It was happenstance, not choice, that led me to watch Jack Reacher, which is (was?) probably a Tom Cruise attempt to get a franchise going. Its $80m domestic gross probably wouldn’t have been enough but the $137m international take may make it a viable proposition. It was reported (here) that Paramount banked on $250m worldwide before a sequel would be green lighted so maybe it won’t happen; I hope it won’t not because it’s a bad film – it’s a passable thriller – but because of its execrable politics.
I haven’t read any of Lee Child’s novels but I guess the vigilante-justice element is true to the source material. Cruise, of course, plays the ‘good’ guy but is apparently so paranoid that he lives his life off the ‘grid’. He only owns one shirt, which we see him washing in a small sink. This is rather pathological, the only Americans that need to live off the ‘grid’ are, I think, whistleblowers. Reacher, of course, sees things that cops, and the eye candy lawyer (Rosamund Pike), don’t and gets to the truth of the matter. Pike is joined by Brit David Oyelowo who, in what’s become a tradition, takes the role of a bad guy. In 1930s Hollywood the upper class British accent signified class, now the Brits are hired to play villains. Though, in this case, the uber villain is played by Werner Herzog who does enliven the film with a portrayal of demented psychosis; learned, no doubt, whilst making Fitzcarraldo (West Germany-Peru, 1982).
Herzog’s The Zec makes one mistake too many, he tells Reacher that prison will be ‘cushy’; cue extra-judicial assassination before Reacher disappears off ‘the grid’. He didn’t even have time for sex with Pike’s glamorous lawyer. Hopefully he’ll stay off the grid; is it too much to hope that the relative box office failure in North America is a result of disgust with the extra-judicial killings via drones? If so, why so popular elsewhere? Because that’s how the world expects Americans to act?