Sunday, December 16, 2012
Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher
I'm a huge fan of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. I would call them the modern day version of the James Bond books. They're a little more graphic, a lot more violent... Ok, they're like modern James Bond movies in novel format. The main character, Reacher, is a what you would get if you combined the genetics of James Bond with a caveman, John Wayne, and Rambo.
If you are into well written novels that are action packed, the Reacher series is simply the best you'll find. I have the entire series, love them, and even reread them occasionally (this is a huge compliment coming from me, I almost never reread novels because I remember so much of what I read). Seriously, they are some of my all time favorites... So you can imagine my consternation when I found out Tom Cruise got the role.
Here's a description from the new Jack Reacher novel, where Reacher is trying to hitch hike at night (his normal mode of transportation):
"...he stuck out his thumb and smiled and tried to look friendly.
Which was not easy. Reacher was a big man, six feet five inches tall, heavily built, and that night as always he looked a little ragged and unkempt. Lonely drivers wanted pleasant and unthreatening company, and Reacher knew from long experience that visually he was no one's first choice of companion. Too intimidating. And right then he was further handicapped by a freshly broken nose. He had patched the injury with a length of silver duct tape, which he knew must make him look even more grotesque."
---Excerpt from Lee Child's novel, A Wanted Man: A Jack Reacher Novel
Jack Reacher is huge, implacable, violent, and yet extremely clever. He's intimidating, scary, and that's why his enemies tend to underestimate his intelligence.
I don't get any of that from Cruise.
Yes, Cruise is a great actor, but you can't act your way into the part of a lumbering force of nature (unless you're paying to make the movie). This is one of those few roles that requires very little acting ability; look big and scary, somewhat dark and foreboding, and dead pan the occasional clever line. No acting required! Big, scary, deadpan... easy! The problem is that of those three vital traits Cruise can only get deadpan, which means having to compensate for the rest. I'm scared of how this is going to turn out.
I was going to encourage everyone to boycott the movie but that's not fair to the author. Lee Child deserves to get a blockbuster movie under his belt. So, go see the movie... then go buy one of his books. Just don't read the book first, it'll probably ruin the movie for you.
Originally, I wasn't even going to go see the movie, I didn't want Tom Cruise's face plastered on one of my favorite fictional characters. But I've since decided that, while this might not be the Jack Reacher movie that I was looking for, it might still be entertaining in it's own right. Kind of like the Red Dawn remake, it might not be exactly what we wanted but it might still be a decent movie if the viewer can keep out their preconceived ideas.
Even if the movie turns out alright, Tom Cruise is NOT Jack Reacher