Our Editor is one for decent cuts of meat from his local butcher who unusually is female, a Mrs Clutterbuck, and recently he went down to buy some best fillet steak. It had been a busy morning for Mrs Clutterbuck who was behind with the orders and she explained to our Editor that she wished she had an assistant. So our Editor offered to help out in the shop and carve up some steaks for himself. Having helped out for a short while our Editor returned home to which his wife asked why he’d been so long. Unfortunately not thinking before he answered he told her, ‘Yes, Mrs Clutterbuck said she got a little behind so I went around the counter. She said I could fillet and told me that I handled my meat remarkably well’ Our Editor is now sleeping in the spare room and he can never go back which coincidentally is the title of the new Tom Cruise film in the Jack Reacher franchise.
Much was made at the time of the first film back in 2012 that unlike the books six foot blonde hulking hero Tom Cruise was not an obvious choice but it was a decent enough movie making a not wholly impressive $216m worldwide but was enough to prompt a second movie and this time the novel they’ve chosen has Cruise this time trying to clear his name when he’s put in the frame for what turns out to be a massive government conspiracy initially involving missing weapons and the death of two soldiers. It doesn’t help either that he springs from jail a female commander Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) so the military are …ahem….. gunning for him. Throw into the mix an irritating stroppy teenage girl Samantha Dayton (Danika Yarosh) who could be the daughter he never knew he had and off we go on an action packed romp without the insanely entertaining set pieces we’ve come to expect from the Mission Impossible series.
And therein lies the problem because this is a pretty much run of the mill thriller with Reacher seemingly a one man wrecking machine that no one, no matter how highly trained the secret ops soldiers are, can stop and he decimates all in his path who try to kill him and it’s because of this it treads an uneasy path striving for a credible plot with the seemingly indestructable hero who seems only to sustain a small facial cut throughout the entire film. Its one strength is Cobie Smulders who smoulders and for once is not the cringing female relying on the male lead, but here is almost his equal. With a screenplay by Richard Wenk (who co-wrote the recent Magnificent Seven) and director Edward Zwick it’s notably more humourous than the original film (unfortunately this also applies to the black and white flashbacks which are unintentionally comic as they are shown at twice the normal speed) but there are moments which don’t quite ring true, a soldier who is sent to pick up Cruise from a motel turns out to be the same soldier who runs the search and destroy mission to find Reacher when he goes on the run and bad guys are clearly bad guys even when they’re covertly following him as they all wear wrap round shades. Like Stan Lee the author Lee Child gets another cameo though it doesn’t detract as much as the comic book maestro due to few knowing what he looks like.
Despite all the fist fights, shootouts and star casting there’s a sneaking suspicion that the Jack Reacher novels may well be better than their film counterparts as, sorry as we are to say, this is just a little bit dull.
Here’s the trailer: