Overlooked Film of the Week- #84
Boy, it's amazing how things change.
In the early months of this blog, I wrote a piece about how the "movie star vehicle" could be dead now. We are living in a much different world than when I was a young boy. Back when I was five-years-old, I would get excited about a movie due to who was in it. It didn't matter if the movie was based on a book, because I was just learning to read and I had not delved into many novels by then. It didn't matter if a movie was based on a comic, because that's not what was going on at the time. Multiple movie deals, shared universes, massive franchises...none of those excited in the 90's and that type of filmmaking didn't emerge until recently. Before the days we know now, movies were at the fates of the stars were cast.
Tom Cruise is one of our last remaining movie stars. He is reliable time and time again, I think. But in the new world of filmmaking we are experiencing, its tough for movies to coast on movie stars and still make the big bucks. That is not to say that what Cruise is doing isn't good, its just not particularly profitable anymore. Last month, my girlfriends mom was telling me a story about a guy she knew wanted to be Tom Cruise' character from "Top Gun," and the guy's kids asked who Tom Cruise was. Is this the world we live in now?
Like I said, that doesn't mean what Cruise is doing these days isn't good. I am still amazed that Cruise is able to release a new movie each year. In 2012, I missed "Jack Reacher," it was easy to miss. A tough-as-nails cop movie isn't exactly on the draw during the holiday season, so it was a tough time to sell that kind of movie. I recently watched this one for the first time last week thanks to Netflix, and it is a typical Cruise movie. It didn't blow me away, like so many of his movies do. But there is no doubt that it was an entertaining couple hours. For a guy that never really dug into the Jack Reacher books, I still managed to have a good time with this one.
Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher is an ex-military member who helps the police with a different kind of murder. In the beginning of the film, five people are murdered seemingly at random, miles away by a very talented sniper. (played by the ever embracing Jai Courtney.). Jack Reacher's expertise is brought into play by the District Attourney (Rosamund Pike) as authorities soon find out that the sniper had ties to the military. But what seems like a random murder soon exposes deeper business corruption and maybe the five random deaths were carefully planned.
What makes "Jack Reacher" entertaining is yet another great performance by Tom Cruise. We have seen Tom Cruise do solid action time and time again. But, he's never done anything quite like what he does in "Jack Reacher." This movie is an ode to the close-quarters, MMA-style fighting that is now taking hold in action movies. I love it and I thought Cruise handled it all well. This is a much different type of badass we are not normally used Cruise playing. Jack Reacher stumbles into every scene like a Ronin warrior, a cowboy with no friends. Its an interesting turn for Cruise and sells every minute of it.
The rest of the cast is solid. Its a movie that features great performances by Jai Courtney, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog, Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo. I have been instantly amazed by Pike ever since she turned my life upside down in last month's "Gone Girl." She was so good in that performance that I couldn't get over that she was once a Bond girl in 2002. Here, she does even more great work. I still love that Jai Courtney is making a big splash after "Spartacus" and he once again delivers another pulse-pounding performance.
So ever though the movie star vehicle may be straining, I don't think Tom Cruise is going anywhere anytime soon. That is something to get happy about.