Blu-ray Review “Jack Reacher”

Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Werner Herzog, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Paramount
DVD Release Date: May 7, 2013
Run Time: 130 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Before this film was released, I had never heard of this ass-kicking ex-Army anti-hero created by Best-Selling Author Lee Child, Jack Reacher. Tom Cruise takes on this title role and really nails the role. I have to say I came into this film expecting a crazy action film like in “Mission Impossible”, but I was really surprised with what I got. This is a real slow-burn detective story mixed with some great action and one hell of a car chase scene. Besides Cruise, the rest of the cast is also phenomenal including Rosamund Pike (“Wrath of the Titans”); Werner Herzog (“Rescue Dawn”), who is usually behind the camera directing but he is quite a stunning villain; David Oyelowo (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”); Richard Jenkins (“The Cabin in the Woods”) and Jai Courtney (“A Good Day to Die Hard”). If you like Cruise then you should enjoy this for sure. Just don’t expect an all out action-fest. I would love to see this series continued in further installment but I have a feeling that this will be Jack Reacher’s first and last go.

Official Premise: Adapted from a novel in Lee Child’s best-selling crime series, the film sees Cruise in the title role as an ex-military policeman turned vigilante drifter who is called in to investigate after an expert sniper takes the lives of five random victims. When the authorities pull in former army sniper, James Barr (Joseph Sikora), they are certain they have the perpetrator, but Barr believes he’s been set up and asks that Jack Reacher (Cruise) be assigned to the case. At first, Reacher is weary of Barr but after some thorough investigation he is led to believe there is an unseen force pulling the strings of the investigation and he’s determined to get to the truth.

Paramount really went through the trouble of delivering a very nice presentation with this Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Also included is an UltraViolet digital streaming copy. The 1080p transfer is super sharp and top that with a very impressive (and unexpected) DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. At first I thought that this wasn’t necessary but it really worked with the car chase scene and Joe Kraemer score. The special features are pretty darn good. There are two commentary tracks, the first with Tom Cruise, director Christopher McQuarrie and the second with composer Joe Kraemer. I am very impressed that Cruise lended his voice and it is worth checking out. “When the Man Comes Around” is a look into the film’s journey from the page to the screen. “You Do Not Mess with Jack Reacher: Combat & Weapons” focuses on that training and stunt choreography through the fight sequences. Lastly, “The Reacher Phenomenon” is a look into this series popularity around the world with Lee Child. Also included is a $10 off coupon for sports tickets at Ticketmaster and there is also a code for the first chapter of Lee Child’s next “Jack Reacher” novel “Never Go Back”. So if you are a fan of the series, this is a nice bonus!

Film Review “Jack Reacher”

Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike and Richard Jenkins
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hours 10 mins
Paramount

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I apologize in advance if these first paragraphs seem “preachy.” But I feel strong enough about what I’m going to write that I must include it. Sometimes things in life tragically coincide with things in Hollywood, with Hollywood always getting the blame for exploiting a tragedy. On July 22, 1991, the world first learned of the horrible crimes committed by Jeffrey Dahmer. Less than two weeks later the movie “Body Parts” opened. Even though the film had nothing to do with Dahmer just the title put Hollywood in a bad light. On June 17, 1994 O.J. Simpson led police on a slow-speed chase prior to being arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife. At the same time, “The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult,” a film in which Simpson co-starred, was opening in discount houses. Again, an outcry that a studio was trying to capitalize on a tragedy. If you have any knowledge of film history you know that both the original “Spider-man” and the comedy “Zoolander” were edited to remove images of the World Trade Center just after September 11, 2001. Even this past summer’s “Dark Knight Rises” was put in a negative light after a late night screening was interrupted by a man with a gun.

Which brings us to “Jack Reacher.” This past week we were all horrified when 26 people, including 20 children, were senselessly killed at their elementary school. The film deals with an investigator looking into the case of a sniper that kills five people. As the film begins we see the sniper looking through his scope, pausing momentarily on a young woman holding hands with a child and then the child. The audience at the screening I attended gave a collected gasp. “We don’t need this,” one of my fellow critics said to me. The sniper takes his crosshairs off of the child to continue his search for his victims. But that moment brought the audience back into reality, ironically in the one place people go to escape it. Again, it’s just a movie but I felt you deserved a heads up.

And now on with the review:

In the city of Pittsburgh a white van slowly makes its way into a parking garage overlooking the riverfront. A man gets out, rifle in hand, and begins to search across the river for a target. Five shots later he is gone. Armed with evidence found at the scene the police close in on the home of James Barr (Joseph Sikora). When he is interrogated he refuses to talk, instead scribbling on a yellow legal pad “GET JACK REACHER.”

A tightly woven thriller with an undertone of comedy, “Jack Reacher” is a smart mystery with enough twists and turns that you may get dizzy following them. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who won an Oscar for his script for “The Usual Suspects,” the film’s premise is that things are not always what they seem. Catching word of the crime, Reacher (Cruise) shows up at police headquarters and is introduced to Barr’s attorney, Helen Rodin (Pike). Helen is hoping to keep Barr from being sentenced to death if convicted and needs help because when the district attorney (Jenkins) goes after the death penalty he seems to always get it. Oh, and he’s also Helen’s father. Helen convinces Jack to help her and soon we meet an assortment of goons and idiots, all working for a mysterious man known as The Zec (Werner Herzog). As Jack solves one puzzle he finds himself thrust in the middle of another, all the time trying to convince himself that Barr really is guilty. The stakes keep getting bigger and bigger as both Jack and Helen begin to question the loyalty of those around them.

Tom Cruise turned 50 this year and it’s almost hard to imagine that he’s been a star for almost 30 of those years. Cruise is one of those rare actors that really can play ANYTHING. Be it a high school boy looking for some weekend fun, an ace pilot in the U.S. Navy or a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran, he has always found a way to inhabit his characters. When he’s on screen you don’t see TOM CRUISE, you see Joel Goodsen, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and Ron Kovic. He does the same thing here, inhabiting Jack Reacher and making him three dimensional. He is assisted by a fine supporting cast that includes, besides Pike, Jenkins and Herzog, David Owelolo, Jai Courtney and Cruise’s old buddy, the great Robert Duvall who, at age 81, continues to amaze.

This is McQuarrie’s second directorial effort and his first in more than a decade. He does manage to keep the story on track, even finding time for a pretty intense street race between some serious muscle and Reacher. And I’m sure Tom Cruise would like me to tell you that he’s up to date when it comes to dealing with the bad guys hand to hand.

Sara Lindsey talks about working with Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher”

Photo Credit: Sierra Prescott

Sara Lindsey is an up and coming Hollywood starlet who will be appearing in the new Tom Cruise action film “Jack Reacher” which is scheduled for release on December 21st. Media Mikes had the chance to talk recently with Lindsey about the film and what it was that got her in to acting.

Adam Lawton: How did you first get involved with acting?
Sara Lindsey: I have always been a performer. The first time I tried it was in a 1st grade play my teacher arranged. That was the bug that bit me. I have been performing since I was very young and I have always been very artistic and musical. As I got older I began to get more serious about things and when I started looking at colleges I decided acting was what I was most passionate about. I felt very connected to acting and that’s what I pursued in college.

AL: How did you get attached to the film “Jack Reacher”?
SL: I had gone to an audition for the film and after that I learned about the book franchise and all the other things associated with “Jack Reacher”. I think the film is going to be really cool as it is a fun film. The story is very easy to follow which is not always the case with some films with similar themes. Tom Cruise is just awesome as the Jack Reacher character. I am definitely looking forward to the film coming out.

AL: What was it like working on such a large production?
SL: It was crazy! I am super new to the business and have only done two or three movies up to this point. The audition process for this was pretty long and I had a few call backs. One call back was done over Skype between the directors, me and the person who was going to be playing my boyfriend. Christopher McQuarrie is such a brilliant writer and director. It was a pleasure to get to work with him. I had a great time during the process.

AL: Were you allowed to experiment with your character at all?
SL: We really did get some freedom within the structure of the film. My big scene is at the very end of the movie. Chris gave us the frame work and allowed us to do whatever we wanted within the boundaries of the scene. We talked over a few different ideas and went from there.  We sort of did things in the moment. To be allowed to do that on this caliber of a movie was very unique.

AL: Can you tell us about the film “Promise Land”?
SL: That was a dream project for me. I got to meet and work with an amazing group of people. I learned so much. The film is about identity and what makes us who we are. The story is set against a back ground that has to do with hydro fracking. There is that issue going on while some great characters with compelling stories are interwoven throughout the film. I think it’s going to be really great.

AL: What are the release plans for the film?
SL: I think they are doing a limited release in several cities starting on or around December 28th. The wide release is scheduled for January 4th.

AL: Can you tell us about some of your other projects you have coming out?
SL:  I am working on a screen play project right now that is not yet titled. We have been working on it for about a year now. It has been a lot of fun to work on something from the ground up. The things you can cultivate with peers and colleges are really great. We are hoping to start shooting that in the very near future.

Complimentary Passes to the Kansas City Advance Screening of “Jack Reacher” [ENDED]

ALL TICKETS HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED AND ALL WINNERS HAVE BEEN EMAILED!

ALL TICKETS HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED AND ALL WINNERS HAVE BEEN EMAILED!

If you would like to enter for a chance to win tickets to the following advance screening, please leave a comment below with your FAVORITE MOVIE “JACK”. Is it creepy Jack Torrance from “The Shining?”  How about Jack Dawson in “Titanic?”  The first (50) people to comment will be given a code to obtain a pass for (2) via the GOFOBO site. Winners will be notified on or before Sunday, December 16th. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON PLEASE! OTHERWISE ALL ENTRIES WILL BE DISREGARDED. The winners will be will notified via email and will be instructed how to register for their passes. Good luck and hope to see if you at the screening! Screening information is as follows:

Date: Monday, December 17, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Cinemark Merriam, Merriam, Kansas

Official Site: JackReachermovie.com
Opening Date: Friday, December 21, 2012