Movie review: Jack Reacher is back in action for a friend

Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher again, four years after the first movie.
Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher again, four years after the first movie. PHOTO: UIP



114 minutes/Now showing/3.5 stars

The story: Since the events of the last movie Jack Reacher (2012), Reacher (Tom Cruise) has resumed his drifting ways. He discovers that the military police officer who has taken his old job, Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), has been arrested for spying. He goes all out to clear her name and find the truth behind the killings of former soldiers.

Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code novels are often dismissed as "books for people who never read". Perhaps there is some truth in it, if the Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) movie character is any indication.

All the symbologist seems to do is poke at art, reveal a plot point in the bluntest way possible and then run away when the baddies invariably show up seconds later.

The spoonfeeding is atrocious, but it does sell tickets.

Jack Reacher (the other top Tom, Cruise), the hitchhiking hero of Lee Child's thriller series, has his standard behaviours too, but thankfully these do not involve conspiracy theories spun from how a marble statue points this way and not that way.

Unlike Langdon, when Reacher uncovers a clue, that tidbit of information confirms what we know of the real world, if one is of a certain political bent. Reacher lives in a world run not by a cabal of monks and millionaires, but by the military-industrial complex.

Cruise plays Reacher as a man driven as much by regret as by a moral code; as a former high-ranking officer, he is perhaps plagued by guilt.

Here, he springs into action only when a friend - in this case, Turner (Smulders) - is in trouble and, as usual, he has to fight enemies both within and outside of the American military.

If Langdon is the dumb person's idea of a smart guy, then Reacher is the liberal's idea of what it would be like if a right-winger woke up to the truth.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2016, with the headline 'Back in action for a friend'. Print Edition | Subscribe