The clever investigator suspects his fellow ex-soldier is guilty, until he begins to methodically pick apart the evidence, which doesn't exactly thrill the cops or the real killer.
Robert Duvall shows off his usual good-ol'-boy charm as an ex-Marine gun range owner who aids Reacher, Werner Herzog gets to deliver some chilling lines as a shadowy baddie, and Canadian actress Alexia Fast makes an impression as a dim but sweet young thing who sets up some of Reacher's most sardonically smart dialogue.
McQuarrie, who won an Oscar for penning the 1995 puzzler “The Usual Suspects” and who hasn't directed since the little-seen 2000 crime drama “The Way of the Gun,” shows off his considerable writing chops with his adaptation of Child's “One Shot,” the ninth of his 17 Jack Reacher novels. (Child makes a cameo as a police desk sergeant.)
As a director, McQuarrie also makes some great, old-school decisions in crafting “Jack Reacher.” The film is blessedly free of CGI, the fight scenes are rendered without a lot of flashy jump cuts, the car chase is more about brains than brawny crashes, and the overall pace hearkens to the action thrillers of the 1970s.
Plus, he lets his movie star be the star of the show. Cruise plays Reacher with a steely stoicism that sort of compels you to watch him just to see what he'll do next. After his 130-minute introduction zipped by so quickly, I wouldn't mind seeing Cruise and McQuarrie team up for another Jack Reacher mystery.
— Brandy McDonnell
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Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog, Robert Duvall. (Violence, language and some drug material)