Tom Cruise manages easily to fill Jack Reacher's big shoes

Dec 21, 2012

Boxing Day movie: Cruise doesn't fall short as Lee Child's cocky, smart vigilante Jack Reacher

TOM CRUISE is an actor in need of a hit and he may have found it in Jack Reacher, an action movie about a military policeman-turned-vigilante that's "an unexpected guilty pleasure".

Cruise was a controversial choice to play Reacher, a character created by the British author Lee Child. Fans of the books were quick to point out that Reacher is an intimidating figure who stands 6ft 5in tall, while Cruise is only 5ft 7in in his socks.

The Guardian's Catherine Shoard says Cruise does his best to compensate, "swinging his arms, puffing his chest and clumping along with the physicality of a bigger man". It's not entirely convincing, but the movie "fizzes to life" partly thanks to two of its co-stars: Robert Duvall as a gun shop owner and German film-maker Werner Herzog as the film's mysterious villain.

Height issues aside, the role of Reacher fits Cruise like a "latex glove" writes the Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy. He believes the actor's "winning turn" in the film could spawn a popular new franchise.

"At least in terms of his action-film portfolio, Cruise is in top form here," writes McCarthy.

Movieline's Amy Nicholson agrees that Cruise is a good fit for the role. "His Reacher is like every other character Cruise has ever played: Tough, cocky, and the smartest guy in the room," she writes. Luckily for the film's director, Christopher McQuarrie, those characteristics define Lee Child's fictional crusader to a tee.

"Beat by beat, Jack Reacher is just like Child's paperbacks in the best possible way: it's fast, fun, and smarter than it looks," says Nicholson who also thinks it deserves to become an action movie franchise.
The film is the big Boxing Day opening in the UK and looks sure to do well – though it's not to everyone's taste. Writing in the New York Times, A. O. Scott describes an atmosphere of "weary brutality" and says the movie is short on fun. "The self-confident, super-competent Reacher is a character Cruise could play in his sleep, which is pretty much what he does," he writes.

  • Jack Reacher opens in Britain on 26 December.

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