Saturday, August 30, 2014

What Jack Reacher can teach Hollywood

I know writing about a movie that came out almost two years ago might, on the surface, seem kinda behind the times, but that's one of the cool things about cinema isn't it? It's timeless.

Having just watched the Tom Cruise vehicle Jack Reacher for like the fourth or fifth time, and loving it just as much as my first viewing, if not more, I've realized how much the modern blockbuster can learn from Christopher McQuarrie's action/thriller.

I know I'm not the target demographic Hollywood studio think tanks have in mind when producing movies these days. Today's audience is a good decade or two * cough cough * younger with a shorter attention span. They grew up in a more tech savvy world. I get that. The movies they want to see aren't necessarily the ones I'm going to put my spare change down for.

But there's something so perfect in the grounded simplicity that is Jack Reacher. Compared to other modern action movies, it's shit simple. The fights aren't over choreographed ninja battles that go on forever. In fact, they're the kind of brawl you might see on a Saturday night at the bar. And each one, even the final throw down, is quick and dirty -- just like a real fight.

Ditto the car chase, which goes on just long enough and involves a handful of vehicles. And there's not a chord of music played overtop of it. Michael Bay wishes he could craft something so awesome.

McQuarrie films everything in a fluid, simple style that allows the audience to process what they're seeing. This means the actors do 99 per cent of the stunt work, which makes the action, which is pretty low key, more intense. And I don't think there's a single frame of CGI in the movie.

Finally, Jack Reacher isn't about saving the world or the galaxy or an entire city from evil. This is a small story with no global impact. There's a problem, Reacher solves it. Just like everyday life.

In a world where movies, just like everything else, are becoming a medium that beats you over the head with information, Jack Reacher is a breath of fresh air. As much as I dig flicks like Guardians of the Galaxy or even the Bourne movies, I'd prefer more like Jack Reacher.


  1. applause applause. Loved this flick and want more and more. Cruise should have another franchise on his hands.