Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jack Reacher

Okay, quick thoughts on Jack Reacher.

This isn't the kind of movie that I'd typically go to see (Oh look, Tom Cruise is running around and beating people up AGAIN), but I was interning at the studio where this movie was being filmed back in 2011 and I actually got to read an early draft of the script. Basically, I just wanted to see how much or how little was changed in the final edit. Not too much, it turns out.

The only glaring differences I noticed were that we see the bad guy's face in the opening scene as he commits his crime so we know that the chief suspect isn't guilty (it's left a mystery at first in the draft I read), the scene where the suspect gets knocked out by fellow inmates is shown via flashback after we see him in a coma (the scenes were in chronological order originally), and there's a huge car chase about 2/3 of the way into the movie. I don't really remember that from the earlier script, but that may be because screenplays don't give a lot of description to action scenes. There was probably a line that said, "JACK REACHER gets involved in a fast-paced car chase" and I missed it while reading.

Another thing that really stood out to me was Alexia Fast's portrayal in the role of Sandy. None of her scenes were changed between the two drafts, but when I read the script on its own, I pictured her character as kind of a ditz and didn't really care about her. Fast's performance, however, lent a lot of personality and vulnerability to the role and made Sandy very likeable. It really shows you just how much an actor can inject life into a character. I always kind of assumed that the screenwriter was in charge of all that. So I learned something from this movie.

The only problem I had, without giving too much away, was that one of the characters turns out to be working for a different side than they initially appear to be, and I don't think either version of the story gave a clear reason why that person became a double agent. It might be explained better in the novel One Shot which this film is adapted from, but I'll have to look into that.

Tom Cruise is pretty good in the film. He's much more abrasive and imposing than I'm used to seeing him, and that set this apart from most of his other action roles. And for what it's worth, he does do a good job of running around and beating people up. I also got a kick out of seeing Robert Duvall play an elderly shooting range owner and lend Tom some backup in the final showdown. Forty years after being in The Godfather, he finally got to fire a gun at someone.

Overall, I give Jack Reacher a "B." Check it out if you're looking for an action movie with some wit.

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