Jack Reacher on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review – Uncut 15-certificate version

Jack Reacher: I don’t read books, so prior to this film’s release, I had never heard of the series before. And Tom Cruise usually makes a good fist of an action movie, so I figured it was worth a watch.

Based on the 2005 novel “One Shot”, the film begins with a sniper shooting five random people. Detective Emerson (David Oyelowo) and District Attorney Rodin (Richard Jenkins) bring in the wrong man, a trained military sniper by the name of Barr (Joseph Sikora). We know they’ve brought in the wrong man because we’ve already seen that it was Jai Courtney (as bad guy Charlie) firing the bullets at the start. When asked to confess, Barr just instructs them to “GET JACK REACHER”, but why is he calling on this particular homicide investigator?

Jack Reacher is a war veteran who’s been off the grid for the past two years, with no-one having a single trace of him. He doesn’t even have a mobile phone or an email address. No-one in law enforcement likes the titular hero and his maverick ways, and they don’t understand why he moves around a lot, although he’s staying in Pennsylvania as the case pans out and there are other people who don’t like him hanging around and would like him to be punched into next week.

Rosamund Pike plays Rodin’s daughter Helen, who gets involved in trying to work out exactly what’s gone on while having the obligatory parental argument with her screen father.

Like I say, I’ve not read any of the Jack Reacher novels, but I get the impression he’s a gritty character and Cruise doesn’t really cut it in this role. He’s way too clean-cut. It needs a more rugged actor, unshaven. Two of his best, gritty performances came in the first Mission: Impossible and also Minority Report, so why isn’t he quite firing on all cylinders here? He’s 50, now, so is he getting soft in his old age? The only hard thing on view is his abs in a rather pointless scene where he shows that his gym training has paid off.

That said, while Cruise is always good in the right film, I’ve never thought that Rosamund Pike could act her way out of a paper bag whatever the circumstances. I’d never seen her before Die Another Day, and in that film she came across as the most ineffectual Bond girl I’ve ever seen. She always looks like a rabbit trapped in the headlights. Neither Courtney, nor Sikora, are required to push the boat out in this film while Robert Duvall pops up from time to time in the role of “let’s give a paycheque to a revered actor who is still in the business but past his prime”. Finally, Werner Herzog appears as “bad guy with stupid name” – The Zec, drifts through the few scenes he’s in with an accent like an elderly Arnold Schwarzenegger. He should get down the butchers with acting of such hammy variety(!)

Note: The film I viewed is a 15-certificate version. The theatrical release had 2 seconds censored to get it down to a 12-cert. Both have “one use of strong language” (the f-word), and while the theatrical version contained “moderate violence”, the home version contains “strong violence”. Why are so many distributors diluting their films for cinema? I know it’s to get more bums on seats, but it’s just killing movie lovers’ interests in films.

Mark Kermode expressed this point so brilliantly over the “A Good Day To Die Hard” farce.

So, please, all distributors. STOP IT!! Or at least make BOTH versions available in the cinema! You do it for 2D and 3D versions of films!

Presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the picture is sharp and detailed, representing the bold colours and scenery and action perfectly. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.

The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, for which I got the 5.1 DTS version, and in both the score and battle scenes it really shows its mark. Later on, with a scene in the final act that features some… shall we say… interesting effects with water (so as not to give spoilers), the deep bass rumblings amongst the sound effects and score are outstanding. Absolutely wonderful stuff.

The extras are as follows:

  • When the Man Comes Around (HD) (26:49): A ‘making of’ where McQuarrie says it would have been difficult to get a man who would fit the books’ characteristics of how Reacher is described – 6’5″, rugged, unkempt – although it would’ve been nice if they’d even found at least ONE of these attributes.

    Clips are interspersed with chat from Quarrie, producer Don Granger, author Lee Child, plus Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo

  • You Do Not Mess With Jack Reacher: Combat and Weapons (10:27): A featurette about how the fight scenes went back to basics, rather than chopping them up in the editing suite or using CGI here and there. Stunt Co-ordinator Paul Jennings gives us his expertise
  • The Reacher Phenomenon (11:10): This segment talks about what makes Reacher unique, such as the fact he has no job not a fixed location. Lee Child tells us about this and many other aspects in eleven minutes, but his voice is a bit monotonous for such a duration.
  • Audio commentaries: Two here: One from Tom Cruise and screenwriter/director Christopher McQuarrie, and one from composer Joe Kraemar.

The menu mixes images from the film with a small piece of looped theme music. There are subtitles in English, Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish, all of which is commendable. The number of chapters is better than the average film, with 18 over the 130-minute running time. I’d like more, and I go by the rule of thumb of one every five minutes, taking into account one each for the opening and closing credits, but it’s better than most which have a mere 12, these days.

Get Jack Reacher round on Blu-ray and DVD from today.


Detailed specs:

Running time: 130 minutes
Year: 2012
Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Cat no: BSP2450
Released: April 22nd 2013
Chapters: 18
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (English only), Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian
Subtitles: English and 9 other languages
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: BD50

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Producers: Tom Cruise, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Gary Levinsohn, Kevin J. Messick and Paula Wagner
Screenplay: Christopher McQuarrie (based on the novel “One Shot” by Lee Child)
Music: Joe Kraemer

Jack Reacher: Tom Cruise
Helen: Rosamund Pike
Rodin: Richard Jenkins
Emerson: David Oyelowo
The Zec: Werner Herzog
Charlie: Jai Courtney
Vlad: Vladimir Sizov
James Barr: Joseph Sikora
Linsky: Michael Raymond-James
Sandy: Alexia Fast
Jeb: Josh Helman
Martin Cash: Robert Duvall
Desk Sergeant: Lee Child