession to the PG-13 rating but to be frankly honest I appreciated not having to see the whole thing. What you do see is bad enough. From a distance, bodies falling over, small and pathetic and quiet, not a big bombastic movie moment. Ow, my balls.

mp_jackreacherAfter the deed is done the police pore through the evidence, find a suspect, raid his house, and after a playfully long avoidance of showing his face we see the only thing that we could see after a playfully long avoidance of showing his face – somebody that’s not Jai Courtney. Nor is it the guy who looks like Vin Diesel from the back whose face was playfully avoided at the beginning of FURIOUS 6. No, it’s some guy who didn’t do it (Joseph Sikora), and instead of signing a confession he writes down the name Jack Reacher.

There are some welcome Seagalogical elements to this Reacher character. Before we see him there’s a conversation between the lead detective (David Oyelowo from RED TAILS and THE PAPERBOY) and the district attorney (Richard Jenkins) giving Reacher a solid “Just How Badass Is He?” that includes the old classic that he’s “a ghost,” plus the UNDER SIEGE one where they list all of the different medals he received before he became an ex-military badass. As soon as they finish talking about how you don’t find a guy like that unless he wants you to find him, Reacher walks in to see them.

It turns out Reacher is not a friend of the guy that got framed, he’s an enemy, a drifter who used to be an MP and when he was he busted this particular guy for a similar incident that the guy actually did. But the guy got off and Reacher vowed to come after him if he ever did it again.

Reacher is not a fan of authority figures or social interaction, and he believes the guy is guilty, but he agrees to help the defense (Rosamund Pike) in their investigation. It turns out to be way more of a mystery-solving movie than I expected. Lots of following leads, finding clues, interviewing people, discussing theories, figuring out things nobody else figured out. And since it’s Tom Cruise it’s hard not to think of A FEW GOOD MEN or the Tom Clancy movie he did. So, a badass anti-hero guy combined with more of a lawyer type book sold in airports.

Obviously I prefer the badass part. Like the scene where a bunch of young toughs at a bar try to jump him in the parking lot and he warns them that he’s going to beat them up and exactly how he’s gonna do it and they laugh and then he does it and they look like they’re gonna shit their pants. I know that is a formula scene but it’s one that’s always gonna work for me if they do it well enough. Even when it’s Tom Cruise.

Of course he’s the good guy, but they allow him to be out of line and don’t play it for laughs or anything. There’s this young girl (Alexia Fast) who gets hired to set him up and he comes after her at her job, corners her in a small employee area and threatens her, and you can’t help but feel sorry for her. She doesn’t seem like that bad of a person and she’s obviously in way over her head. (Okay, when he barges his way past her boss that part is played for laughs, and he doesn’t really deserve it either, but it’s kinda funny.)

He also does something pretty weird, he convinces the defense lawyer Helen that she has to go meet the relatives of all the sniper’s victims and hear their stories. I think it’s supposed to convince her of her client’s guilt, but instead it gives him data that his weirdo super detective brain processes into a theory of innocence, and of course creates incredibly awkward situations of her justifiably being chased off people’s property, because what the fuck is she doing there, what a terrible idea, don’t do that, lady. If Jack Reacher said to jump off a bridge would you do it?

I guess Reacher just has some kind of cult leader charisma that makes people do things to please him. I don’t know how else to explain the scene you might’ve seen in the trailer where a chase ends with him abandoning his car and stepping into a crowd of pedestrians. They all see that he’s running from the cops, and instead of running away from him, or narcing him out, or tackling him, or even just ignoring him, they all silently act to hide him. They stand in front of him, act natural, one guy even gives him a baseball hat to wear as a disguise. I know it’s supposed to be a stop-snitching, mistrust-of-authority type of thing but I don’t know, man. When I think about recent cases of fugitives like the Boston bombers or the cop killer cop in California it just doesn’t seem like the way most people react to somebody on the run. Most people think “oh shit, what did this guy do?” before “what can I do to help him get away?”

Oh well, it’s still kinda cool though.

So far McQ gets real good casts in his movies. The dumb lower level thugs seem pretty authentic and then the higher level guys are scary. Courtney is good enough that I bet he’ll do well despite how disappointed we as a nation were in A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. And the most brilliant casting is Werner Herzog as the top of the pyramid bad guy, a total sicko who has survived such horrible shit in the Gulag (the Soviet prison, not the BEYOND THUNDERDOME desert exile) that he considers everybody else to be sissies because he knows they couldn’t handle what he did.

Oh yeah, and Robert Duvall is in there as the old guy who has an instand bond with him because they were both military, and gives him alot of shit ’cause they were in different branches. I guess it’s not instant, he has to demonstrate his sharpshooting skills first. But then they’re buds 4 life.

This is the first movie since I started the ACR system to receive a perfect rating of 5. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best action movie – in fact, I already categorized this as a review of a mystery, not an action movie. But there’s a car chase, a shootout and a couple fights and they’re all shot classically, our viewing unencumbered by modern distractions such as shaky cameras, overediting or closeups. The shots tend to hold pretty long, the camera is pulled far enough back to see whole bodies and see who hit who where.

I really like the car chase, but probly the best action part is when two dudes attack Reacher in a small bathroom. One guy has a baseball bat and the other guy has a crowbar, but because there’s not much space they keep bumping into each other and hitting the walls and stuff, they have trouble getting any clear shots at Reacher. Hey, maybe this is one part where being Cruise-sized is a believable advantage – he ducks into the bath tub for protection.

Anyway, in that fight he does a move that is worthy of special note, and that is using a guy’s head as a weapon. Not a severed head, but he just grabs a guy by the head and then uses the head as a blunt object to smash against the other guy’s head. Not like a Three Stooges move – he does it the same way you would do with a large rock, it just happens to be attached to a body in this case.

There was a great episode of the Creative Screenwriting podcast back when VALKYRIE (which McQuarrie wrote, but Bryan Singer directed) came out. McQuarrie talks about what a great guy he thinks Cruise is and how outraged he was by the way he saw the press treat him during that movie. (I always think about this interview when I hear people talking shit about Cruise.) With that knowledge I’m able to understand the casting better. They obviously love working together. But I think I heard that McQ couldn’t get the movie greenlit without a name as big as Cruise starring, and that seems crazy to me because why did this have to be a $60 million movie? I mean I’m not complaining, it’s real slick and everything, but it seems like we could have more down and dirty movies if the filmatists realized they don’t gotta be a big Hollywood blockbuster. You wanna do a series then make it lower budget, man. You gotta lose that mentality.

Or just do it like this and then do a DTV sequel starring Ray Stevenson.

But I liked JACK REACHER pretty good. On the one hand, I have to admit that it hasn’t really stuck with me that much. On the other hand, it’s a solid, well-directed movie with many great scenes, and even if the mystery gets kinda convoluted (coincidentally like WAY OF THE GUN did, come to think of it) it all comes together in a really cool way at the end. I’m for it.


This entry was posted on Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 at 12:57 am and is filed under Mystery, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

282 Responses to “Jack Reacher”

  1. I agree with you on this movie, Vern. No one seemed to actually go see it, but I watched it when it came out on DVD and I’ve been singing its praises ever since.

    You didn’t talk about the hilarious lines, though. That’s probably the best part of the movie.

    “I need to see something.”

    “How about the inside of an ambulance?”

  2. Yeah I liked it a lot. I’ll be interviewing McQuarrie in a couple weeks, should be interesting. He’s a real fan of old movies, like me: he made the entire cast of “Way of the Gun” watch “Bad Day At Black Rock” before filming began. Huge John Ford fan.

  3. And what do you know, Vern. You got me to comment on your site.

    I feel dirty.

  4. The Continental Op

    June 22nd, 2013 at 2:13 am

    That makes a lot of sense, the filmmaking style is very Sturges, all classical directing and cutting. Really well-made film.

  5. my mom is a big fan of the Lee Child books and she cared nothing about seeing this because, according to her, Tom Cruise in no way resembles the character from the novels to humorous degrees

    when adapting a book into a movie, changes must be made obviously, but it’s a good idea also not to totally alienate the people that did read them

    but even so, maybe I’ll tell her the movie might still be worthwhile

  6. As a fan of the books (I’m pretty sure I’ve read all of them), I must say I was dead against the casting of Cruise as Reacher, since a big part of his character comes from his size and how he people have reacted to / treated him through his life because of it. Also, it is often tied in with how he ends up in the situations – the baddys are going about their business, see this big feller (who is in the area by pure coincidence), assume he is somehow involved, start hassling him, and so on.

    However after seeing the film, I totally revised my opinion. I thought Cruise & McQuarry really nailed the important elements of the character overall; to account for Cruise’s famously diminutive stature I guess they just didn’t reference his size.

    Griff – I would definately recommend your mam to watch it; my mam and dad (who also have read some of the books) had the same concerns about Cruise but ended up enjoying the movie.

    Also, glad to see this get the full 5 on the ACR; it really struck me when I watched it just how easy it was to watch the action bits…a real treat in this day and age.

  7. A young Everett McGill would have been PERFECT as Reacher.

  8. Jeff Goldsmith did a new interview with McQuarrie about JACK REACHER and it’s almost as good as the VALKYRIE one. Check out http://www.theqandapodcast.com.

  9. Thanks for the Goldsmith link, Vern.

  10. Vern – I hate to say this but $60 million in modern Hollywood might as well be labeled a “modest budget” in this era of the $150-250 million blockbusters that come out every few weeks now? Consider how THE PURGE everybody parroted in calling it a “microbudget” picture because it cost $3 million. Remember when 3 millions was just a low budget? Anyway 60 million movie with Tom Cruise, not yet the juggernaut star that he once was but still big overseas….yeah some would call that a bargain nowadays.

    I can understand the Seagal allusions, but I thought of this as more basically the sort of movie Clint Eastwood used to make before he got too old and lost interest in such bare knuckle-driven murder mysteries. It’s a Red State movie, but it’s a good one. Like most Clint Eastwood “Clint Eastwood” movies, this has a good knack for audience interactivity with the laughs and laying down the law and all that. Very economical in the story placement, except Clint the producer wouldn’t have let something like JR go that long quite honestly.

    I just think JR’s domestic box office was hurt by the fact that asides from Tom Cruise being his own worst enemy in public (didn’t the Katie Holmes divorce happen a few months before this movie came out?), the public zeitgeist for such a film had passed I suppose. But it’ll have a good life on DVD. Hell my Dad loved JR, and he’s not a Cruise fan at all. I wouldn’t mind a sequel.

    So yeah I liked JR, but man I could’ve lived without the superhero ending though. We know what his name is and what he’s done for the last 2 hours. What is this Spider-Man shit?

  11. Loved it. Quotable dialogue, good action, nasty villains. I’ve been waiting for McQuarrie to direct again for years. Cruise is decent as always. I always give a star bonus points if they’re prepared to take on a character capable of murder and don’t insist on diluting it.

    McQuarrie has hinted on Twitter that he would be up for a sequel.

  12. The Continental Op

    June 22nd, 2013 at 8:19 am

    He should go up against a different director as the big bad in each one. Suggestions brlow. I reckon Aki Kaurasmaki would be great.

  13. I just watched this last night. GET OUT OF MY HEAD, VERN, I KEEP MY BRAIN IN THERE!!!

    As the sight’s preeminent Jack Reacher fan, I was one of those guys who thought Cruise’s casting was some kind of Onion-style joke about celebrity ego. You could not find a guy who fit Reacher’s characteristics (huge, rough around the edges, deeply rational, uninterested in appearance, still irresistible to women in 2013) less than Cruise, who is a tiny little prettyboy created in a lab by Scientologist publicists whom women have come to find creepy.

    But I kinda loved this movie, and dammit, there’s something about Cruise that gets something about Reacher. There’s a distance to the man, an alienness that fits a person who spent his whole life in the army, who’d never been around regular people, who’d only fleetingly visited the land of his birth and otherwise had no home. Cruise has an inhuman unknowability that makes him fascinating to watch, and that serves Reacher well.

    I do think it’s unbecoming for a celebrity of his magnitude to play such a blatantly awesome character that all the other characters can’t stop talking about, though. Yes, Tom Cruise, we know you’re awesome. We saw TOP GUN, etc. I think at this stage in his career Cruise should be trying to play more humble badasses who might have lost a step but still get the job done. It’s more endearing and less smug to see an underdog actor announce himself with a role like this (like Richard Roundtree in SHAFT) than to see a gloryhound tabloid dude get fawned over because he’s producing the goddamn movie. But somehow he pulled it off. It still would have been better if Cruise had mocapped an actual giant motherfucker, but I’m letting it slide. He got Reacher’s brain right. I’ll make allowances for his body, I suppose.

    Also the movie is just damn well made. It helps that Child’s plots are usually pretty tight. He works out the mysteries down to the smallest details, so there wasn’t that feeling most movies seem to have nowadays where it’s clear they didn’t know where they were going with this before they started shooting. This McQ guy has a real confident touch with the script and the camera. Not trying to blow me away, just trusting that if he shows the right visual information at the right time, I’ll be interested.

    Pretty much all the supporting characters were great, which is important in a mystery, because otherwise you’ve got a story about a bunch of conversations with boring people. It was amazing how well Herzog fit the role of the philosophical sadist. Most of his dialogue could have been narration from one of his documentaries, including my favorite line, “Always the bullet. I don’t understand.” Now I want to see him do a DEATH WISH-style old guy vigilante movie. Tell me creeps wouldn’t shit their pants staring down the endless void of Werner’s all-seeing gaze.

    Anyway, fuck you, Tom Cruise. Every time I think I can write you off as a preening, off-putting narcissist you go and make a movie I really like. With McQ involved I’m even excited about MI5. Hopefully it’ll be a little leaner and tougher and more down to earth and we can put that regrettable incident with the cartoonist behind us.

  14. Maybe he should go up against Beat Takeshi next.

  15. There’s one particular evil hook-handed sonofabitch who I always wanted James Woods for, but now I’m thinking Cronenberg. Another book has a grandiose Blackwater type dude that John Milius would be great for. There’s also a family of vicious desert rednecks I could see Tarantino, Rodriguez, and Roth having fun with. There’s a Manson-like militia leader I could see Michael Bay playing, or Carpenter if they went a different way. And you can’t make a movie out of PERSUADER without casting Demon Dave as the giant mutant steroid monster henchman. The guy should be seven feet tall but since we’re dealing with Cruise here I’m sure whatever height Dave is would seem suitably monstrous.

  16. Dikembe Mutombo

    June 22nd, 2013 at 9:53 am

    So glad you reviewed this Vern, it was my favorite action movie of last year (even if its arguably more of a mystery with action scenes). I was disappointed by how many people didn’t appreciate this movie, but I knew the author of SEAGALOGY would dig it on its own merits – a little slice of badass cinema with a classic/formal filmmaking approach.

    Like you said this is sort of a Seagal-type character, with the How Badass Is He introduction and the comical way women cant stop scoping out his body, but he’s been transplanted into a lawyer thriller that’s been staged and filmed in a low-key 70s kind of way. I think the mix of tones or whatever bugged some people, but for me it was a bunch of flavors that worked well together.

    I actually think the ending shootout in the quarry is sorta brilliant. It’s a crystal clear visual story, instead of chaotic soup of random gunfire that we’re used to seeing from 99.9999% of movie shootouts. Every shot has a purpose in telling this little mini-story, instead of being there just to look cool. Reacher is crazily outmatched and has to think on the fly and use the principles of cover, suppressive fire and positioning to get the upper hand, and the movie’s storytelling is so clear that you never lose track of the purpose behind anyone’s actions or where anyone is geographically – not even the bad guys, who are allowed to think on the fly and adapt just like Reacher. It’s thrilling as hell and beautifully executed in terms of staging and editing. It actually reminded me of the hotel shootout from NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, which I consider the gold standard for that kind of scene.

    The car chase is great too. It’s my kind of car chase all the way – no music, using realistic physics to enhance the tension, and what’s important to me is that it doesn’t occur entirely at one speed. A lot of car chases are pitched for constant intensity and carnage, and this is more of a low-key cat and mouse chase thing built around storytelling moments.

    I wasn’t familiar with the Reacher character before this but he’s pretty cool and I think the movie has a great approach where it understands how ridiculous he is and has some fun with it, but without necessarily undercutting him. I do think this could’ve benefited from being a nastier rated-R kind of picture, but they got away with a lot for a pg-13. I also dug how low-key and mundane the setting was, like when Cruise talks to that girl in the backroom of an AutoZone. I’d like to single out David Oyelowo from the supporting cast, he did a really good job of inhabiting the ‘Taye Diggs from WAY OF THE GUN’ role.

    McQuarrie’s such a patient and methodical action director, I wish there were more guys like him out there who valued this kind of approach. I hope he and Cruise keep doing stuff together.

    RRA – I think that’s a good call on this being Eastwood-ish, and you’re probably also right that he wouldn’t have let this be 130 minutes long. It didn’t drag for me at all, but it probably could’ve been leaner nonetheless.

  17. This has been one of my favorites of the past few years. I’m an unabashed Cruise fan though, so admittedly biased… I found the classically shot action refreshing, and the plot was quick and interesting. But mostly I just like seeing Tom Cruise beat some henchman ass. Hopefully this movie does well enough on DVD that they’re able to do something to sequelize it.

  18. Mr. Majestyk – Yeah I think McQuarrie is absolutely the right hire for the next MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE picture. Sure JACK REACHER wasn’t the big hit that I guess Paramount expected, but the talent is obviously there. We live in a new Hollywood where it does pay off to invest not in the next Quarter and trends, but play the long game with certain talents. I mean look at WB who just paid off sticking with Zack Snyder despite having what 2-3 flops after 300? Look at Marvel’s strategy by backing that Whedon dude.

    As long as Cruise and Abrams are behind McQuarrie as they were Brad Bird, he’ll happen and I’m sure he’ll do good.

    Mutombo – Maybe just a guess, but I would think Eastwood the producer would’ve eliminated that whole scene with the lawyer visiting the victim’s father. It’s sorta redundant and I’m certain he never would’ve done that ending monologue. Not his style at all.

    Question folks: SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER I still don’t understand the ending where somehow the whole thing is fixed up after Cruise killed Herzog. I must’ve missed something how that can be. Can anybody help me explain that mess tom me? SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

  19. The Continental Op

    June 22nd, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Cronenberg’s a GREAT villain call. Creepy as hell bit charming at the end of To Die For. John Waters for the craic.

  20. Killing Herzog didn’t fix the mess, it just set things right. Zec doesn’t get away with it, and he’s no longer a threat to the lawyer lady. What fixes the mess is one line Reacher says: “You’re a lawyer. Your father is the D.A. You’ll sort it out.” Reacher’s just going back off the grid, assuming that eventually the truth will come out and he’ll be off the hook. And if not, well, he’s impossible to find anyway, isn’t he?

    Yeah, it didn’t really hold all that much water in the book, either, but it’s not the kind of series where continuity matters all that much. There’s almost always a total reboot at the beginning of the next installment that leaves any lingering questions in the dust. He got away with it because he’s Jack Reacher and that’s what Jack Reacher does.

    As for sequels, I read a number of articles that said that the impressive overseas grosses made one a possibility, and that was before the DVD/Blu-ray came out to add to the tally. I see them selling it in chain drugstores next to Pixar movies, which usually means it’s moving units. I also think that doubtful Lee Child fans who were morbidly curious enough to rent it will be won over, so it’s likely that sequels will do better at the box office.

    And RRA, that final shot was awesome. That’s Reacher right there. Everywhere he goes, there’s asses that need kicking. You cut right before the moment of action so you know that this is daily life for him.

  21. Mr. Majestyk – Thanks for the clarification. I guess its like how Dirty Harry magically went from quitting the police force to rejoining it in the sequel.

    Also I had no qualms with the final shot. Its the narration I could’ve done without.

    Somebody referenced that fight at the house, that shit was hilarious.

    I predict this series (if it goes forward) will be titled “JACK REACHER” then “:” then insert whatever book title they’ll do next.

  22. I liked the narration because it was coming from a guy who still thought Reacher was after his ass.

    Agreed on the titles. All of the book names (the aforementioned, evocatively meatheaded PERSUADER excepted) are so generic that they sound like post-colon sequel subtitles anyway. I’m surprised there hasn’t been one called REDEMPTION or REQUIEM yet.

  23. Dikembe Mutombo

    June 22nd, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I liked how the end narration made him sound like Tom Joad. Wherever you are Jack Reacher’s gonna be there too, ready to beat you to death and drink your blood out of a boot.

  24. The original Paul

    June 22nd, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I reviewed this one in the forums, and it’s definitely a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, I was impressed enough by Jai Courtney that I seriously considered abandoning all my principles and going to see “Die Hard Mother Russia” or whatever it was called (don’t worry, I didn’t.) And I loved Herzog’s performance.

    Some of the moments like the sniping at the beginning were pretty awesome too. There was a really good car chase and a couple of good action “beats”.

    I also liked a lot of the detective-procedural stuff. I know that that’s a mystery fan talking, but nonetheless it’s done really well. This isn’t one of those action movies where the quiet moments drag it down a notch. Many of the most memorable moments of the film are Cruise doing his detective bit.

    On the other hand… it’s clear that Cruise’s character is meant to be intimidating. And sorry, but he’s not. At all. Cruise is at his absolute best when playing a stealthy chameleon-like hero, so watching him try to pull off “intimidating” just didn’t even come close to working. And he doesn’t look like a drifter! He looks like an urban cowboy. WAY too clean-cut.

    This was also the movie where seeing Rosamund Pike’s name in the credits officially turned into a “red flag” for me. I think that (somewhat bizarrely, given that a lot of the script is very good) her character is written terribly and acted even worse. I have never seen a movie that this actress has been in where she didn’t just annoy me. She even managed to make “Die Another Day” worse, and that’s quite a feat. I presume she must’ve done something good, at some point, to keep getting roles like this one; but I have no desire whatsoever to wade through her stuff and see what it is. This is a massive problem for me, because this film isn’t really Jack Reacher’s story, it’s Pike’s. The character needed to be scripted far better, and played by an actress who could convey some sense of just what this character is going through. Or at least doesn’t half-yell every other line and has some other facial expression other than “wide-eyed open-mouthed deer-in-headlights”.

    That said… this film definitely gets a recommendation for me. When it’s good, it’s really, really good, and the two villains are fantastic. Just be prepared to have to suspend some serious disbelief at Cruise playing a badass, and be aware that if you, like me, have found Pike’s schtick to be annoying in the past, you will be gritting your teeth in this one.

  25. Dikembe Mutombo

    June 22nd, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Cruise isn’t physically intimidating, but his undersized unhinged drifter thing worked for me. He does bring a lot to the table as a physical performer, as always – from the stunt driving to the fight scenes, the guy is fully committed.

    I’ve heard the criticism of Pike, but I dunno, I thought she was fine. I’ll admit that my eyes were wandering away from her face during her scenes.

    Vern – since you mentioned Goldsmith’s podcast, he did another one with McQuarrie when Reacher came out. It’s a good listen. http://www.theqandapodcast.com/2012/12/christopher-mcquarrie-jack-reacher-q.html

  26. I love the book and I love the movie. I think McQuarrie did a great job of steamlining the plot (and condensing the superfluous female characters to just Helen) and did as good a job as anybody for the action. You know, I finished The Hard Way the other night and thought it would make a good follow-up movie. I was thinking Gandolfini would make a great Lane, but then he died like two days later, which bummed me out.

  27. Didn’t you read Spielberg and Lucas’s talk about the film industry imploding? It’s going to happen and some indie guy is going to get his hands on a gritty book series, do it cheap and get it directly to the fans, probably avoiding movie theaters altogether. I say good and it’s long overdue. We’ll get better films with less bloat. Franchise Fred will love it!

  28. yeah, if even Spielberg, king of Hollywood, is saying times are tough, then you know it’s true

  29. I don’t know the books either, but I just have a hard time believing Tom Cruise as a bad ass. When he tells the dude that “he will drink his blood from a boot” I laughed out loud in the theatre. I know that if some like, say Jason Stahtam or Jeffery Dean Morgan had said it it would be menacing and ridiculously cool. This movie cried out for Liam Neeson or even better Mickey Rourke.

  30. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 23rd, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Saw this and despite Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher, I really enjoyed it. The score is another strong point to the movie too.

  31. Glad to see that other people liked this one too. I got a real 70s mystery/procedural vibe from it. It’s rare these days for movies to give themselves time to unfold and to ask the audience to get invested in a mystery, but as a fan of mysteries this was up my alley. I wonder if Christopher McQuarrie will become a stronger director than Bryan Singer. I really love The Usual Suspects, and his X-Men movies set the tone for superhero films in the new millennium (perhaps more than Batman Begins, if only because they came first). Hell, I’ll even defend Superman Returns as an interesting experiment in directorial homage. But after that awful looking Jack the Giant Slayer, I’m starting to lose faith in Singer. And besides, McQuarrie’s movies, whether he’s scripted them or he’s directed them, have a unique feel to them. These days Singer seems to be putting out generic works of entertainment.

    Also, great call on the possible Tom Joad allusion, Dikembe.

  32. Darth Irritable

    June 23rd, 2013 at 7:08 am

    This was a surprisingly true to the books flick. Shame there can never be a sequel, since now Reacher killed John McClane’s kid, it’s game over.

  33. So…Jack Reacher the character is just a rip-off of Repairman Jack…? Sorta? Kinda?

  34. Repairman Jack wasn’t really a thing when the first Reacher novel was published in 1997. There had just been a one-off novel featuring the character in 1984. Repairman Jack’s series didn’t really start until the year after Reacher came out.

    Also there are no supernatural elements to Reacher’s world.

    So…no. Not really. Not at all, in fact.

  35. The original Paul

    June 23rd, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Yeah, I also liked the score. I thought it complimented the movie really well.

  36. “I was thinking Gandolfini would make a great Lane, but then he died like two days later, which bummed me out.”

    Jack Burton – On that note, RIP Mr. Gandolfini.

    Its funny but most people immediately bring up THE SOPRANOS regarding him, but that scene in TRUE ROMANCE is what I’ll remember him for.

    Plus I thought he was fun as the wannabe General/dick prison warden in THE LAST CASTLE.

  37. Knox Harrington

    June 23rd, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I don’t get how you guys can say Cruise isn’t intimidating. I’m 6’3, 100kg, and he fucking terrifies me. I wouldn’t fuck with Tom Cruise the actor, never mind Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher.

    I think it’s because he gets magic powers from L. Ron.

  38. Knox Harrington

    June 23rd, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    That said, some of my friends worked with him on Ghost Protocol in Dubai and they all say he’s a great guy.

    I remember one of them telling me about a crew member who was gonna fly home to his family for the holidays and somehow missed his transport to the airport, which meant he was gonna miss his flight, and then suddenly Cruise just rocks up at his hotel rooms and offers to fly him there with his helicopter.

    L.Ron powers, man.

  39. RRA: True Romance is also my favorite Gandolfini performance.

  40. “I don’t get how you guys can say Cruise isn’t intimidating. ”

    Knox – It’s his stare that scares ya, isn’t it? I regularly visit this scientology watchdog/news blog, the locals there claim Scientologists usually have that 1,000 yard stare because of the endless conditioning from the “Sec” interrogations and expensive auditing sessions. I’ll take their word for it.

    Former Scientologist Marc Headley talked about being audited by Cruise and talking to ash trays and door knobs for hours, and his fellow members of Sea Org (Scientology’s “volunteer” charity army) fixing and remodeling his cars and motorcycles for free. All that said, I don’t remember him saying a bad thing about Cruise personally.


  41. Yeah, what’s intimidating about an insanely wealthy closeted alpha male overachiever who’s prone to theistic hysteria, has an army of religious fanatics and a possible death wish, and learns a different killing art twice a year? He’s barely a powder keg at all!


    So glad others have come around to this film. Just about the best $8 I’ve spent at the cinema this year. I had no exposure to the books and didn’t even know it was a mystery narrative going in, so everything was a pleasant surprise to me, and I was literally not bored for a single second of the runtime. That opening sniper sequence is some nightmare shit, but filmatistically the good kind of nightmare.

    [And the shooter’s backstory, his disappointingly stultifying combat deployment that he turns into a killing spree at the end, is shockingly en pointe. I know that feeling, at least the shadow of that feeling. I’ve seen that 1000 yard retard-killer stare, guys cleaning their weapons a little too much, guys on simple admin missions eagerly pursuing a possible ambush zone a little too much, guys straying away from the friendly squad formation in dubious urban environments, hoping a local national will start some shit and thus become an official enemy, will take a shot, will throw a rock so the soldier can respond with deadly force and get a kill. It’s bad juju, but those guys exist. Most of them don’t want to slaughter innocent people as target practice to justify their sniper training; they just desperately want a Combat Action/Infantry Badge, which is just some cool-guy bling for your daily uniform* that you get for “having been engaged with deadly force/intent by the enemy in a blahblahblah” according to the citation that the colonel reads at the ceremony. Most of those guys who pursue the CIB/CAB are stupid fucking pussies, but they can also be great Americans. At least they sublimate their death wish in a form that manifests itself as the pursuit of vain personal glory (and cuz it helps with professional promotions), and not as the bloody domination of innocents.]

    I mentioned the Seagalogicalism and the Eastwood directationalism back in January in the forum (google “outlaw vern jack reacher” to see me & Paul and a couple others rap about JR way before it became cool), and now others are echoing my thoughts. Now I’ma try to listen to these McQuarrie podcasts…

    *Personal brag: I’m one of the very elite few who has earned both the coveted CAB and the somewhat prestigious CIB, due to a wacky set of Army MOS-related circumstances in different war phases/theatres. I’m kind of a big deal. I could totally beat up Jack Reacher. I mean c’mon, look at him — he’s like 5’7″ with boots on.

  43. Man, I kind of want to see this again now. Although I bitched about the PG-13 violence when this came out, but I think that same restraint worked really well during sniper scene. If it had been all overstuffed squibs and stylised blood splatters it wouldn’t have hit as hard.

  44. Weird how we bring up Scientology in this thread, and VENTURE BROS. this week had a flashback of Jason Venture Sr. fighting supervillain “L. Ron” in 1968.

    Well of course.

  45. I’m not comfortable with this bizarre bashing of the religious faithful. I hate all organized religion at least as much as I hate that sensation of the dry foreskin getting accidentally sideways-folded inside the condom, but I’m pretty sure I’m not outright racist/bigoted against god[s]-believers. Certainly not against the ones who don’t evangelize.

    Not sure we need to take potshots at a dude’s chosen spiritual leadership as though this supposed behavior is related to his being a good person/actor or as though this 2nd/3rd-hand knowledge of the reported dogma affects our ability to befriend or relate to him, especially since none of us know him.

    I mean, a lot of my neighbors probly think I’m a fucking weirdo since I receive the Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan magazine, Cosmopolitan Latina magazine, Glamour magazine, Free Inquiry magazine, etc. at my doorstep and in my mailbox, but I don’t expect them to be able to judge me on that shit. I don’t expect that every time my name comes up in conversation around town, the gossipers always arrive at the topic of their conception of my belief system.

    Yet that’s what happens every fucking time Tom Cruise is mentioned on the internet. I don’t get it. Are we really that lazy? Do we really care about this shit? Or is it just something to expel from our lungs just cuz we can, just cuz we read a few articles & talkbacks online and now we fancy ourselves as experts on the matter of a dude’s personal life?

    Can Cruise please just be an above-average movie star and an above-average badass actor who awesomely does a lot of his own badass stunts in badass filmatistical roles and who produces badass Films Of Cinema? That’s good enough for me.

  46. Mouth: I agree with the sentiment.

    Having said that, I wish Tom Cruise would do play the villain a bit more. Use that manic intensity for evil rather than good; he does a good bad guy (eg. MAGNOLIA, though maybe that wasn’t quite a truly ‘bad’ guy. Great performance, though)

  47. Knox Harrington

    June 24th, 2013 at 4:12 am

    Kinda sad that people are forgetting what a damn good actor Tom Cruise is. Magnolia, Interview with the Vampire, Born on the Fourth of July, Eyes Wide Shut, Jerry Maguire, Lions for Lambs, Collateral.

    He’s just such a massive movie star that I guess it’s tough to look past the man himself and simply concentrate on his performances. I’m hoping he grows old gracefully and starts taking on less conventional roles. I can see him turning into a pleasantly odd cult movie/ex-leading man hybrid who does some incredible things as an old actor.

  48. Mouth: I’m just cracking a joke, but I do think there’s something inherently inhuman and vaguely sociopathic about Cruise the Person that makes Cruise the Actor pop onscreen. In interviews, I find him creepy: his relentless drive, his forced humility, his dead gaze, his ceaseless grin. It makes him a different kind of badass in films, one you enjoy watching and even admire but never understand or relate to. It all comes into play. As much as we all like to pretend we can separate art from artist, you can’t get as famous as Cruise and not bring that baggage into your films. It’s not possible for him to disappear into a role. You’ll always see Tom Cruise first, the character second. Sometimes that works out that his alien qualities add something to the performance, and sometime it’s a distraction. But it’s always a factor.

  49. I normally don’t bring up Scientology when discussing Tom Cruise, but there is something insidious about the religion. I’ve heard stories where they convince people to break off contact from their family and that they are incredibly aggressive if you try to leave. They seem to inflict a lot of psychological abuse. I used to have a more live and let live attitude towards Scientology. I thought that they were being mocked solely because their mythology unlike other religions hasn’t had time to age properly. Give it a thousand years, I thought, and Scientology would be seen as legitimate as Christianity. But the more I’ve read about the religion, the more disconcerting it seems.

    And while I’m a complete atheist, I also don’t like bashing other people’s faiths. People like Christopher Hitchens have a point when discussing evangelical literalists, but they really don’t understand the entire pantheon of religious belief. It’s a lot more complicated than the new atheists make it out to be. Besides, I always get the sense that these new atheists have a clear cultural hierarchy in mind when dismissing religious belief.

    Anyway, what did people think about the bar scene prior to the fight. I thought Reacher was being pretty harsh on that girl (although I admit that I did laugh), until I found out she was trying to set him up. Still, it was a little uncomfortable at first.

  50. I thought it was pretty obvious she was setting him up, but I also knew ahead of time from reading the book. I thought that actress was good with her facial expressions, letting you know that there was something artificial about what she was doing.

    However, it might have been clearer that this wasn’t normal if every other female in the movie hadn’t been swooning over Reacher already. That’s not the way it is in the books. He gets all the ladies (I’m pretty sure he even slept with Lawyer Lady) but they have to warm up to him. He can’t just walk through a Wal-Mart and have all the 20-year-old cashiers lusting after him. He’s initially off-putting with his enormous size, unkempt appearance, and gruff demeanor. It’s not until they see that he’s also brilliant and honorable that they start wanting him.

  51. “but I’m pretty sure I’m not outright racist/bigoted against god[s]-believers.”

    Mouth, stuff like this is why its hard to exactly sympathize with the Church of Scientology.

    “The church has until July 2 to turn over DeCrescenzo’s “pc files” — thousands of pages of confessional material compiled while she was an employee of the church starting at only nine years of age. DeCrescenzo believes that the documents will bolster her claim that she was abused as a member of Scientology’s “Sea Org,” including her assertion that she was forced to have an abortion at 17. Scientology has already lost two appeals fighting the court order, and have now asked LA Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian for a protective order to keep the documents from being seen by the public.”


  52. I’ve heard enough horror stories about what goes on in that organization to hold it in contempt without even factoring its theology into it. Compared to what other religions have gotten away with over the centuries, its crimes are a drop in the bucket, but it’s still not something that we should all be okay with.

    While I’ve come around on this point after seeing and liking the movie, I’ve said before that Cruise would make a better Reacher villain than a Reacher. You’ve got a young wife and daughter trying to escape from an insanely rich and powerful cult leader whose organization is both physically abusive and relentlessly litigious, making the blunt force intervention of a drifter with certain skills and nothing to lose the only way to go. It all ends out at SeaOrg with a shotgun blast to the face, turning that creepily perfect smile to white shrapnel.

  53. Mr. Majestyk – I remember joking back at the time of BATMAN BEGINS that Cruise should’ve played Scarecrow. As an actor he would’ve pulled that off, but also because you know that was his spiritual moment to play the big bad evil psychiatrist.

    I like your movie idea.

    “Xenu? How about XeNO?” *Bang*

  54. I’ve read the series, so when I saw Tom Cruise was playing Reacher my initial gut reaction was negative, but it was almost immediately followed up with the willingness to give him a chance, because like Mr. Majestyk, I see something in Tom Cruise that gets Jack Reacher and try as I might to dismiss him because of his wacky personal life, I just keep enjoying his performances.

    I think that what makes him such a great actor is probably what also makes him a Scientologist. This is just my own armchair analysis here, but it seems to me like he has a void in his life or something about himself that makes him unhappy. This makes him susceptible to a faith that would be all encompassing or to submerging himself into a character. I think this is probably a common trait among actors and that’s why so many of them become Scientologists. But what do I know? I just know that I enjoy his movies and try to forget about his craziness when I watch them, most of the time succeeding.

    I do have an issue with Scientology only in their insistence that vitamins and exercise can treat things like serious mental illness and drug addiction. I’m all for living and let live with people’s faith until they start opening drug treatment facilities and then treating the patients with Dr. L. Ron’s Magic Elixir while they’re going through serious detox.

    But, about the movie, I loved this movie. I liked that it was little more mystery than action. It felt like a throwback to an old thriller where they trusted the story to keep the audience’s attention. The action scenes were exciting, the acting was great and over all it was just a fun movie.

  55. Thank you Mouth. I’ve probably said this before but one of the few parts of last year’s Actionfest that left a bad taste in my mouth was some live comedy “skit” that inevitably had “Tom Cruise is short and secretly gay” jokes (can’t remember if you were privy to that). For a festival devoted to stunts and action, I felt it was in poor taste (and ironic) that an actor who just did the year’s most notable stunt in MI:4 and has kept himself in shape in his 50s, was being mocked by a roomful of guys who could probably all get their asses kicked by Kevin Smith.

    This sounds cynical, but I think as a people, humans default to being prejudicial, like they have this secret unconscious need to discriminate. I don’t know if it’s jealousy or just this need to feel better about oneself, but I feel it’s natural to hate, and tolerance is what’s learned (even though that’s the opposite of what most people think). I for one know that my parents didn’t raise me to hate but I was a horrible little racist homophobic shit until I got to high school.

    Whether it be people of other races, classes, or simply overweight people or even “ugly” people, I think humans get off on thinking they’re better than entire subgroups of others. And since Scientology is a religion associated with famous, rich, mostly white people, (and hardly anyone knows any actual Scientologists in real life) it’s like the world has been granted a free pass to openly display hatred and bigotry. I mean, shit, Will Smith is just RUMORED to be in Scientology and has denied it, but people still feel free to lump him in and write articles about how it’s good his new movie bombed because it’s secret propaganda, etc.

    As Mr. Majestyk said, Scientology’s crimes are a drop in the bucket compared to other religions, and no, it doesn’t make their crimes right, but can you imagine a world where every single article on Dave Chappelle and Ice Cube and Mos Def inevitably devolved into bad jokes about Muhammed with the justification that “well, read up on what really goes on with Islam dude, they’re into some bad shit! Here’s a link to an expose that shows they did this bombing in Boston one time…” Don’t even get me started on my hipster film-snob friends who are like “fuck Tom Cruise, I’m not giving him any of my money….by the way, have you seen the new Polanski? AMAZING.”

    As for Jack Reacher, I liked it but not as much as i wish I did. That opening sniper scene is one of the most squirm-inducing moments in a PG-13 movie ever, and Courtney and Herzog are great, but it just seemed a little too long and fatty for what was essentially a simple story (it doesn’t help that the twist of the construction lady being the real target in the “random” shooting was given away by all the rock quarry stuff in the trailer). The Way of the Gun also had a way better shootout in my book, but I guess it’s nice that McQuarrie didn’t try to copy himself. It’s a solid pilot; I know there won’t be a sequel but I would have definitely seen it.

  56. The original Paul

    June 24th, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I would definitely be onboard for a sequel, if it was as good as this and didn’t feature Rosamund Pike. I can deal with the Cruiser.

  57. “I got a real 70s mystery/procedural vibe from it. It’s rare these days for movies to give themselves time to unfold and to ask the audience to get invested in a mystery(…)”

    This is the comment that made me want to rent to movie as soon as possible. Just a few days ago I asked myself what happened to the kind of action movie, where the loose cannon (or fist) cop (or private dick) has to solve a mystery, instead of just running around and shooting bad guys.

  58. Darth Irritable

    June 24th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    They should make Killing Floor. That book is bar none, the best in the series.

  59. It does have the best climax, plus the identity of the victim makes the plot a bit more personal than usual. The mystery might have one twist too many (I never bought that one turncoat character) but maybe McQ could streamline it. Only problem is they’d really have to neuter that one to get a PG-13, which would be a shame. There’s that one scene where he slaughters like five of them in a dark house that plays out like he’s Jason or something, and that wouldn’t be as satisfying if you couldn’t see what kind of sick, depraved fucks he’s going up against.

  60. neal2zod – oh boo fucking hoo, there’s a tiny flaw to your rant.

    You do realize that there are tons of other Scientologists in Hollywood, right? Jason Lee, Juliet Lewis, etc. But….do people mock them? Do people even really given a shit that they’re members? Even a major member like Travolta*, who’s been made fun of in the past for his connection, that seems to come and go. I actually think people sometimes forget he’s a member.

    The problem with Mr. Cruise is that what, 4 incidents I can think of when he was exposed (if you will) and in terms of PR came off pretty poorly as a creep or/and a lunatic in less than a a decade.

    (1) that Matt Lauer interview
    (2) picking a public fight with Brooke Shields (which could roll into 1, I can’t remember the specifics of that time.)
    (3) that Anonymous-leaked COS internal video
    (4) his 2nd divorce when Katie Holmes ambushed him and basically had it leaked out to the media that their kid was gonna be interrogated at age 7 and sent off to evil Sea Org and blah blah. (Which isn’t true but none the less.)

    When stuff like this comes popping up in public, what does the public associate Mr. Cruise with? Mind you all that didn’t end his career, no more than Clint Eastwood’s RNC speech kept any of us liberals from seeing his movies again. But that image of nutjob Cruise I think is here to stay for now. Kinda like Mel Gibson with his own public-exposed demons.

    Another thing, Neal’s tone is condescending. We live in a world where the Catholic Church hasn’t stopped raping kids and aiding/abetting those crminals, where LGBTs are executed because Allah allegedly doesn’t approve of their lifestyles, where a minority cult commits “Fair Game” soft terrorism (harassment, never-ending lawsuits, cutting families off from contacting “heretics”) against ex-members and perceived enemies of the Church of Scientology. We live in a world religious fundamentalism is the new fascism, the totaltarian mindset at war with the world and everybody against them.

    Almost reminds me of people down in the South, those American religious right-wing sorts who cry discrimination whenever their homophobia and racism is called out.

    *=Even BATTLEFIELD EARTH’s colossal failure, people only saw that as a bad movie that flopped on the level of SHOWGIRLS or CATWOMAN or whatever. Despite claims out there, I don’t think EARTH is really a Scientology propaganda piece. If it really was intended as such, its only preaching to the choir. Everybody else just sees Travolta on stilts captured in dutch angles.

  61. Dikembe Mutombo

    June 24th, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    MAJESTYK: “I do think there’s something inherently inhuman and vaguely sociopathic about Cruise the Person that makes Cruise the Actor pop onscreen. In interviews, I find him creepy: his relentless drive, his forced humility, his dead gaze, his ceaseless grin.”

    I agree, and that’s why it’s funny to me that people didn’t cotton onto him being insane until he was jumping on Oprah’s couch. The madness was always in his eyes and in his overly insistent laughter. That’s why when he sets himself on playing likable and charismatic (think KNIGHT AND DAY), he’s borderline terrifying in how little he reminds you of a real person. I don’t have any special insight into the guy but I’ve always perceived self-hatred as the animating force behind his career.

    I just remembered, isn’t there a shot in the trailer of an explosion in the quarry? I guess that was cut. McQuarrie talks in the Goldsmith podcast about how they didn’t have enough shooting days to do the finale like he wanted to – Cruise stalking and fighting Courtney was supposed to be a more involved cat-and-mouse style sequence.

  62. I still hold that this movie is the greatest secret comedy to come out in ages. The way that every time Cruise walks into a room they have mutiple reaction shots of hot women checking him out had me howling all by itself, and when you throw Herzog in there basically saying lines that could have been cut out of his documentaries… comedy fucking gold. It’s a little overlong, but I laughed more at this than I have at any overt comedy in a long, long time.

  63. I’ve been in the unfortunate position this year of having to do a lot of waiting around in the middle of nowhere and the only things I could find in the remote place I was stuck in was bloody Jack Reacher books. I can see why Tom Cruise would go for it – Reacher is such a pointless, boring fantasy of a character – unstoppable, incorruptible, irresistible. The only scene in any of the 6 books I read (there was no other reading material) that rung true was one where he gets trapped in a tunnel that he can barely fit into and it gets smaller – the claustrophobia is exceptionally well created and I almost had to stop. However, normal service was quickly resumed when it turned into a man vs militia army and man won.

    Put me right off seeing this.

  64. I thought the film handles the Auto Zone girl (wasn’t that where she worked?) well. Like I said, that scene in the bar made me uncomfortable at first, but it made sense when you realize she was trying to set Jack Reacher up. (I’m partial to the line, “Nobody said, ‘whore.’ She inferred hooker, but I implied slut”). Later you start to feel a little sorry for her, especially right before (spoiler) she’s killed.

    I somehow convinced my significant other to watch this movie with me (she enjoyed it), and she did think the fact that Cruise made a film about how awesome his character was to be kind of funny. What saves it for me is that Reacher seems to be in real danger throughout the movie. And he doesn’t just punch his way through a bunch of bad guys. He has to be strategic about it. The Cruise/Reacher connection reminded me a little of something I once read about Star Trek 5: Only a man with Shatner’s ego would direct and star in a movie where his character fights God…and wins.

  65. Can you guys believe that Peggy from Mad Men is a scientologist??

  66. I’m with Neal on this one. If people obsessed with taking down Scientologists can’t see any bigotry in their actions that’s fine, but they should at least consider how fucking insufferable they are bringing up that shit all the god damn time. I have met exactly zero Scientologists in my life (except the people who stand out in front of their center downtown being turned down with their free movie passes). But I’ve met so many people who believe it is worth learning about and exposing and shaming people who believe in it.

    I believe they are a cult and if they somehow hurt you or somebody you know then please expose it, but I bet that’s not RRA and it’s not my buddy who is obsessed with this shit or 99.99% of the people who bring up Scientology every time Tom Cruise is mentioned. To most people it’s just lazy minded meaningless hack bullshit, like Steven Seagal is fat or Paris Hilton is a ho or women go to the bathroom in groups. Sub-Jay Leno monologue shit.

    And like any religion I bet there are plenty of people that it helps. Maybe even Tom Cruise. Why is it your business? I know it’s not mine. I’ve seen the claim that Tom Cruise must be punished for his religious beliefs because as a celebrity Scientologist he’s making them seem acceptable to the public. But the same motherfuckers attack Will Smith for allegedly being a secret-Scientologist.

    Yes, I agree (as anybody obviously would) that most religions have done terrible things and have extreme practicioners who are assholes and can go fuck themselves. I don’t believe that is at all a reasonable excuse for obsessing over the religious beliefs of people you don’t know and attacking them if they have not committed or promoted any of those acts. And plenty of people may disagree with that and i will happy to not read them explaining it somewhere that it’s appropriate, which is not on my fucking movie review sight. I hate that shit.

    And in a place where we’re interested in Tom Cruise as an actor it’s a pain in the ass to have to first wade through a bunch of bullshit about his religion. Even worse if it’s Will Smith, because that’s like trying to talk about Obama’s foreign policy but first you gotta explain that he’s not a Muslim.

    I don’t mean to attack you, RRA, I don’t think you’ve derailed alot of comments with this or anything, but I disagree with your defense there and I hope you’ll consider this next time you feel the need to bring it up in movie discussions.

  67. I totally agree that having to talk about Scientology every time Tom Cruise comes up is getting old

    but that doesn’t change the fact that Scientology is an evil cult of Temple of Doom levels! har har har

  68. Can we still dislike Cruise for being an overrated actor that belongs in DAYS OF OUR LIVES and not in summer blockbusters?

  69. But Steven Segal is fat, Paris Hilton is a ho and Tom Cruise might be a nice guy but his cult has been caught doing some nasty shit. Just because a comment is unoriginal does not mean it’s not true. Sometimes those clods in Washington really are a bunch of clods.

  70. It’s funny. I never really warmed up to Tom Cruise as an actor until that period of time when the rest of the world was turning on him. I never found him charismatic, which is what he was going for in his early days. He’s not that great of a dramatic actor (with the exception of Magnolia and I’ll even throw Interview with a Vampire in there). But around the same time that Cruise was jumping on couches or whatever, summer films were giving themselves over to CGI spectacle. Now, I obviously like me some CGI spectacle now and again, but it was elbowing out real stunt work and more intimate forms of choreography. It seemed like Tom Cruise was the only actor who was willing to put out these sorts of movies any more. And he may not be a great actor when when spouting dramatic dialogue, but he certainly brings a manic intensity to his action roles.

  71. Dikembe,
    funny to me that people didn’t cotton onto him being insane until he was jumping on Oprah’s couch. The madness was always in his eyes and in his overly insistent laughter. That’s why when he sets himself on playing likable and charismatic (think KNIGHT AND DAY), he’s borderline terrifying in how little he reminds you of a real person. I don’t have any special insight into the guy but I’ve always perceived self-hatred as the animating force behind his career.

    Arguably Cruise’s 2 most cited roles for his Acting! ability are BORN ON THE 4TH OF JULY and MAGNOLIA, and he was utterly uncharismatic in the former and hollow & misogynistic in the latter. In JACK REACHER, he unblinkingly calls a young girl “a slut,” so I don’t think he’s playing for likability here either.

    Cruise was supposed to be unlikable & insane in KNIGHT & DAY; that was the joke. Special Agent John Knight kept killing people and “rescuing” Cameron Diaz, who didn’t want to have anything to do with his creepy ass, who repeatedly got knocked out or drugged while Cruise popped up in some new random exotic location, again “rescuing” her and blowing shit up, until finally the movie decided to transfer his insanity onto her. It was actually quite a clever conceit, the meta-ness of an unwanted, trying-too-hard superstar action hero dragging his unwilling, unimpressed audience along with him; the movie was pretty good, too, just not very memorable or rewatchable.

    And I like that Cruise takes advantage of public appearances to be a little bit weird. I do the same thing sometimes when I visit strange places that I don’t plan to ever revisit. It’s so much better than the usual celebrity bullshit, when everyone sits down & talks about how great it was to work with this other celebrity and talks about their labrador retriever with Jay Leno and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. He bounced on a couch once; he was happy, playful, rewarding this freak talk show host who had long begged him to be on her tv show & promoted the moment like it was the 2nd coming, a lady who emanates unnatural amounts of celebrity-worship while also somehow relating to non-celebrity people on a mass scale. Oprah’s the fuckin’ weirdo here, but anyway… Who gives a fuck?

    The South Park guys went to the Oscars dressed as each other’s female date. It made for a weird, memorable photo, and no one gives a fuck. Adrien Brody sexually assaulted Halle Berry’s face at the Oscars, because he wanted to do something weird & memorable, and now no one gives a fuck.

    Also, what Vern said, reflecting what Neal & me said earlier.

  72. Vern – Be careful son because some of the same argumentation you’re using could be used against your liberal stance against the Republicans. A real slippery slope of bullshit that you two are constructing. If institutional criticism is now “discrimination”….nah, that’s just retarded. Is Mr. Majestyk now prejudicist too because he made a joke by dreaming up that Jack Reacher novel scenario?

    I remember Roman Polanski at the recent Cannes festival making some fucked up comments about women. If I criticized those comments (hell I did at another website), will Neal pop up and whine that I’m being discriminating because he’s a Pole? *Rolls Eyes* Yeah it’s that stupid.

    C’mon guys, strive for excellence!

  73. Striving for Excellence means refraining from making this websight exactly like 99.99999% of all websites whenever the name Tom Cruise comes up.

  74. I’m kind of in the middle on this one, so I’m going to try to mediate.

    On the one hand, I can see RRA’s side. Being critical of an organization is different than being prejudiced against its members, much like criticizing a nation’s government does not make you racist against its populace. The leadership of Scientology are a bunch of dicks, but I’m sure most Scientologists are good people and none of us are in any position to judge the choices they’ve made with their lives. The Church of Scientology, however, is a corporation and should be criticized just like any other corporation. Calling BP out for its oil spill is not the same thing as calling the guy who works the pump at the local filling station an asshole.

    However, I also see the other side. Tom Cruise is the most visible member of the church and also kind of a weirdo in other ways, which makes him a lightning rod for the sharing of Scientology horror stories, of which there are plenty. But bringing up these same points over and over again in every conversation about Cruise is tedious, because his religion is not a factor in most aspects of his work. When there does seem to be a Scientological angle to a movie, by all means, it should be explored, but that not being the case with JACK REACHER, it’s just a needless detour.

    I was also part of this detour, but I tried to keep my comments limited to Cruise’s general weirdness as a person, of which his religion is just one facet, and how that affects his screen persona. I tried to keep it movie-related. I think that’s the key: Nothing is off-limits, as long as it can be tied directly back into the movie under discussion. Otherwise, that’s what we have forums for.

    In conclusion, go watch BLADE II again.

  75. Okay, but you can imagine how many thousands of times I’ve seen some peanut-brained dipshit write a Steven Seagal fat joke in response to one of my reviews or a review of my book or a mention of me. And you can imagine the kind if disdain I have for those people. I don’t mind as much the stupidity as the meanness. At least Forrest Gump was a nice guy. Those people should be trying to find more Bazooka Joe wrappers to giggle at and not wasting our time here at outlawvern.com. This isn’t the IMDb message boards. We demand more out of everyone here.

  76. RRA, I’m trying to respond to you without being an asshole and have deleted my previous attempts. But I don’t get the impression you understood any words in my post. The takeaway should be that it is insufferable and obnoxious to hear about this bullshit every time Tom Cruise is mentioned, and I am asking you not to do it here at outlawvern.com.

  77. But how about that Judge Ito, though? Amirite?

  78. Let me try that again. There could be a debate about the line between religious bigotry and religious criticism. I’m not really interested in having it. Whether or not it’s annoying to discuss this every time a Mission Impossible or Jack Reacher movie comes out or is mentioned – on that there is not room for debate. It is annoying. That’s all.

  79. This is something that comes with every actor, writer and/or celebrity that’s famous for both their professional life and their more controversial private life. Knut Hamsun was a nazi, Roman Polanski a rapist, James Brown a wife beater etc, etc. And I understand people who can’t look beyond that. I really do. And we should discuss scientology. Here in Norway they’re directly responsible for at least two suicides, one the daughter of a famous politician and the other the son of a former colleague of mine. But on the other hand we should respect Vern’s wishes and take it somewhere else. Why don’t we talk about the sad fact that one of our generations best and most loved actors just passed away instead?

  80. RRA, here’s a link for you:


    I have no idea how your mind is getting from A to B in your most recent posts. Your Polanski example (that I would whine that you’re making fun of him for being Polish) skipped about 5 degrees of logic and doesn’t relate to anything I said. Also I’m puzzled how you’re equating me to “people down in the South, those American religious right-wing sorts who cry discrimination whenever their homophobia and racism is called out.” Last I checked, me, Mouth and Vern are the ones trying to get you to ease off the religion-bashing, and you’re the one outraged and taking offense that your freedom to bash (on someone else’s movie website of all things) is being infringed upon.

    I’m genuinely sorry if my tone earlier came across as condescending. I am. I didn’t know you were the guy who posted those Scientology links up there, and if I did I probably wouldn’t have made that crack in my post because, quite frankly, I feel like you’re involved in about 80% of the arguments on this site and didn’t want to draw your wrath and get sucked into this horrible conversation that we’re having right now.

    Dikembe – re: the missing rock quarry explosion in the trailer, some guy actually sued because the explosion wasn’t in the movie (as it was supposedly his main reason for seeing the movie – an explosion!) and I think he actually won and got his ticket price back. (And I thought that “Drive” lawsuit was the bottom of the barrel)

  81. Well, technically, that’d be a case of false advertising, depending on one interprets trailer-intent vis-a-vis trailer/movie content.

    Perhaps we could all score a few dollars back from the A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD producers for the movie not having the shot from the trailer of that hot chick unzipping her leather top.

  82. Mouth — that sounds like the very definition of a worthy cause.

  83. Joseph Sikora looks like a male Cate Blanchett. Great movie.

  84. The original Paul

    June 25th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    If I stopped watching every movie by any actor who had some weird political or religious kinks that I didn’t agree with, I’d have to junk 3/4s of my DVD collection right now.

    I have no problem with Cruise, either as a person or as an actor (and I don’t know anywhere near enough about him to be able to fairly judge him as a person anyway). I just don’t think he’s the right choice for this particular role. “Magnolia” excepted, Cruise’s great strength is taking “invisible-man” characters and making them stand out. Jack Reacher is almost the exact opposite of that – he’s an intensely intimidating character whose natural place is outside of established society.

  85. Tom Cruise is an average actor but a good movie star. I like science fiction so I like him using his star power to get so many sci-fi movies greenlit.

  86. So whether M:I 5 pans out or not for him, McQuarrie has a new directing job. Good for him.


    Paul – Like any mature person who can think for themselves, I can seperate the artist from the art. As I said earlier in these comments, I quite liked JACK REACHER. I agree with the locals. (I didn’t care for OBLIVION because for me it didn’t do anything interesting quite frankly or memorable.) Hell I’m maybe one of 2 people on this site who liked KNIGHT & DAY (which has an added comedy level because of how psychotic the Cruise character is and I applaud him for playing him like that.) I also enjoyed Bryan Singer’s VALKYRIE as a MacLean-esque action/thriller.

    Funny I brought up Polanski, but I fucking loved his GHOST WRITER. Terrific slow-burn thriller. I still think he’s a misogynist pig but that’s another topic for another time.

    BTW, did anyone see his PIRATES movie?

  87. Sorry I was so surly earlier, RRA. I don’t know what that was about. I appreciate you taking it in stride. Long live Reacher.

  88. RRA, I saw PIRATES in the 80’s, and loved it. Rewatched it a few years ago and it held up. I don’t know why it got such a hard time. For me it was a good reminder of how funny Polanski was in the 60’s (THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS anyone?).

  89. I really enjoyed this movie (I put it on my top 10 list for last year). I have read a couple Reacher books and love the character. Cruise is not the ideal physical embodiment of Reacher, but his take on the role gets the character right. There are so many subtle badass touches and great tough guy dialog in this film. I personally like the part where Reacher is confronted by a group of thugs at the bar that want him to step outside so they can fight him, and Reacher insists that the leader of the thugs pay his bill first because he will not be able to when Reacher is done with him.

  90. I had a really surprising reaction to JACK REACHER. I was offended that they chose to tell a story involving mass killing. I’m surprised because I’ve never had a reaction to movies reflecting/being reflected by real life violence, so this was really unusual. Obviously they couldn’t have known when they chose ONE SHOT that there would be four mass shootings in the year the film would be released. But they certainly knew it happened often enough (unfortunately) that it would play upon some real emotions.

    I like Vern’s reaction to the “interviewing the victims’ families” scene because it frames it in a negative light. I’ve heard that scene interpreted as legitimizing the film’s use of a shooting tragedy, like “but it pays attention to the victims so it’s not exploitation.” I’m sorry, I know how movies work. If they’re showing the victims family being all sad, that’s not to pay respect to the victims. That’s all to get a sympathetic reaction out of the audience and that IS exploitation.

    There were a dozen or so other Jack Reacher stories they could have chosen for the first movie. Far as I know they’re all sort of standalone episodes that could have introduced the character. I’m not saying you can never tell a mass shooting story, because frankly it’s something that’s going to need to be addressed dramatically for us to ever resolve it. But knowing the filmmakers and executives sat around deciding how to start this JACK REACHER franchise, and thought THIS was the right story for this time, that seems insensitive. I guess we’ve found the limits for Franchise Fred.

    Movie was okay. I liked the ’70s tone of it, though doing something old well shouldn’t necessarily get credit for being inventive. The sniper sequence was indeed a marvel. I’m not even talking about that. I’m talking about the behind the scenes choice of story.

  91. Franchise Fred, I know what you mean. I didn’t have this same reaction to REACHER, but lately I’ve been surprised at myself for feeling squeamish about violence in movies. Particularly, MoS and FURIOUS 6 made me uncomfortable when they were wiping out civilians during the big action sequences. I know in FURIOUS 6 we were supposed to be horrified at the tank running over people and the good guys were trying to stop it, but I also felt uncomfortable during the high speed car chases through crowded streets. They were obviously not taking out people, but I had a hard time believing it was due to their skill at driving and not just luck, which took away from my pleasure of the action and faith in the good guys. I don’t know if it’s me or the world that’s changing. Or just 2 random movies and the next one won’t affect me the same.

  92. I was also uncomfortable with public mass shooting in the film. At this point I am pretty uncomfortable with public mass shootings being depicted in any film or television. However, that did not take away from my appreciation or enjoyment of the film.

    Fred, when Reacher asks the defense attorney to interview the family of the victims it does provide a human element to the tragedy but I don’t think it is meant to be exploitive. (SPOILERS) Reacher wants her to learn about the victims because if it is not a random shooting then who was the target. It sets up the scene where Reacher asks her what she learn about the victims by talking to their families, and explains to her that the seemingly random shooting was a cover up for an assassination.

  93. On that topic, what do you all think of Jim Carrey disowning KICK ASS 2 for its violence?

    Honestly with the timing and everything, my cynical side just thinks this reeks of a movie star not waiting to be directly involved with a turkey (or thinks it is one). Why not weeks and months ago? Hell he was a fan of the first film, that’s why he wanted to be in this.

  94. Well, I believe that a human being can have a sudden change of heart about what he likes and what not. Kinda like when you as a teenager make gay jokes and fun of fat people, but then suddenly realize that you shouldn’t do that. Carrey said he shot the movie before Aurora, which was pretty much his big eye opener according to him. MAybe he thought all the time “Nah, maybe I can live with that movie”, but then he saw the final version for the first time and decided that on screen, the violence comes across much worse than on set.

    So yes, I believe that he means it. After all he didn’t badmouth the movie’s quality or the people involved. He even said that he doesn’t mind when people still watch it. All he said that he doesn’t believe in it anymore and can’t promote it.

  95. I think it is perfectly understandable for Carry to have an experience that changed his feelings about gun violence in films and a movie he worked on. Also, I have not heard him trash A2 itself just denounce the violence in the film. The Beastie Boys refused to play “Fight For Your Right To Party” later in their career because they didn’t wanted to be associated with a song that was embraced by the culture it mocked. I think any artist with a significant body of work spanning a large period of time most likely has at some point created art that over time their experiences and perspective altered their relationship to that art.

  96. To be fair, KICK-ASS ONE isn’t just a violent movie, it sort of uniquely plays to the empowerment of disempowered, rage-filled loners through sadistic violence. I was uncomfortable with the first one for reasons that had nothing to do with real-life shootings. If part 2 continues the trend, I’m not surprised Carry didn’t like the end result.

    (here’s my original review of KICk-ASS, just to prove I’m not jumping on this bandwagon just because it’s popular now)


  97. I read your blog post, Subtlety. Good analysis.

    I liked Jack Reacher. I like laconic, confident guys talking shit and then backing it up.

    I also dig Tom Cruise in all of his brokenness. Random: I still really like vanilla sky.

  98. The Original... Paul

    June 27th, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    RRA – to make this clear, the first line of my last post wasn’t specifically directed at you, nor was I trying to imply that you were unable to distinguish an actor’s persona onscreen from his character offscreen. It was purely a general comment on the main thing being discussed at the time.

    I gotta be honest, “Jack Reacher” didn’t strike me as “retro” in the same way as, say, “Drive” did. The vast majority of my favorite western action movies have “detective elements” to them anyway, and I’ve made no secret of the fact that I generally prefer those to the “pure” shooters (although there are definitely exceptions – “Aliens”, “Die Hard” and a bunch of Arnie sci-fi movies immediately come to mind.) If you’re looking for a good movie with a late-seventies-to-early-eighties retro “feel” then I would have to recommend Vern’s 2011 film of the year “Drive” above “Jack Reacher”. Don’t get me wrong, I still give “Reacher” a cautious recommendation,

    I also really like Vanilla Sky. Its flaws do not outweigh its virtues for me, although it is definitely not for everybody. Honestly, just seeing Cameron Diaz play a seriously scary psychotic ex-girlfriend is almost worth the price of a DVD rental on its own. (Seriously, Diaz is awesome in that movie – my only complaint is that she’s not in it more.)

  99. Drive was one of the better movies I’ve seen in the last couple years. Ryan Gosling is the real deal, plus Walter White and Albert Brooks are solid, as well. High five, Paul.

    Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz both give some of their best performances in Vanilla Sky. Cruise seems to be so consistently in action hero mode these days that it’s easy to forget just how good he can be in a dramatic role.

  100. MaggieMayPie, the reason I’m so surprised to have this reaction at all is that I do not have reactions like that to MAN OF STEEL or FURIOUS 6. In fact, I saw an early screening of EXPENDABLES 2 shortly after Aurora, and I could completely separate them. EXPENDABLES 2 is a total celebration of gratuitous violence, and it’s awesome. It has nothing to do with real life. I would even argue against either side of the MOS debate. If millions died in the Zod battle, good, that’s probably what would happen if two Kryptonians destroyed the city. If they were all evacuated, what a half-assed move, so there’s no consequence at all? But like I said, I assume the entire London SWAT team that was crushed in FURIOUS 6 crawled out of the rubble and brushed themselves off. It’s that kind of movie.

    With REACHER I’m just stuck on this point that it was someone’s choice to use ONE SHOT and not some other Reacher book. They either thought the subject matter would be relevant, which is exploitive, or they didn’t think it would matter at all which is insensitive.

    What I mean about the victims’ families scene is I know the intent is to “humanize” the victims, but the actual mechanics of moviemaking are “this is how we get a reaction out of the audience.” I just know how the sausage is made, I’m looking a little meta at it. And this is the only place I’ve been able to talk about these feelings, by the way.

    I’m okay with Jim Carrey backing out of KICK-ASS 2 press. To each his own, whatever. I think it only really affects talk shows anyway. He’s a talent who does minimal press anyway, maybe a press conference and I don’t even know his position on TV junkets. So from my end it’s not going to affect a lot of the KICK-ASS 2 campaign. The kids are the focus of that franchise anyway. Cage didn’t do press for the first film either. I think the people who are calling for Carrey to give back his fee for the film are a bit ridiculous. He did fulfill his contract of acting and completing the movie.

  101. The only thing about VANILLA SKY that I remember is that one Diaz line: “I’ve swallowed your cum, that means sometihng.”

  102. Yeah, that and Cruises’s “Because I thought it was an f-ing MASK!!!!” were the two standout lines of the film. I enjoy the genre-bending trippyness of the film, and I think it explores the nature of identity and loss from a variety of strange, interesting, and overlapping angles. But I can see where others found it plodding and too out-there.

  103. Hey on the subject of REACHER, does anyone who read the book know how if Herzog’s lines are in it? They’re so perfectly Herzog-esque that I desperately want to believe they were all or mostly ad-libbed. If not, Lee Child must have written his character while watching THE BURDEN OF DREAMS, I don’t see any other explanation.

  104. Final JACK REACHER Box Office Numbers- $216,568,266.

    Seems sturdy enough to get a sequel since it only cost $60 million.

  105. The Original... Paul

    June 30th, 2013 at 4:57 am

    RRA – that was my favorite line in the movie. In fact I almost quoted it in the post above.

    Mr S – the wide-eyed wonder in Herzog’s face / voice when he remarks “They always choose the bullet” stuck with me a good while after the film was over. I have no idea if the line was in the book or not though.

  106. The Original... Paul

    June 30th, 2013 at 5:09 am

    Also, what a freakin’ week for film it is. “Hummingbird”, “This is the End” and “Before Midnight” all coming out at the same damn time. After basically nothing’s been in the cinemas for the past month or so. (Well, “Iron Man 3” was pretty good. But nothing else.) “World War Z” is out as well, but I’m sick to death of zombie movies so I’m gonna give that one a miss.

    Nice that Jack Reacher did well at the box office. At least not all of these movies are bombing like “Dredd” and “The Last Stand”, both of which I really enjoyed.

  107. The Original... Paul

    June 30th, 2013 at 5:10 am

    Vern, sorry for the off-topic post here, but any plans to review Statham’s “Hummingbird” / “Redemption” (not sure what it’s called in the US)?

  108. Felix – I think a sequel will happen, if at the least because the mindset in Hollywood now is that you do decent enough globally then the sequel will (allegedly) do better because you already have a built-in audience aware of this property and also new fans come along by WOM on DVD.

    Consider the new STAR TREK movie, which domestically didn’t do that much better than the earlier entry. But overseas its doing good numbers, very remarkable too for something like Star Trek which hasn’t done well overseas traditionally (movie-wise at least.)

    Paul – well I did see NOW YOU SEE ME last week, which was actually a pretty fun heist film. Reminded me at times of Lupin III.

    I still stick by my WWZ positive review.

  109. Paul, it’s called REDEMPTION here. I just watched it On Demand on one of those “same day as theaters” deal. Normally I prefer to see movies in the theater but I had a free afternoon, no car & it was right there waiting for me.

    I will second the request for Vern to review & save my comments for then, but there was a lot to love about it, in my opinion.

  110. The Original... Paul

    June 30th, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Maggie – thanks for the tip. The trailer interested me enough that I was probably going to check it out (I think that’s the first time I’ve said that about any film in the last two or three years!) but good to know that somebody really found something to love about it.

  111. The Original... Paul

    July 1st, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Maggie – just got back from “Hummingbird”. I’ve posted some very brief thoughts in the forums. I’ll leave the rest in case Vern does a review. I agree with you though. Definitely better than “Safe”, and I did like “Safe” although it didn’t blow me away.

  112. “They either thought the subject matter would be relevant, which is exploitive, or they didn’t think it would matter at all which is insensitive.” -Franchise Fred

    Although I agree with the Outlaw community on points of plot and action integrity, I couldn’t get past this stuff either while watching the film and was relieved to see Fred’s post.

    It wasn’t just that the focal crime was a public shooting, but they even reach for the stolid patriotism of the Duvall character, clinging to having “ALWAYS LIKED HIM” (Barr) and, you know, potentially hiding the important evidence that Barr was practicing his shooting, was a masterful shot*, etc. Because fuck that soccer mom who might rain her liberal bullshit down upon him, right?

    (Also the hooker’s name was Sandy. Sandy Hooker. Sandy Hook. But I guess she wasn’t a hooker, Jack just thinks she is at first. Okay, we’ll let that slide.)

    I don’t know a whole lot about McQ and whatever his politics might be, but I get the sense that he fancies himself a provocateur and might well be baiting me with all this shit. By way of evidence, Wikipedia has this to say of the production of Way of the Gun:

    McQuarrie started to write the script and “the first thing I did was to write a list of every taboo, everything I knew a cowardly executive would refuse to accept from a ‘sympathetic’ leading man”.

    Apparently he deleted this material but if you recall, the opening scene in the film is rather unpleasant. I’d hate to be reactionary but I find it unsettling how much McQ favors material that ranges from casually to aggressively misogynistic (casual: the useless defense attorney – “What will I do if I need you?!”; aggressive: Sarah Silverman in that WotG prologue; Jack’s treatment of Sandy maybe somewhere in the middle).

  113. *despite it being revealed that it wasn’t actually Barr performing the stellar marksmanship

  114. I´m spending my summer catching up on the Reacher-books. Just finished my first one; PERSUADER. It packed one helluva punch. Well-plotted and suspenseful.One of the best thrillers I have read in awhile. At the moment I am reading WORTH DYING FOR and so far it is not as great as PERSUADER, but I gather as much that even a lesser Reacher-adventure is better than most. Really enjoying my reading material this summer,which includes Dennis Lehane and Simon Kernick among others.

  115. We’re GETTING A SEQUEL!!!

    So Majestyk, have you read “Never Go Back”? That’ll be the basis for the sequel.


  116. Mouth is pleased.

    Consider one opening day ticket sold (and probably more tix the next weekend too).

    I’m also in the process of buying & reading the Child books, so… cha-ching all around.

  117. Great news RRA. Even better that they say McQuarrie is directing MI5 and may be doing JR2.

    His WAY OF THE GUN is an interesting exercise in style and dialogue that I’ve seen several times. Not perfect, but I keep going back to it.

  118. Fantastic news! I have a few more left to read including the new one and I have watched the movie several times. The problem with going straight to NEVER GO BACK is that it is part of an arc starting with 61 HOURS. But I am intrigued to say the least. Now i am awaiting the news of a DREDD sequel. Bring on the good news, internet. You owe us for last week!

  119. Ladies and gentlemen, we got ‘im.

  120. That’s cool. I liked that last one a lot despite all of my objections to the ridiculous casting of Cruise. It’s solid meat-and-potatoes action, and that’s not the kind of thing that gets franchised nowadays. Score one for the good guys, I guess.

    (It’s still not too late to replace Cruise with Matt Schulze, is it?)

    I think the book they’re adapting is one of the more recent ones, which I haven’t gotten to yet. I like to work my way through a series in order if at all possible, and I think I’m only (!) on the 12th book. Honestly, though, they all have such generic titles that it’s hard to keep them straight. It’s liked they’re named by filling a hat full of little slips of paper with generic tough guy cliches like NOTHING TO LOSE or DIE TRYING or ROCK AND A HARD PLACE (only one of which I made up) written on them. Pretty much any of their titles would work for any of their plots. I suspect it’s a ploy to get people to forget which ones they’ve read and buy the same books twice. It’s no wonder they’re probably going to go with JACK REACHER 2 instead of the real title.

  121. KILLING FLOOR is just called DOLLAR in Sweden, so that title is based on the plot at least.

  122. I once bought the UK paperback of RUNNING BLIND, which was called THE VISITOR, thinking it was a different book. Both titles are equally as noncommittal about describing the actual plot or themes of the novel, but the British version was a bit more accurate. There was, in fact, someone who travels somewhere he or she does not live. That is what happens, in the sense that you could use that title to describe roughly 75% of all narratives since the dawn of time.

    Sadly, this book I bought twice is easily the worst in the series. No action except for a pandering streetfight in the first chapter, and you can see the plot twist coming at least 200 pages before Child drops it on you like it was some “Bruce Willis was dead all along” shit. Reacher’s blend of Sherlock-style deduction and Mike Hammer-style retribution only works when the mix is right. This one tipped too far into unsatisfying closed-room mystery territory without enough physical thrills to balance out the tired plot mechanics.

  123. ECHO BURNING is probably my least favourite so far, although Child does a pretty good job of conveying the heat in a way. But yeah, THE VISITOR is only fun in the beginning. Having Reacher really being forced at doing something he is not himself committed to is pretty funny. He is one obstinate and stubborn motherfucker. In fact the entire story of NOTHING TO LOSE would probably not have happened if those asshole cops did not drive him out of town the exact way he came from. I seem to remember Reacher deciding whether he should let it go if they at least drove him out the other side of town. They did not.

  124. Also I had to doublecheck my paperbacks to make sure I was referring to the correct books.

  125. The plottwist of THE VISITOR I only remembered being frustrated at. I spent reading it too sparsly to really remember the details of the plot to really see it coming, bu when I found out who “dunnit” I moaned and groaned and the climax is terribly unsatisfying and as majestyk said there is no real action. the bodycount was surprisingly low and most of the time it was people sitting down explain the plot, which is something I don´t usually have a problem in thrillers. But with Reacher I expect an equal amount of cerebral thinking and bonesnappings.

  126. ECHO BURNING was decent, mostly because of the interesting setting. It really felt like a hot, unpleasant place to have to shotgun a bunch of people. One thing Child is really good at is setting up the chessboard in a way that you get more invested in how he moves his pieces around it.

  127. If you´ve read them in order, yeah I guess ECHO BURNING comes off as better than THE VISITOR. And I might actually right here and now revise my statement. It at least had an actionclimax and some detestable characters you love to hate in a Reacher novel, whereas in THE VISITOR it was just FBI being assholes. No news there. They are always assholes.

    I think at the time read it ECHO BURNING felt sooo slow compared to the others, but I think that was intentional from Childs part because what happens when you are in a really hot place? the whole slowness of it was part of it I guess.

    Still to this day, PERSUADER is my favourite. Probably the most straightforward plot of the whole series with lots of action and a backstory that made you care. In the swedish translation, when Reacher is fighting Paulie he is calling him *direct translation* a “girly blouse”. Which was pretty funny but is that correct american slang or what did he call him in the original?

  128. “Girly blouse” isn’t any American slang I’ve ever heard, but it is awesome and I may have to use it at some point. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t say what it was originally. Just based on the language, I’m wondering if it was “pantywaist”. That’s pure supposition on my part.

    I read the first few books in this series, but I just couldn’t get past the big coincidence in the 1st book. Every time I picked up a new book I would just get annoyed at it all over again. This summer my brother recommended I read the 2 books in the middle of the series that are actually before the 1st one in the timeline (when he was still in the Army). I did and I liked them, but I don’t really think they made the coincidence any less of a big, fat coincidence, but for some reason I made peace with it and decided to pick up the series again. Since it had been so long since I read those first few books I started at book one again. I’m stuck on book two because it’s been on hold at the library for-fucking-ever. I guess everyone has started reading them after the movie. I may have to break down and try finding them at the used bookstore.

  129. I agree that PERSUADER is the best. Not only does it have a title that’s actually distinctive, but it has a great throw-you-in-the-thick-of-it opening, a bunch of truly vicious and grotesque villains, a cool look into Reacher’s backstory, a random anti-aircraft gun at some dude’s house, and the ultimate expression of the series trademark in which everywhere Reacher goes, there’s some giant motherfucker who’s somehow even bigger than he is. I’m surprised they aren’t making that one, because it seems like a natural. You wouldn’t even have to hire an actual seven-footer to play the steroid monkey because everybody looks tall next to Cruise.

  130. I´m imagining Kevin Nash as Paulie. he did a great job as a cartoonish over the top villain in the Thomas Jane-Punisher movie

  131. Recently finished “Bad Luck and Trouble,” the eleventh Reacher book. I thought it was a good one but it’s the only one I’ve read thus far. Guess I’ll check out Persuader next.

  132. More Reacher discussions are welcome.

  133. Perhaps open up like a “Reachers Digest” on the forum?

  134. Why the newest book is being used for the sequel, well look at the plot: JR is accused of beating up some guy 16 years ago, also knocking up some chick….

    DING DING DING we have a winner! Teenage sidekick/possible love child to join JR in beating the shit out of people. I think Cruise had dollar signs in his eyeballs when he saw that.

  135. Shit, I saw this last xmas, so its been a year since this movie came out and for some goddamn reason its still pretty fresh on my mind. Remembering seeing the trailers over and over and thinking “this movie is gonna bomb and be totally forgotten,” it surprising how, while its definitely not gonna be on anyone’s mind in 2022, most people who actually saw the thing liked it. I personally enjoyed the hell out of it. I think the moment that really drew me in is that ridiculous scene in the office where the characters stop for a minute so Jack Reacher can share his philosophical ideas on the nature of freedom. Oh yeah, and Werner Herzog was the bad guy. best ‘strange but true’ casting I saw that year

  136. I think the sequel will do better business (open alot better too) than the first movie did. I mean JR was sold to the masses, it was held back by 2 things: (1) Most folks didn’t know or care who “Jack Reacher” was. (2) Like DREDD, both suffered for being films that could’ve done well back in the 1970s/80s, but now when the culture zeitgeist wet for them is gone.

    But anyway JR apparently did well in post-release on DVD and all that, so its gotten an audience now that maybe didn’t see it in theaters. Plus because we’re not dealing with CGI and greenscreens and aliens and shit (like that upcoming Doug Liman actioneer that Cruise did), you won’t be spending a small nation’s GDP but instead a modest budget (well for Hollywood at least) that will make global profit seem assured with Cruise who’s still got some global starpower left.

  137. Finally saw this. And what struck me was that the Jack Reacher character in the movie was so well defined, With so good dialog and actions, that absolutely anybody could have played him. And I guess that’s a good thing.

  138. Jesus, i know this is based on a series of books but I am actually kind of shocked to hear about this sequel business

  139. pegsman – If that is the case, then the movie did not a very good way of getting the character across. I love this movie, but Cruise does not have the intimidating tough guy persona to carry the role. And some of the characters minor quirks seem lost. Still, I don´t mind seeing more Reacher-movies and if Cruise is the one that can maek them happen, I´m for it.

  140. Shoot, I haven’t read any of the books – and I never will – so I’m not troubled by any differences between the written Reacher and the movie Reacher. All I’m saying is that this worked for me. And this is only the second Cruise movie I’ve been able to say that about.

  141. Spent my Christmas reading NEVER GO BACK and it was for the most part a terrific Reacher adventure. the first 300 pages felt non-stop, much like PERSUADER, it felt more forward moving with lots of stuff happening in a different way than some of the other books in the series where the deductive Reacher spend 90 % of the book deducing who whould get their asses kicked and why, ending in the last 10 % of the book with a bloodbath. The violence is more spaced out in the book, where someone gets their legs or arms broken occasionally.

    I think some of the criticism this one has gotten is due to the fact that the last part of the book is where all the exposition is taken place. I did not really mind, but i can see some people being disappointed with not having the usual bloodbath at the end.

    But the book is real fun,one of the best in the series, with lots of funny dialogue and some odd incidents on the way that has no importance to the plot but is funny and violent.

  142. Finished reading Persuader on your recommendation and you’re quite right about it being a wonderful read. Thus far I’ve read the first one: Killing Floor, Bad Luck and Trouble, and just started The Affair. All three was been fantastic reads.

    It’s funny, after seeing the film before reading any of those books and loving it so much. I can’t get over how big of balls Cruise has for even attempting to play this guy. I realize there really isn’t anybody in Hollywood who could play him truthfully but for Tommy to try it well… I wish I had his confidence in the real world.

    So much of Reacher is his formidable physical prowess and the guy who plays him has absolutely none of it. It’s too bad the films have to sidestep that part of this character altogether. Talk about a missing ingredient. It never bothered me before and how could it never knowing the books? Since getting a taste of this guys adventures it’s awfully difficult to look past this little detail.

  143. Very few attributes of the character from the books are manifested here by Mr Cruise. But there is one great line they added that wasn´t in the book ONE SHOT: “I´ll drink your blood from my boot”, which is actually something I imagine Reacher would say and is a good addition.

    I am halfway through BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE at the moment and it is great to see Reacher teaming up with Frances Neagley again. I always liked her since WITHOUT FAIL.

  144. I guess people like seeing average sized guys kicking ass too. Look at the success of the TV series BANSHEE. Jack Reacher in the movie had such good lines and did so many cool things that it didn’t really matter what he looked like. George Lazenby got to star in the best Bond film ever, but is still despised by a lot of fans. I’m certainly no Cruise fan, but I hope they make more Reacher films.

  145. pegs – I liked the movie and for me the height is not really an issue. Cruise just isn´t a convincing tough guy. Simple as that.

  146. I agree. And there are a lot of actors I would rather have seen as Reacher. But then again, the scene in the bar works so well because he isn’t a huge bear of a man. Even if they are five against one, it would never have played out convincingly if it had been Dolph who sat there. I think we just have to separate the Reacher from the books and the Reacher in the film, and all will be well.

  147. Hey, you don’t mess with the special investigators.

  148. That´s for damn sure.

  149. Sorry if this is repeat info, but I see where they just added this to Netflix instant (in the US, at least). Never underestimate they.

  150. pegsman – This talk about JR’s size reminds me of people online to this day who hate Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine because he’s taller than his comic book counterpart.

  151. Oh look, Christian Bale is butchering another beloved character of mine:


    Let’s examine Travis McGee’s characteristics and see how Bale stacks up, shall we?

    APPEARANCE: McGee is a tall, broad-shouldered blond with leathery skin from hard manual labor in the Florida sun. He is an impressive physical specimen who epitomizes man’s man. Bale is a pale, brown-haired Welshman of average height and build who has never worked a day in his life and is most famous for playing a character who never goes out in the daytime and whose second most famous character was proud of having the smooth, moisturized skin of a baby. He looks like a Ken doll given sentience and unlimited hair product.

    DEMEANOR: McGee is an easygoing beach bum who spends most of his life lounging on the deck of his houseboat and enjoying laid-back conversation with his many friends. Bale is arguably the least easygoing actor on earth, with a jaw-clenching intensity and barely suppressed rage that suggest constipation, as if his performance were an eggplant-sized chunk of compacted fecal matter that he is laboring mightily to expel from his body. Even his comedic roles consist of a highly mannered and often arch retinue of twitches, poses, accents, and other studied behaviors, diametrically opposed to the comfortable-in-his-own-skin laconicism of McGee. McGee is a sensitive, sympathetic soul and admirer of women in all their myriad forms and functions. Bale once screamed at his coworker in front of the entire world and beat up his own mom.

    This is arguably worse casting than Cruise as Reacher. Cruise is physically incompatible with the character but at least shares with Reacher a certain high-functioning sociopathy and exceptionalist remove. Bale possesses not a single quality, in body or soul, that recalls McGee in the slightest. It’s like casting Jonah Hill as Shaft.

    Seriously, Hollywood. There are dozens of hard-boiled detective characters that Bale would be suited for. Why this one?

  152. I mean, McConaughey is, like, RIGHT THE FUCK THERE.

  153. Well-founded complaints. #NotAllCastingDirectors want to mangle the men who populate Mr. M’s beloved bookshelf. Or maybe they do. They’re making money off your misery.

    I imagine what you’re going through is similar to my reaction to 99% of biopics. They’re almost all risible, wrong, wrongheaded, and disrespectful, and I can never understand why someone would choose to submit to a movie version of someone’s life story when there is so much better, informative written material and footage of the person who becomes the subject of one of these odious films. Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix? ‘The fuck outta here.

  154. If that’s the way Mangold wants to portray the character then Bale will BECOME that. He’s a human Transformer. It’s all in Mangold’s hands here.

  155. You have way more faith in Bale than I do, Vern. I mostly see the artifice in Bale’s performances. It worked in AMERICAN PSYCHO, because that role is about artifice. But McGee is lived in. McGee is a life spent finding the bedrock beneath superficiality. In that sense, Bale couldn’t be wronger.

  156. Bale is the guy who was a few skin tone gradations away from looking like he needed to blink away a herd of flies from his eyelid while some White Savior voice-over solicited 30 cents a day from us to assist him and his village.


  157. I respect Bale as a guy who can force himself to become something different. But you can’t force laid-back charisma. You can’t assemble a series of mannerisms that replicate it. You have it or you don’t.

  158. “But you can’t force laid-back charisma.”

    Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, man.

  159. Man, I would be thrilled to see Jeff Bridges as McGee. You shave him down, tan him up, get him to channel a little of his CUTTER’S WAY energy, he’s a perfect aging boat bum/knight errant.

  160. Dikembe Mutombo

    August 3rd, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    I feel like I remember someone on this site making a comment about Stone Cold playing Reacher and ever since then I’ve been imagining it and falling more and more in love with the idea. Let him grow out a blonde skullet (google “stone cold hair”) and you’ve got your man.

  161. I have no attachment to the property but I saw this tonight and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Probably the most satisfying action badass showcase I’ve seen in a while and it accomplished that with a PG-13 rating? amazing.

    I appreciated the resourcefulness and competence of this guy. Can’t reach your blade? use the rock right by your foot; car following you around all day long? you’ve literally had their number the whole time without giving it away. It’s all the fundamentals that function well with the badass archetype. Like a more restrained Jack Bauer.

    When it comes to convincingly playing intense and speaking without saying a word the Cruiser is one of the best A listers to ever do it and he hasn’t lost a step in his middle age. This one here proved it. Rosemund Pike I don’t think has ever looked as thick as she did here (I don’t mean that in a bad way). I also liked that they avoided an obvious Richard Jenkins plot twist by avoiding having a Richard Jenkins plot twist since it has become such a played out trope and example of typecasting with the guy.

    Herzog was pure presence everytime he was on screen. You felt so uneasy whenever he was around which is the aura that should ooze from the big bad in these type of movies. Jai Courtney showed some life and personality here something I didn’t get from the only other movie I’ve seen him in DIE HARD 5. Maybe he has what it takes to be a decent Kyle Reese after all.

    I dug the intimacy of the story. Badass drifter in a small town trying to get by without stepping on too many toes. Reminded me of the 70’s and early 80’s. I could see a William Devane or Burt Reynolds type in this role back then. My only real issue was the super Hollywood ending. Seemed too rosy and convenient for my taste and the superhero speech at the end was extra corny. Outside of the last 5 minutes though it’s pretty much a winner. Between this the last M:I and EDGE OF TOMORROW the Cruiser has won back my blind loyalty. He seems to have been picking winners for the most part lately though I did avoid OBLIVION (apparently wisely so).

  162. The DAYS OF THUNDER fan in me also appreciated the unexpected Cruise/Duvall reunion. Good call there Mr. McQuarrie.

  163. Dikembe Mutombo

    August 3rd, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Chris McQuarrie’s dedication to geography and clarity in action filmatism and his preference for a low-key 70s style sensibility make him pretty much my #1 guy who I need to see what he does next. So many movie shootouts have shots of guys shooting at something offscreen and you don’t know exactly where the guy shooting is positioned and aren’t exactly sure what direction he’s shooting in. There’s never a second of spatial confusion in Jack Reacher and it’s insane to me how rare that is, and how energizing it is to see pulled off right.

  164. It’ll be fun to see how McQuarrie does M:I 5.

  165. Love the books, loved the movie, love the Cruiser. But still, I just can’t wrap my mind around Tom Cruise being the same guy as the book version of Jack Reacher. The only way not to let my mind explode is to imagine Tom Cruise as a guy just like Jack Reacher. Just another guy with the same philosophy and training (there can’t only be one like Reacher?) and they share a common name, just like unknown dead guys are all called John Doe. Like a drifter codename. This way a MJW Jack Reacher character should be possible? :D Gina Carano as Jane Reacher?

  166. I´ve read all Reacher-books ( I am currently in the middle of PERSONAL) and I can seperate the books from the movie quite easily. Sure, Cruise isn´t the same Reacher as the Gospel of Lee Child has teached us, but like any book (even the BIBLE) there should be room for intepretations and that in the end makes it more interesting than to simply see the source material as a dogmatic text that must be followed religiously. I can´t wait for the next Cruise-film even though sadly it will not be directed by McQuarrie.

  167. I’ve just read Killing Floor, Die Trying, Tripwire and Bad Luck & Trouble in a week (I spend a lot of time on the bus), and I never picture Cruise as Reacher whilst reading. This is unusual for me because once I’ve seen a book adaptation on film or TV, I always picture the actors as the characters when I go back and read the book.

    I think the idea that there are no decent actors approximating Reacher’s stature is untrue; Kevin Durand, Chris Hemsworth, Dwayne Johnson, Ray Stevenson could all do it convincingly imho. My personal pick would actually be a younger Stevenson. Just make a load of lowish-budget HBO Reacher movies, with all the violence, sex and grotesque imagery from the books. If popular enough, start theatrical releases. It could be like a blue-collar American Bond series, but the character actually ages along with the actor/s.

  168. The Original Paul

    May 15th, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Dirk – it’s funny that you mention Hemsworth because I also thought immediately of him as a potential Reacher when reading KILLING FLOOR. I can’t imagine Dwayne Johnson in the role though. He’s a guy who intimidates through a combination of physical and vocal presence. Reacher’s a guy who is silent for a lot of the time. Take away Johnson’s voice and I suspect he’d be a lot less believable. That’s not meant as a knock against the guy by the way, it’s just how I think he “works” onscreen. He’s perfect for the quick-witted bounty hunter in FAST AND FURIOUS 5 / 6, but I can’t see him as Reacher somehow.

    The sense I got from Lee Child at the Q&A session where I (briefly) met him was that he was happy that anybody was filming his books. Which is completely understandable. It was Child himself who said that there are very few tall actors in mainstream roles, not me.

  169. Haworth is too genial. Teacher makes people uncomfortable. Ray Stevenson is my choice. A hulking brute with smart, sad eyes. Plus, his dodgy American accent would work for a guy who grew up entirely on Army bases on foreign soil.

  170. I’ve been reading Killing Floor, and I was thinking of Stevenson too.


  172. KILLING FLOOR is one of my favourites in the entire series. Usually he needs some other kind of wrongdoing to motivate his carnage and making it personal makes it also one of the most incredibly brutal and violent entries in the series.

  173. KILLING FLOOR has great setpieces (the dark house ambush really shows what kind of motherfucker this Reacher cat is, and the climax’s imagery would look phenomenal onscreen) but the plot twists were a bit too tidy for me. Economy of characters makes the world of the novel feel very small. Child got better at plotting as he went along, but he always had the gift of pace. His stories fuckin’ move, man.

  174. To quote Reacher:We are part of a demographic that are shit out of luck

  175. The romantic aspects that are addressed in the articles makes it likely that Reacher and Turners platonic relationship from the books might be turned into romantic leads, which makes me shudder.Well, at least they are not filming THE AFFAIR. Cause that book is the FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY of the Reacher-series and easily the fucking worst.

  176. NEVER GO BACK is a weird choice to make as movie nr 2. The premise is based around the relationship Turner and Reacher had built up during the preceding books. Oh, well.

    ***REDACTION*** I noticed I mentioned in my previous post that Turner and Reachers relationship was platonic. It wasn´t Turner I meant but Frances Neagly, whom he knew from the Army days. I don´t know what I meant here, to be honest. But I do know THE AFFAIR still sucks.

  177. Never Go Back? Huh.

    That book, it seemed like Child was making a bet with himself as to how little violence he could include and get away with it. I don’t think there’s a single on-page death.

  178. The trailer for NEVER GO BACK is here:

    Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Trailer (2016) - Paramount Pictures

    Watch the movie trailer for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, starring Tom Cruise! Jack Reacher is coming to theatres October 21, 2016. Jack Reacher: Never Go Bac...

  179. Elements from 61 HOURS seem to have seeped into this, which I am glad. The part with the dent on the desk was a backstory Reacher explained to Turner. Their whole relationship started with that book and was one of my favourite things about 61 HOURS. NEVER GO BACK-THE BOOK had a lot of funny lines which unfortunatly are not heard in this trailer, mostly generic tough guy talk.

  180. Well, shit. I’ve been slowly making my way through the series. I started back at least a decade or two ago, but then stopped reading them because I could never get over the coincidence in the first book *SPOILER* of him showing up in a random town and getting embroiled in a mystery just after his brother is killed there for getting embroiled in the same mystery. I had read a few more, but couldn’t let it go. A couple years ago my brother said if I read the 2 books that were prequels and then started over it didn’t seem like such a coincidence. I read them and still thought it was a pretty big coincidence, but guess I mellowed somewhat so I started over again.

    Anyway, the point was, I’m now up to Never Go Back and I need to decide whether I’m going to read the book first or see the movie first. Probably the movie. Historically, I’ve done a lot better that way. I can appreciate both for their differences, but if I read the book first I’m usually disappointed in the movie.

  181. I’ve been grumping about Bourne and Suicide Squad and feel some need to restore balance to the force, so here I am revisiting the Jack Reacher film. This was a good film that got better with repeat viewings. Reacher is the quintessential mysterious, laconic, itinerant, “They say he…” bad-ass. It feels on-location-y, it brings the Duvall and the Herzog, and even the much reviled Jai Courtney turns in what I regard as a pretty effective evil bad ass thug performance. It’s just fun. Herzog chewing the scenery. Reacher challenging 4 20-somethings to a fight and handing them all their asses in doggie bags.

    I hesitate to call the film a throwback, but it feels like the kind of modest, practical, action thriller joint that would have been made in the late 80s or early 90s. No time travel or superheroes or super soldier spy programs or cutesy layered meta-wink-winks. Just Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, and Werner Herzog each doing what only he can do, and a bunch of other solid supporting actors bringing these characters convincingly to life. Plus, some real oh shit moments of tension or Herzogian lunacy. I think of all of the Rage against the Macine sentiments I feel toward trends in contemporary theatrically released action films (or horror films for that matter), and then I look back to Jack Reacher as a shining remnant of what was and an existence proof of what is still possible.

    Also, I just want to say some things about Tom Cruise. Man, it’s easy to get bogged down in Scientology and couch-jumping and whatever else and just forget what a singular career this guy has had. He was headlining films back when Freddy Krueger and Schwarzenegger were at their peak, a solid decade+ before you had any idea who the hell Matt Damon or George Clooney was. He’s done straight-up action vehicles, quirky left-turn performances (I still say Vanilla Sky is a beautiful mess, plus Eyes Wide Shut, plus Magnolia), straight-ahead conventional Oscar bait dramatic actor stuff, sci-fi, spy movies, racing movies, historical epics, legal thrillers, etc., etc. I’m not saying he’s the greatest actor of his generation or that all of this films have been great, but some of them have been great, most of them has been good, and dude has been doing it like that consistent since before Rocky IV times, and he shows no sign of joining the senior’s tour trying to revive dead franchises or relive past glories. He’s moving forward on new stuff. Okay, maybe that Top Gun 2 thing will go forward, but my point stands. And, knock on wood, the guy could easily have another 20 or so good years in him.

  182. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016) - "Followed" Spot - Paramount Pictures

    Watch the movie trailer for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, starring Tom Cruise! Jack Reacher is coming to theatres October 21, 2016. Jack Reacher: Never Go Bac...

    This is definitely the Jack Reacher from part 1 that I love. Shit-talking, ass-kicking. Sign me up. On the downside, this Cobie Smulders needs to branch out a bit, and Tommy’s got a bit of that weird squinty puffy thing going on. It’s a trap, Tom; just let yourself age gracefully, my man!

  183. Yeah, I am up for this as hell. The new book is coming as well, so I am considering plowing through them yet again in preperation.

  184. Saw JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK last night at a preview screening, surprisingly director Edward Zwick was there to present it. I guess because it was filmed down here? Either way, some of you got to see John Carpenter live and I got to see Edward Zwick live, I think it is safe to say who won this fan measuring contest.

    Anyways, I never read the books so I can’t comment on that. I really dug the original and looked forward to this one and I do think the first one is better. This one adds a subplot/supporting character to humanize Reacher and like with this year’s THE CONJURING 2: CONJURE HARDER I preferred the first when it was just about professionals being good at their job and it was personal. That said, I don’t think it drags it down all that much because we get a sufficient amount of of Reacher being awesome. The action is not as clear as the first one but not aggravating or heartache induing (I guess I’d give it a 3 on the ACR?). Not as good or surprising as the original but I think it is worth a watch, sappy maybe-daughter-who-only-exists-to-humanize-Reacher-and-be-put-in-danger-at-the-end subplot and all.

  185. She was never his daughter in the book. But nobody really belived that anyway

  186. I will be seeing NEVER GO BACK tomorrow. It´ll be interesting to see what they made of this book. The climax in the novel is so unusually weak that I suspect Lee Child changed his mind in the writing process on where he wanted to go, but it was too late and we ended up with a copout.


    The climax is Reacher and Turner chasing the bad guys chasing the not-daughter through a Halloween parade and eventually across rooftops. SPOILER AGAIN Reacher eventually wins after a tough fight with bad guy (which is refreshing since the last three MISSION: IMPOSSIBLEs had Ethan Cruise Hunt getting beat up by wienies that in no way could take him no matter how beat up he was previously).

    Personal story time:
    I just learned a few minutes ago that if I went to the Sunday preview screening the next day (I had the option) I could have also seen Tom Cruise and Cobie Smulders along with Edward Zwick. Unlike when I went, Zwick just introduced the movie and left but apparently for the Sunday showing Zwick, Cruise, and Smulders actually fielded questions from the audience. I really wish I was unaware of that information because now I wish I would have rescheduled to Sunday which I had thought about doing. The road not taken… *end semi-livejournal mourning*

  188. The ending worked for me. The action is as blandly directed as you’d expect from Zwick (the directorial equivalent of those Adult Contemporary artists that win a bunch of Grammys but you’ve never met anyone who listened to them) but the badass beats are set up and paid off well enough to earn their catharsis.

  189. At this point, I’m waiting for video. If they maintain basic continuity with the spirit of Cruise’s interpretation of Reacher and some good beatdowns, it will be well-worth the money. It will be hard to top the supporting cast they put together last time, though. We had Herzog, Duvall, Jai Courtney actually acquitted himself well, Gone Girl, Bone Tomahawk guy (Gone Girl’s dad, the D.A.), and the cop guy from Selma. Clear as I can tell, this one’s got…um, Agent Coulson’s understudy.

  190. I very much enjoyed JACK REACHER 2:NEVER BACK DOWN, althouh it clearly is clearly made to be more audience friendly than the previous effort. Gone are the dry procedural plotting and the occasional bad ass beating. Instead a family dynamic between two other characters develop and a lot more bad ass beatings. As interesting teh family dynamic sounds and to see Reacher inhabit such a role, which never happens in the books, it also gives me a sense of slightly ever more feel of compromising the character, because of a wider audience than the readers. They made the mistake of making Reacher too much of a indistinguishable action movie badass in the first one and now they went the other way instead and perhaps too emotional.

    But I think it is done really well, and they cleaned up the messy plot of the book ( but unfortunatly removed some of the weirder aspects of it) and made the relationship between Reacher and his daughter(?) feel more natural than in the book.

    There is also a lot more action, and the fights are done well and I cannot believe anyone being confused by them even thoiugh they are shot up more close and has slighty faster rhytm to the editing.

    I had a good time with it, as expected, and the complaints I have may be just arbitrary ones coming from a connoisseur of the Reacher novels.

  191. I haven’t read NEVER GO BACK ye (I’m rationing the books out and I’m only up to A WANTED MAN) but it felt very much in line with the character as I’ve experienced him thus far. I got into the groove of the family dynamic pretty fast, even though there was nothing like that in the many Reacher books I’d read so far. I didn’t mind this installment being a bit schmaltzier than the others, because I know Child likes to change up the format a little bit every time out to see how Reacher would react. But I also know that he’s more than willing to walk it all back to the status quo next time out if it fundamentally changes what makes the series work. Remember that two-book stretch when Reacher had a girlfriend? It was an interesting change of pace but it wasn’t good for the series overall, so it went away. I assumed that’s what would happen with the “daughter” character, so I didn’t sweat it when it seemed like they were using her as an excuse to soften Reacher. I liked that it made Reacher, who’s usually pretty smug about his lifestyle choices, wonder about what damage he’d left in his wake while he was walking the earth being awesome, without actually giving him a reason to change his MO. We don’t want Reacher to change, after all. He’s perfect the way he is. But it’s fun to see him question that once in a while.

    I got some other thoughts on what the plot and character dynamics say not just about Reacher but about Cruise’s screen persona, but I’ll save them for the review proper.

  192. Petty question: Does Cruise look weird and puffy? He did in the trailer. It was a little jarring, because there is no sign of this in Reacher 1.

  193. Maybe? I don’t know, I think he looks pretty fuckin’ good for a guy in his fifties. He maybe looked a little scruffier than usual, I guess, but that’s good. Reacher is scruffy.

  194. I’ll take. I like the age naturally scruff more so than the age-botoxically puff. But I am superficial like that. Either way, both you and Shoot like it, so that’s a strong positive signal.

  195. I’ll take… IT! :)

  196. As long as you’re willing to accept that Zwick has none of the thriller chops that McQuarrie has and don’t expect another cold, precise action procedural, you should like it. The emphasis this time is more on the characters than the plot, so the visuals are largely perfunctory. Zwick seems more comfortable with drama than action, but that’s kind of what this particular story needs anyway. I can see why he was tapped for this installment and not McQ.

  197. Skani: Thanks for throwing me under the bus! I liked it too but only Shoot’s and Majestyk’s enjoyment count! Weak!

    Cruise gets a shirtless scene and I thought he looked natually “well-built” or whatever. Not too ripped (Zack Synder would be unable to cast him in anything sadly) but definetly, convincingly, looks like he could take on the guys he takes on.

    *Just joking with you by-the-way

  198. Geoffrey, everyone around here knows your opinion doesn’t mean shit. Shoot and Majestyk are the tastemakers around here. Actually, sorry, I think I just missed you upwards a bit kin the thread. So, the Vern peanut gallery rotten tomatoes is at 100% so far.

    I’m sure Cruise looks great for 54, and I know the guy’s currently in better shape than I’ve ever been, despite our age difference. I also promise that I don’t have Tom Cruise posters in my room, nor am I plotting to kill him and then wear his skin. Didn’t mean to make a whole big thing about it, but when I watched the Reacher 2 trailer, he seemed to be looking really noticeably weird and puffy. It registered as significant precisely because I was not looking for it, like, “Hmmn, wonder how Tom’s looking these days?” It was really more like I was just plugging along, ready to geek out on the trailer, but then, a couple of frames in, I’m thinking, “What the fuck, he looks he just all the sudden got into the botox kinda crazy, and I know his face didn’t look like this in part 1.” Maybe it was some bad shrooms.

  199. I’ll save my comments on the movie itself for the official review, but I did think Cruise looked a little off, too. He was puffy, but not in a botox way so much as retaining water due to lots of salty food and booze way. That could be an aging thing, though.

  200. What the hell is this? GQ Magazine all of a sudden? I think Cruise looks more legitly old than for example fellow contemporary Johnny Depp whose youth looking appearance is starting to get creepy.

  201. Speaking as someone who’s old as fuck and ugly as hell, I have to say that NO-ONE ages naturally anymore!

  202. To quote UNDISPUTED 3: “You ancient fuck!”

  203. Or, “You’re only as old as the woman you feel”, as my reprobate uncle Bob used to say before he got locked up.

    But seriously, Vern commented on Cruise’s weathered looks in ROGUE NATION as a positive for the guy, and yeah I agree. He’s ageing very well as a solid tough guy character actor, while retaining his movie star qualities.

    “Weird and puffy”, is Michael Madsen in THE HATEFUL EIGHT, or Meg Ryan 24/7.

  204. You have an uncle named Bob?

  205. Terminator 2 Uncle Bob

    Things take a turn for the worst when the unsuspecting Enrique discovers that the terminator is actually the deceptive and diabetic Uncle Bob

  206. Yeah, but not that uncle Bob. Mine got sent upstate for being gropey. This one became Governator.

  207. So he became The Gropeynator?

  208. The wife was out last night so I used the evening to rewatch Die Hard as I hadn’t seen it since Christmas 2015. THAT’S 2 YEARS!

    Anyway, then I rewatched Reacher and as I always do when I watch a movie I reread Vern’s review (if there is one).

    All of that is a long preamble to this… in the review it says: “And since it’s Tom Cruise it’s hard not to think of A FEW GOOD MEN or the Tom Clancy movie he did.”

    What movie are you talking about when you say “the Tom Clancy movie”? Super curious.

  209. Oh geez. I must’ve meant to write John Grisham. That’s what the “lawyer book” comment after that leads me to believe.

  210. Have you guys seen that they’re making a Reacher TV show on Prime? I don’t know, but I think it might be a mess. They got an actor that looks like he could pull off the physical aspect of Reacher that’s so central to the character but if the preview accurately represents the show, it’s much too light hearted. Sure, Reacher is a smart ass, but he’s also an asshole, but even more important is under his smart ass, pedantry is a meanness that has to come through. As terribly cast as Cruise was in capturing the physical representation of Reacher, he had that depth of meanness.

  211. I’m a die hard Reacher fan, have read all the books (well, up until Lee Child decided to outsource the writing to his brother) but unlike some, I didn’t consider Cruise’s casting as a violation of some Holy Writ. Yes, Reacher’s intimidating physicality is part of his bad-ass armor, but you want to launch a movie franchise off a wildly successful series of thriller novels, who better than an A-List Mega-Watt Hollywood Superstar to headline it? But yeah, if all they got was the physicality of the character right for the TV series but then proceed to dilute what a stone cold tactician of a motherfucker Jack Reacher can be, then hard pass for me.

  212. I’m talking out my ass here because all I’ve seen are little online ads with the sound off, but more important than Reacher’s size is his intelligence. Some actors radiate intelligence and some actors don’t. I’m gonna say whoever this big hunk of beef jerky they got in that ad does not. But who knows? Maybe it all changes when he opens his mouth.

  213. The new REACHER dude looks a bit like the ARROW dude*, Michael Shannon and John Cena got Brundlefly’d. Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing.

    *Could actually be Chris O’Donnell, current tests are inconclusive.

  214. No, Majestyk, unfortunately that is not the case. Eh, maybe I’m being too harsh on him. I’m trying to be more positive. This guy was Aquaman in like 2-3 episodes of Smallville and more recently he was Hawk in the HBO show Titans. I liked him in both roles, but I would not say he exuded much intelligence.

  215. Micropenis guy from NEW GIRL is Jack Reacher?

  216. Oh shit, that’s how I recognize him. Yeah, that’s not very encouraging.

    He just seems so…happy. So all-American. (Remember, Reacher is half French and did not grow up in the U.S.) Just a sweet, simple jock who likes fishing and barbecuing. The kind of guy who was popular in high school, got married right out of college, and thinks everybody in the whole world is swell because he’s a big handsome white dude who smiles a lot and people treat that kind of guy differently than the rest of us losers. Compare that to Reacher, who nobody is ever happy to see and I can’t picture smiling for any reason at any time unless it’s a calculated play to throw an opponent off guard. Just the wrong vibe entirely.

    My pick was always Matt Schulze. He has that meanness that Maggie was talking about.

  217. It’s interesting that they’re doing a show about Reacher in the current political/social climate. Are they purposefully doing it as a fuck you to small town, conservative, middle America? Or are they going to soften that somehow? Or are they just banking on the audience not realizing the Reacher books have always been an indictment of that? Probably a combination of the last two.

  218. Are they, though? I feel like Reacher finds corruption wherever he goes, be that the city or the country or anywhere in between. If the books are a takedown of anything, I’d say they’re a takedown of systems in general. Reacher once believed he was part of something bigger than himself, and now he does not and is much more effective. That’s really more of a right-wing concept at present.

  219. Yeah, but he doesn’t go to cities. At least not big ones. He’s always in a small town in middle America dealing with corrupt, greedy people.

  220. If Christopher McQuarrie hadn’t discovered that you can get some decent work out of Cruise if you tell him to drop all his previous facial expressions and just move around, we wouldn’t even be discussing the Reacher movies. And since McQuarrie and Child are producing the series I have some faith in that they will be able to do it again with Ritchson. Would have loved to see Chance Kelly as Reacher, though.

  221. Maggie: Mostly, yeah, but not always. Small towns are easier to do action in because they don’t have cops and cameras on every block, but Reacher’s been to New York a few times. D.C. as well, plus several major cities in Europe. Evil lies everywhere in Reacherworld.

  222. True, but usually when he goes to the big cities it’s because he’s roped in to some bigger investigation and working with the military or the feds. I like how they mix him up where sometimes it’s one of those stories and sometimes it’s the middle of nowhere, small time evil guys. I can’t say I prefer one to the other. It’s nice to get a mix.

  223. I always thought most of the Reacher books were set in small towns because they were essentially modern Westerns. A lone cowboy/wanderer comes through a town, discovers evil, vanquishes it and then rides away/moves along. A big city eco system with it’s myriad branches of law enforcement agencies doesn’t quite provide the same vibe. But I too prefer it when Child mixes up the settings. There were a spate of Reacher books that just had the big guy going through a succession of small towns in the grip of a Big Bad and it kinda got same-y.

  224. Anyone else watching the JACK REACHER TV show on Prime? I’m 3 eps in and it’s pretty good. Not trying to be prestige television, just a well-executed, no-nonsense re-telling of the source material. Ritchson is fucking huge and appropriately intimidating, but they haven’t forgotten that Jack Reacher is always, always the smartest guy in the the room. Frankenstein’s monster meets Sherlock Holmes. I’m still trying to figure out whether Ritchson’s, let’s say, understated acting style is working for me or not.

    I’m not frustrated with the pacing, but I wish they’d gone with a more episodic approach instead of adapting a book per season, especially since Amazon will probably cancel it after two seasons anyway. Eight hour-long episodes seems like too much time to spend on the light, breezy reads that Jack Reacher books tend to be.

    I liked the movie a lot, but this is probably what a Jack Reacher adaptation should have been in the first place.

  225. Yeah, I’m liking it.

  226. A laconic reply worthy of Jack Reacher himself.

  227. 2 episodes in , and loving it. While I suppose it is a faithful adaptation of Child’s first Reacher book, the vibe I’m getting is those 80s actioners that would have starred Arnie if it had a decent budget and a theatrical window and maybe Dolph if you halved it and sent it direct to your local video shelves. It’s ultimately about an intimidating hunk of muscle punching assholes in the face (I’m selling that short, because the bruising fight scenes are pretty terrific). Very meat and potatoes, but ultimately it works for me because sometimes all I need is…an intimidating hunk of muscle punching assholes in the face.

    A shout out to Willa Fitzgerald’s Deputy Roscoe, who in an earlier incarnation several decades ago, would be there to serve 2 primary purposes; a damsel in peril for the hero to rescue and a sexual conquest who gives it up somewhere at the 40 minute mark (I’m sure this is gonna happen eventually, it is a Reacher tale after all), but Fitzgerald imbues the character with a lot of spunk, determination and wry humor to balance out the testosterone overload.

  228. Oh yes, big 80s energy. I like how Reacher cannot enter or exit a bar without a gang of toughs inexplicably trying to pick a fight with him in the parking lot. The fights aren’t martial arts extravaganzas, but they well-shot, brutal and absolutely sell Reacher as an unstoppable force. The prison fight in episode two is a particular highlight.

  229. Besides getting the casting right this time, I’m surprised at just how good the dialog is. These days almost anybody can make decent action scenes. But to get the talking bits between them right is a lot harder. And a shout out to Malcom Goodwin for making Finlay a really cool square.

  230. I watched the whole thing over the weekend and really liked it. Like I said back when the trailer dropped, I was afraid it was going to be too light-hearted and quipy but it wasn’t. I was happily surprised at Richison, especially being able to convey Reacher’s intelligence. I totally bought it when he was talking but I wish we could’ve seen more of it on his face when he was still. His face was the same when he was just looking at someone as a neutral thing and when he was a second away from ripping their head off. And maybe that’s true to the character – I can’t remember if he’s generally opaque like that. But as a viewer of a show and not a reader in his head, I’d like to see the wheels turning a bit more. But that’s just nitpicking. I thought it was great overall.

    One moment that I loved as it showed his character so clearly was when he was strangling the lawyer to get him to print out his case file and then made him staple it together. He’s such an asshole and I love it.

  231. Just to be clear: This season solves the mystery and they don’t drag it out to the next season, right? One book per season. We all know that Amazon is gonna cancel it soon because they are Amazon, so I don’t wanna start watching it unless I get an ending for the story.

  232. CJ – yes, one storyline throughout the season, which is mostly the first book with a few tidbits pulled in from later books to give his history, plus a few new additions for small details, and it all ties up.

  233. Okay, sounds good to me.

  234. I’m glad the guy proved all the naysayers wrong. I don’t have Amazon Prime so I don’t know how I’ll see this but I’ve liked the guy in everything else I’ve seen him. He made that Titans show watchable so I’m glad people are giving him his flowers for a role he actually turns out to fit well. Unlike the office guy as Jack Ryan.

  235. I still miss Hap and Leonard, which also did a book per season…but they only did six 40-some minute episodes so the pace was really peppy. And it got canceled right before what sounded like a GREAT book was gonna get done and may have brought Don Johnson’s character from Cold in July in…and who knows since the same guy did Cold and the show, my hope was Johnson was going to be in it (then I found out it’s not coming back).

  236. Binged all 8 episodes yesterday. My only complaint was that Child’s twisty mystery needed to have been better laid out, especially across 8 episodes and especially when your main mode of exposition is via characters unravelling the conspiracy speed-talking like they’re auditioning for the next Aaron Sorkin film.

    But it was oodles of fun, maintaining that 80s vibe right up to the end, tossing in Gold Standards from that period, like the obligatory sex scene, even more obligatory visit to a strip bar and a climax set in a giant blazing warehouse where 2 women and a couple of kids are in dire peril, waiting for the rescue from strong, capable and committed men.

    And…they’ve greenlit a Season 2. Can’t wait. Hope they do the 2nd Reacher Book DIE TRYING , which I recall is Reacher taking on a sinister Militia (is there any other kind) which lends itself to a more action oriented treatment.

  237. I’m not surprised that they ordered a second season, but I will be surprised if we get a third, because Amazon gotta Amazon.

  238. I’m three episodes in and I don’t hate it yet. It’s a miracle.

    Though I am reminded that KILLING FLOOR was one of Child’s sloppiest plots. I never really bought the central coincidence, and then there’s another big stretch coming up that throws credulity out the window. But I guess nobody really reads Reacher for the plots.

    Micropenis Guy quickly won me over with his central mode of bemused detachment, but did anyone else notice that he has the dorkiest walk known to man? He takes these little ass steps and barely moves his arms. He walks like a seven foot tall dwarf. I don’t know if it’s a character choice or what but I can’t not see it every time he’s in motion.

  239. As a student of great walkers, I kinda like Ritchson’s walk. He’s no match for giants like Henry Fonda, Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Timothy Olyphant and Pedro Pascal, but he has something interesting going on. I haven’t seen him walking in anything else, so it could be that it’s Reacher’s walk. And if so, it’s not a bad choice.

  240. I think he’s trying to do a rigid military posture coupled with short strides to show that he is methodical in his approach, but he ends up looking like a toddler with a load in his drawers. Part of Reacher’s deal is that he is kind of an alien visiting the Earth planet and trying to learn its ways so it kind of works conceptually that he can’t even walk like a human, but man, it does not do him any favors in terms of coolness or toughness.

  241. You could be right about the military posture. But in a world of boring walkers I’ll take strange over ordinary. He reminds me a little bit of Peter Murnik on JUSTIFIED and Lance Riddick from BOSCH/JOHN WICK. Both have a strange way of walking, but you just can’t look away.

  242. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lance Reddick walk, but man, can that guy stand straight!

  243. I just figured he walked that way because he’s trying to not pull a hamstring. Just carrying that much weight around can fuck you up.

  244. Inspired by all the love it’s getting here, I am five episodes in with Reacher and completely on board with it, which I really did not expect. I have no baggage whatsoever with Ritchson, as I don’t ever remember seeing him in anything before, but he nails the cocky savant thing, as well as the being built like a brick shithouse thing, which everyone tends to focus on about Reacher to the detriment of the former. I liked Cruise’s Reacher, but I’m pleased they’ve been able to move away from the movie star’s need for a character to be immediately likeable.

    But yeah, I was wondering about the dorky walk. I love that you all are putting it down to characterisation and acting choices. I’d dismissed it as Ritchison muscling up for the part and still trying to work out how to walk and not have his thighs chafe. I’d say “looking like a toddler with a load in his drawers” is classic for someone who’s recently overdone leg day.

    CJ, Bosch ran for seven seasons on Amazon (and counting), did the character and the novels proud, and was probably the best English-language procedural we’ve seen in recent years.

  245. Borg, yeah, sometimes they have a hit show that is allowed to run longer, but in general Amazon’s M.O. seems to be “We advertise our new show heavily for one weekend, then cancel it, if it fails to become a popculture sensation or awards darling during the next three weeks. Most of their shows that actually got a 2nd season only seemed to got that far, because they were renewed before season 1 even dropped.

    Which makes the many seasons of BOSCH even more baffling, because while it is well liked, it never won any awards and nobody ever talks about it.

  246. Isn’t that every streaming service, though? Shows tend to get more expensive as they continue, while viewership tends to stay the same or peter off. That’s fine in the old model, where ad revenue on each episode still brings in money for a successful but flagging show. But streaming services seem to measure a show’s profits by how many new viewers (i.e. subscribers) they bring in. So if a show is watched by millions of people but they’re the same millions of people who’ve been watching it since the beginning, it is no longer turning a profit and should be replaced with a new show, which has the potential to bring in new customers. I’m sure they all have an algorithm that works it down to the tenth decimal point. I doubt there are any humans involved at all in the decision to renew shows anymore. The algorithm says the numbers don’t add up, so the show gets the ax.

    It sucks but that’s what happens when art stops being individual pieces and just becomes an unending flow of content.

  247. Nobody really knows by what streamers measure success, since they keep all numbers to themself, but it’s odd how Netflix has the image of “the premature canceller”, when Amazon is much worse.

    Although thinking about it, I guess it’s because Netflix is more visible. They do some real heavy advertising, even for most of their B- and C- show, while Amazon just seems to dump most of their stuff with little fanfare and then wonders why nobody cares. Every time I talk about great Amazon shows, I am surprised how few people have even heard of PATRIOT or JEAN-CLAUDE VAN JOHNSON.

  248. Yeah in general I bet Amazon shows have a way smaller viewership than Netflix. This is why few know or care, and why they’re splurging on Lord of the Rings.

    If you look at Youtube shows, it’s interesting to see the stats, not talking about a streamer or someone doing essays, but narrative shows. The first comes out and gets a million views. The next will drop to 700,000. And the next, even less. It’s rare to see different it seems, I’m sure it happens. By the time you get to year three of an average show, probably way less. You need something that really grabs a fan base and keeps them, and try to keep the costs down.

  249. But Majestyk is right, it’s just a flow of content so it doesn’t matter, it’s Moneyball now. There’s not so much a guy saying he’s gonna take a chance on this thing and stay the course…although it could be argued that tv was always this way, if ratings are bad they got killed. Movies are different, you’re taking a one time chance unelss it’s a sequel.

  250. Jean-Luc’s death was the best, Chad’s was acceptable but D-Day needed his cane shoved somewhere appropriate. Just wish Reacher was walking away with Finley’s love of anthem rock lol

  251. The funny walking didn’t really stand out earlier but I’m on episode 3 and laughed hard as well when he walked out of and then back into the bar. Absolutely no swag whatsoever but I’m liking the show for the same reason I liked the movie. He sells everything else with conviction and kinda reminds me of Dolph in one of his peak era movies. This is absolutely top tier streaming TV shit like Doom Patrol and Cobra Kai and I am so glad it exists. Surprise of the year so far.

  252. In episode 6 we see him running really fast, and there’s nothing funny about that. So, I guess Vince is right, it’s not Ritchson’s own way of walking we see. Reminds me of the first time me and my wife saw The Mandalorian walk. We were both convinced it was Timothy Olyphant. Looks like copying someone elses walk has become a thing now that every other character wears a mask. I still like Reacher’s walk, though.

  253. “This is absolutely top tier streaming TV shit like Doom Patrol ”

    Shit man, I just recently started DOOM PAROL out of boredom, expecting it to be like the other DC shows and nobody ever told me how deliciously weird it is.

  254. Also, I noticed that his walk was less dorky when he wasn’t walking next to someone. He still walks like a stiff but less like he’s just had back surgery. I suspect what I was noticing was what happens when a very tall person has to adjust his gait in order to keep pace with a normal-sized human. I apologize for my unwarranted slander.

  255. I have read that the great martial artist Lateef Crowder is often the one under the mask for The Mandalorian (in addition to being the stunt double). So it is possible his walk is the one that you like.

  256. I know it’s not always Pascal under the mask but I’ve wondered what the ratio is of how often it’s him. I don’t really want to know, though, because I want to believe that it’s more often him than not.

  257. Has anybody else seen comments disappear today? I left one that vanished almost instantly about how the REACHER finale was great except for two things: 1. The psycho son should have had a way more fangorious death (falling back into a pile of burning boxes is what you do when you don’t want to show your hero engaging in cold-blooded murder, which is clearly not a problem for Reacher–honestly, it’s sort of a Disney princess move) and 2. I didn’t think the casting of Adult Joe worked (the Secret Service lady mistakes Jack for Joe twice when they have no resemblance whatsoever. He didn’t even look at tall).

  258. I don’t see your comment in the spam folder or anywhere but I will keep an eye out for issues. (Not reading the rest of your comment because I’m only 2 episodes in and don’t remember what happens in the book.)

  259. Funny that you mentioned that running scene in episode 6, Pegsman, as I agree that was not dorky. But Ritchson has a very low arm carry, which may just be his style but could be a choice either to represent US army running style or to distinguish himself from Tom Cruise. Tom has great arm movement marred only by his fully extended fingers, which is a waste of energy and would add tension in reality slowing him down. I always figured Tom ran that way because it looks so cool on film.

  260. Speaking of deaths, only one one annoyed me in REACHER, a series which on the whole has impressed me with it’s terrific and brutal choreography of beat downs:

    After expertly taking down 4 guys in a home invasion scenario, Reacher suddenly forgets his combat training just in time to have his ass handed to him by a scrawny runt whose combined weight most likely equals Reacher’s left thigh. And who has been established in previous episodes as nothing more than the Town Rich Man’s asshole nephew, a useless hanger on, following Rich Man’s son around. And he’s suddenly pulling out RAID-level moves. And Reacher has to resort to the old “pump him full of bullets” as his finishing move. C’mon, it’s one thing when that’s Mel Gibson’s coup de grace on Jet Li as there’s no other conceivable way he’s winning that fight, quite another when your Hero whose muscles have little muscles of it’s own, established as a skilled fighter needs to resort to it for an opponent less than half his size.

  261. Ok, sorry, since I saw The Mandalorian being dropped into the conversation, I gotta rant a bit here:

    Dank Farik!Do I feel sorry for Temuera Morrison and Ming Na Wen, 2 actors I really like for the dumpster fire of a script they were handed (the galaxy’s most feared bounty hunter…listening to petitions and chairing meetings…who thought this was a great idea??) , one which even the writers had no confidence in, so much so, in Episode 5, THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT essentially morphs into THE MANDALORIAN SEASON 2.5. Morrison and Wen are ruthlessly sidelined, as we continue with the Mando story arc, with a succession of favorites popping up (Asokha Thano, Timothy Olyphant, R2D2, the Walking Advertisement for a billion dollars in Plushy Toy Sales and….Luuuuuuuuuuuuuke!!!).

    Look, I totally nerdgasmed at the Training Scenes, where you now get a Skywalker training a Yoda instead , I’m invested in Mando’s journey and his 2 minute reunion with Grogu packed more emotional punch than 4 hours of seeing Boba Fett strike deals or dreaming about his past where he got out of the Sarlacc pit and became Dances With Tuskens, but save it for Season 3!!

    They kinda swing back to Boba and give him his due in the final episodes, almost a half hour of terrific, sustained action, mixing up Western shoot outs, Battle Scenes and even a Kaiju Vs Mecha match, but it just adds up to one weird, disjointed viewing experience as a whole.

    Morrison deserved better.

    This is NOT the way.

  262. “ the galaxy’s most feared bounty hunter…listening to petitions and chairing meetings”

    Whether I like it or not, mocking the absurd inanity of modern television has become part of my brand. Shit like this is gonna put me out of business. How can you even parody something like that?

  263. He’s not even GOOD at listening to petitions and chairing meetings. He calls a meeting, then everyone involves says “Fuck that guy, I’m going to do what I was going to do anyway.”

    Riveting stuff.

  264. About Boba Fett – There are maybe like 2 or 3 minutes of the 5 or 6 hours spent on these meetings you talk about. There’s other shit that happens. Also, there’s nothing wrong with those meetings. Also also, the moment we learned that the series existed we knew this would be part of it because it was presented as “what if Boba went and took over Jabba’s palace”?

    I know this is the unpopular opinion but I really like the show and the coolest thing about it is that they didn’t do the bullshit show that everybody would’ve imagined for decades where it’s just about him being a bounty hunter with a cool helmet who likes disintegrating people. I know that’s partly because they already have a show about a bounty hunter with an identical helmet, but I love that they took advantage of that situation to treat this action figure as an actual character who can evolve. They asked how he could’ve survived and then how that would’ve changed him. They also knew that a really cool actor played the guy he was cloned from in the prequels and gave him 5 episodes of sci-fi western to star in. That doesn’t happen every day.

    Yes, that’s 5 out of 7, because it swerves off and becomes mostly about The Mandalorian for two episodes – yes, so? Is there a law against that? Is it bad to do something you didn’t see coming? To me, no. To me the best modern Star Wars stuff is when they ground you in the stuff you love and then trick you into going somewhere you didn’t predict.

    Robert Rodriguez directed most of the episodes, and his filmmaking here is chintzier than both The Mandalorian and his best movies. (The episode by animator Dave Filoni has by far the best direction, I think.) But he does have fun, especially in the last episode where he has some Hong Kong inspired gun fights, at least one subtle nod to DESPERADO and, uncharacteristic for him, a really good use of a CG character! Maybe he did learn some stuff from working with James Cameron.

  265. I do not like the show very much, but not for the same reasons a lot of people seem to. I like that they’ve decided to take Boba Fett from an amoral bounty hunter to a leader who values loyalty and respect. I like the Mod Squad. I like that he takes off his helmet all the time. I like the meetings! I wish there were more of them!

    My main problem with the show is that Boba Fett’s character and motivations are so poorly defined. He claims that he wants to be the new Daimyo and to “rule with respect”, but he spends the whole series being passively pushed around by everybody. He never displays any cunning or strength or anything that would command respect. He seems completely disinterested in crime. And for one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy, he seems completely naive and clueless about the criminal underworld. The part where Fennec Shand had to spell out to Boba Fett that he could use money to buy muscle made me laugh out loud. Honestly, he seems like a complete dumbass.

    Also, I don’t know what is up with the flashback structure. It started out strong with the Tusken Raiders, but ended up being a bunch of A to B to C busywork to explain things that didn’t need explaining. His Bacta-nap flashbacks just drag things out until we’re three episodes in before he does anything interesting.

    Finally, as someone who grew up worshipping EL MARIACHI and DESPERADO and reading Rebel Without a Crew, it gives me no joy to say that the Rodriguez directed action scenes are beyond “chintzy” and are just embarrassingly bad, although the final episode had some cool moments.

  266. Speaking of walking, I have never seen Reacher or read the books but a friend has both, I asked about the walking and he said that Reacher is described as lumbering and other words along those lines, so he said he noticed and it seemed like they were trying to approximate that. No on lumbers in a cool or slick way.

    As for The Mandalorian supposedly in the first season it’s mostly doubles, then SUPPOSEDLY in the second it’s a lot more whatshisname. But I remember an interview from awhile back and he said he had worked with Lateef and the other guy (two people were doubles at least) and they figured out the moves and walks and stances together so they were all on the same page. So it’s kind of interesting, that character is a real blend.

  267. I was interested in Boba Fett since for once it sounded like there might be a cool underworld show that doesn’t have The EMpire or remnants of the Empire or Jedi or tie-ins…which is what Mandalorian sounded like until it got tied in to everything. But nope, in this age of Marvelization we gotta make sure to put in a bunch of other character so they can have spin-offs and visit Luke even though Grogu had his own show. Ugh. LOVE Temura in anything though. His scene with Ewan in the second prequel was the best scene in that flick…it was like suddenly you get a REAL TOUGH GUY and not some actor or child doing CG flips showing up and acting like he’s going to break a bottle and shove it in someone’s throat, and Ewan stands toe to toe.

    I am looking forward to the Obi Wan show, mostly because of Ewan coming back, he’s so damn good in that part.

  268. I think there’s enough sci-fi coming out, and even enough Westerns coming out, that we don’t have to settle for a mediocre trudge like Boba Fett. 1883 blows it out of the way. Justified blows it out of the water. The Mandalorian blows it out of the water. Firefly *still* blows it out of the water. And if it’s not trying to be a Western… if it’s trying to be a crime show… that’s an even more crowded genre. Would anyone take more Boba Fett over more Gangs of London, let alone The Sopranos?

  269. You’re using examples from over 20 years ago though. Gangs of London was great for action but a lot of the stuff in-between wasn’t that great. Funny enough the best episode was a side journey that had little to do with any main character in the show. I haven’t seen 1883 but a friend of mine is always railing against it on Twitter, he hates it for whatever reason. Like says the lead is an idiot who just tells people obvious stuff. Justified is definitwly my favorite show ever, and the fact they’re making more Raylan is EXTREMELY cool.

  270. Look, props to anyone who loved BOBA FETT.

    I’d only respectfully disagree with this statement:

    ” I love that they took advantage of that situation to treat this action figure as an actual character who can evolve”

    A show committed to an actual character who can evolve would NOT have fridged said character for 2 episodes (yeah I know he’s in like 2 mins in Ep 6, doesn’t count) while they brought in already established and more popular characters from another show to continue THEIR plot-lines …in a 7 episode FIRST season that bears the characters name. This isn’t some show that’s been on the air for years where owing to either contract disputes or pregnancies, some key characters don’t appear for an episode or 2. Shit, I was down for a BOBA FETT show, and even liked the fact he takes off his helmet, speaks more and is even open to taking advice from Fennec Shand and even some young punks who just joined his gang yesterday. But they should have stuck with it, and not crowded the field with characters who in any case, have shows of their own coming down the pipeline.

    Hell, head over to HBO Max and see what James Gunn’s doing with PEACEMAKER. THAT’S how you take a largely one-note character from a movie and evolve him with additional layers of complexity.

    Methinks the suits at Disney just didn’t have enough confidence in the character to just let him lead his own show (a shame because they had a fine actor in Morrison).

    To paraphrase Lord Vader: I find their lack of faith……disturbing

  271. Saw the first two episodes of Peacemaker, it’s really good. I wasn’t sure if Gunn could write them all himself but it’s still sharp and funny. I’m sure the budget is lower than the movies but can’t tell. Cena is fantastic. Eventually will see the rest for sure.

  272. There is absolutely no fucking way that any “suit” told them they were not confident in Boba Fett and he would have to have a small part in two episodes. It’s a fucking streaming Star Wars show, it will be successful no matter what. Clearly Favreau thought it would be a cool way to tell the story, and he was right. I don’t understand why so many people are stuck on this conservative idea of what a show like this is allowed to do, especially in the streaming era. (Not to mention that those two episodes were the best episodes!)

  273. As for Peacemaker (which I also love), there would be no PEACEMAKER and no THE SUICIDE SQUAD if there hadn’t been an episode of Batman: The Animated Series where Batman only appeared briefly and the story followed Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. That is a fact!

  274. Since the net is filled to the brim with people telling me that Reacher never would get hit by a crowbar and that Boba Fett isn’t the same guy we saw for 30 seconds 39 years ago, I had to see the last episodes of both shows yesterday. I found absolutely nothing wrong with anything.

  275. Hey, I freaking loved Episodes 5&6! I merely question their placement in THIS show.

    And we’ll have to agree to disagree on the classification of a desire for some semblance of thematic continuity in a TV show as “conservative”.

  276. The two MANDALORIAN season 3 episodes that they put in there instead of episode 5 and 6 of THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT are definitely the best, by far, but that’s because the BOBA FETT episodes were all very bad. CrustaceanLove has it exactly right. It’s a show about the world’s most disinterested, naive, and stupid crime lord who is not interested in doing any crime under any circumstances. I love Temeura Morrison, but he’s playing such a dud of a character in the modern day scenes, this is a terrible showcase for him. The flashback-heavy episode with the train heist was fun, but the rest was an interminable slog… until they seemingly realized it wasn’t working and decided to do a couple episodes of the other show instead.

    (I don’t sincerely believe that, I buy that they just thought it was a cool way to tell the story, and I think they see all these shows as just one big show… But it definitely does *feel* like they were cutting bait, just because there’s such a stratospheric jump in quality that corresponds with the lead character not being in the show anymore.)

  277. Going to Reacher for a moment (because unlike Boba Fett, we can’t ignore the man in his own show/thread)… I do get the complaint that KJ and Dawson, small-town punks who are particularly sadistic but shouldn’t be able to back that up, put up more of a fight than trained (but nameless) South American commando mooks.

    But there’s a paradox there: it goes against the realism/verisimilitude that makes Jack Reacher stuff so fun, but it also makes sense within the throwback action movie cum Western stuff where the story ends with Reacher outrunning an explosion. If this had been made in the 80s with Schwarzenegger or Stallone, absolutely the heavy would be James Garner and he’d somehow be able to beat Reacher within an inch of his life. So I’ll give Reacher a pass, but if they want to keep doing climactic battles to the death, they should come up with some heavies who seem like they can actually put up a fight. Even Tom Cruise managed that.

  278. I was definitely disappointed that Reacher didn’t just utterly dismantle the two main assholes and had to resort to desperate and undignified measures, but I’d imagine Reacher himself would explain it thusly: Crazy’s harder to fight than skilled, and crazy with a crowbar’s even harder.

  279. Four episodes in, and the book credit just gets funnier each time. “Based on Killing Floor by Lee Child and his character, Jack Reacher.” I’m picturing Child and Reacher side by side in front of the computer, like they’re playing a piano duet.

    But yeah, I’m enjoying it, even if Ritchson isn’t quite as stoic as I’d prefer. I’m trying to think who I’d really want in the role and I’m running up against the fact that my mental image of book characters is often unduly influenced by the author’s photo on the back. Yes, this is completely irrational. At least in this case Child is a big guy himself, but there’s no reason in hell for me to imagine Harry Bosch looking like Michael Connelly or Matt Scudder looking like Lawrence Block, and yet.

  280. I haven’t read the books but would a guy like Dave Bautista be a good Reacher? He plays stoic well and can play understated and is clearly huge. I’d say John Cena but when he played serious I thought he sucked but now that he gets to do comedies I think he’s fantastic. They have that giant dude from Free Guy but I have no idea if he could act, probably not but ya never know!

  281. I would frequently imagine a young Bo Svenson as Reacher when I read the books.

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