Movie Review

Jack Reacher also known as “One Shot”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, language and some drug material.

Reviewed by: Maggie Hays
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Genre:
Action Crime Suspense Mystery Drama
Length:
2 hr. 10 min.
Year of Release:
2012
USA Release:
December 21, 2012 (wide—3,200+ theaters)
DVD: May 7, 2013
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures

murder by sniper

justice

justice of God

author: Lee Child, crime series novelist (off-site)

character: Jack Reacher, ex-military homicide investigator (off-site)

Featuring: Tom CruiseJack Reacher
Rosamund PikeHelen Rodin
Jai Courtney
Robert DuvallCash
Alexander Rhodes … Suspicious Onlooker
Richard JenkinsAlex Rodin
Werner Herzog … The Zec
more »
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Producer: Mutual Film Company
Paramount Pictures
more »
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

“The law has limits. He does not.”

Following the shooting at the theater in Aurora, Colorado, just six months ago, resulting in the wounding of 70 unsuspecting people and the deaths of 12, and then the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School mere weeks ago, resulting in the deaths of 20 children and six adults, this movie hits a nerve. It begins with five people, innocently strolling a river walkway, gunned down in cold blood by a sniper, for no apparent reason. A shooter is arrested and ex-military investigator Jack Reacher arrives on the scene to, hopefully, provide evidence of motive.

Tom Cruise plays Reacher well, just as he does Ethan Hunt in the “Mission: Impossible” movies. He has that self-confident carriage that makes him the “Righter of all Wrongs“—in this case, a potentially-innocent man wrongly accused of all those murders. Reacher is a modern-day Lone Ranger, a vigilante, an unsung hero everyone wants for a best friend when your rude neighbor acts like a jerk, and you don’t know how to handle the problem. Jack Reacher knows how to handle every situation.

Reacher does have a heart, evidenced by his protective attitude toward a young woman headed down the wrong path with the wrong guys. Desiring her welfare, he says to her “You don’t have to let guys like that use you”. If you’re a good guy, you will be glad Reacher is around. If you’re a bad guy, you will definitely regret any tangle with him.

Let’s look at the negative stats from a Christian perspective. One “F” word, several disrespectful mentions of “Jesus” and “Christ” as curse words, several crude references like “don’t be a p_ssy” and “h_rny”, “wh_re,” “pr_ick,” no sex scenes, though a one-second scene implies previous sexual activity, one woman bare-backed while dressing, and a report of rape. There is a bar scene. There are several cold-blooded killings. By the standards of the 1950’s, this film would have been considered terribly crude and peppered with dirty words. By today’s unfortunate standards, this film would have been so much worse if produced by some of Hollywood’s more illustrious purveyors of filth, and the body count would have been much higher and more graphic.

It is the violence in this film that is explicit. Is there any bad guy in this story Reacher does NOT brutally beat up? He hospitalizes many who make the mistake of annoying him, and we get to hear the crunching of bones and cracking of skulls. Though, to be fair, Reacher gives his opponents plenty of chances to walk away from his fast fists and killer kicks, because Reacher does nothing halfway. Once he engages you, your next ride will be in an ambulance. The PG-13 rating assigned to this movie is accurate, though it violently borders on “R.” I suppose if we had seen more blood that would have earned the “R.”

Bottom line, did I enjoy the movie? Yes. It is suspenseful, has a good soundtrack, and moves quickly as the mystery is engagingly solved. I like Tom Cruise in roles like this, he puts the bad guys in their place. Should you take your children? No. The brutal fighting scenes and the crude language are not appropriate for young kids, though blood is kept to a minimum. There is no “pray for those who persecute you” or “turn the other cheek” philosophy in this film—it is more like “I’m going to BREAK your cheek”. Or, as Reacher tells the cruel bad guy over the phone “I’m coming for you, and I’m going to beat you to death.” Be warned—that opening shooting scene will disturb the more sensitive among us, as it did me.

Point of note: at the end of this movie, the audience actually applauded. I haven’t heard that in a long time.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This is a violent, but very good, thriller—a cut above others of this genre. I have read most of Lee Child’s books about Jack Reacher and went to see just how well Tom Cruise fulfilled the role of a character who is tall and big in the book—a very large man—and Cruise did this very well despite being short. He really captured the loner, super bright personality of Jack Reacher. This movie is fast entertainment, and it does not glorify breaking the law, although Reacher does step outside the law when he is unjustly accused and when he, and he alone, is in the position to mete out justice.

Obviously this R rated movie is for mature audiences only. I read the book on which this movie is based, and the screenplay did a fine job of bringing the story to the screen.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Halyna, age 66 (USA)
Positive—This was MUCH better then I expected. It was kind of like a CSI crime story (and I don’t even watch those shows) and more talking then I would have expected, but the plot was so interesting and had so many things to it, with action in between, that it kept my attention. Sure, lots of killing, fighting and gunfire, something that is expected with these type of movies, but I don’t recall much cursing, at all; only one butt shot of a woman standing up after they obviously just did it, but no sex scenes. And the movie actually had some really funny one liners.

I didn’t know if Tom could pull off a movie like this, but he did great in the acting, and, overall, it was a very good movie for its kind. Certainly not a Christian flick, nor do I expect these kinds to be, but very entertaining and interesting.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Samantha, age 38 (USA)
Positive—I have been watching Tom Cruise movies ever since I saw him in the film “Valkyrie.” For the most part, I have enjoyed the films he has been in (including “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol”). I treated my dad to a film he really wanted to see and, I must admit, one that I knew little about. So we went to see “Jack Reacher.” Tom Cruise did a fine job in his portrayal of the Jack Reacher from the books (apparently there are 14 books… I believe I smell sequels in the future). Cinematically, there is nothing wrong with this film. The picture quality was phenomenal. The performances by both leads were excellent.

The story? It’s hard to say. The whole premise behind why the “bad guys” did what they did was a little tough to determine, and I asked my father to explain some of the missing information. Other than that though? I enjoyed it. Virtually no sex or nudity, other than one scene of partial nudity at the beginning (no more than 5 seconds at most) and a scene where a girl, Sandy, gets in a conversation with Reacher, and Reacher calls her some filthy names. Profanity? Non-existent.

Violence? VERY heavy, so parents this is not a children’s film (heed the PG-13 rating, as the violence is very realistic). Bottom line? I enjoyed the movie. Tom Cruise is certainly an actor I have enjoyed watching for the past few years. He doesn’t need to work hard to put in a good performance and for that I commend him. The movie itself gets an “A” from me.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Positive—Reacher. Jack Reacher. No middle name. I’ve read about four of the Reacher books, and to be honest—I like some of the changes that they made for the film. But they still kept much of Reacher’s common sense attitude and deduction ability, while making him a bit darker and edgier, which I quite enjoyed.

The movie style is a bit different than what I’m used to. Sort of a more down to earth, less special effects and drama style. The plot is pretty simple, and goes well with our times. A man commits a mass murder, of seemingly random people, slam dunk evidence against him, he acted alone… sound familiar? Reacher isn’t a perfect man, by any means, but he is a *real* man. He calmly takes on five guys (Well, according to Reacher, it was only three on one) and refrains from hurting them anymore than needed, as well as verbally putting his attackers in their places.

He also gives a brief monologue that many people in our nation could do with listening to. “Look out there, at those people in their cubicles. How many are actually free? Free from debt, free from being degraded, free from fear. How many of them would, if they had the chance, choose to live like me?” (Reacher’s a bit of a drifter, who lives a minimalist lifestyle on his army pension.) He’s got a good point.

Beware—Reacher is a violent man, while he is a just man. Like any good action movie, he goes up against murderous villains, and calmly executes one, rather than let him try his luck beating justice in court. Most of my fellow Christians hate when people do that in movies. I’d say, why? Scripture is clear that murderers forfeit their own lives. It doesn’t guarantee them the right to try to use trial procedures and rules of evidence to get out of it. All in all, a good movie, though not for viewers under 17.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Andrew, age 21 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—While this movie spent significant effort at developing a plot, supporting most of the characters and delivering a satisfactory ending, it was not without its deficiencies. I felt a bit empty and wanting at the end, and wasn’t quite sure all the directive effort was worth the result. It was one of Tom Cruise’s middle of the road movies. On a moral and spiritual aspect, I felt a bit unclean and overly stimulated with overt killing and violence. This is not a movie for kids, at all. I would not take my teenager for any reason. I would suggest that adults seriously consider whether it is worth the mental exposure. Cussing was typical for this kind of movie. I did not find it gratuitous. There were a couple of unnecessary scenes of scantily clad women, although this was not the focus of the movie.

If you go, don’t expect it to be a good date movie. If you are troubled by the recent events of the massacre of children at the hands of a gun wielding maniac, you may find some scenes to be harsh reminders of death in the midst of the innocents. Personally, I walked out a bit nauseous and relieved it was over. In all, I would say avoid it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Eric B, age 47 (USA)
Neutral—I was hesitant to see this film with my two 14 year old boys before reading a review first, but since there wasn’t one yet for this movie, we decided to risk it. Therefore, I feel I need to warn parents that this is a very violent film and only older teenagers should view this. The bad parts: There are several utterances of the word s*** (last letter “t”) and one “f*** you.” In the beginning, a girl is seen briefly from behind in her thong underwear. It is a movie about a sniper being accused of murder, so there are lots of people killed and/or beaten.

The good parts: Jack Reacher is an intense yet humorous guy who doesn’t miss a step. He encourages a girl who lets herself be used by men, that she could do better. No sex. :) Overall, it was an exciting movie—a mystery that was unraveled bit by bit. I just personally didn’t enjoy all of the killing, but it was well played by the actors/actresses.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Melinda, age 46 (USA)
Negative
NegativePhillipians 4:8—“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Not only does this movie not fall into any of these categories, it begs to be the champion of the vehicle to guarantee your mind will be dulled to ungodly kinds of thinking. I walked out disgusted and felt wounded for several days after when I found myself replaying the disturbing scenes that are described below. I stayed through the end of this film only to write this review, as it seemed another viewpoint was needed as to the depravity of this foray into the edginess that is so typically Hollywood. The acting in the film was good, and I would go deeper into the characters and plot, except for 2 issues that puts this movie into the “Extremely Offensive” category.

***SPOILER*** The first issue is the mass murder scene. This is a drawn out and dreary, ungodly couple of minutes where you look down the scope of the assassin’s rifle, as he first scans then picks out his victims. I was hoping the camera would not show the close-up of each senseless killing, but apparently the director judged that this edginess would be a wonderful foray into the horror of what the unregenerate soul can dream up and then portray on a screen, in the name of art. Even sadder is that many parents would take their children to witness this horror and have it forever make it’s mark in their souls that “this is entertainment”. As we left the theater at the end, I saw a young girl about 8 years old who was with her family and felt sad for her.

There is no arguing that films MUST go beyond the boundary of what a culture will tolerate in order to entertain, precisely because we become bored with the thrills of a few years ago. The proof that it works is that Christians would deem this graphic and detailed close-up of murder as justified, because it is part of real life or because it isn’t real. Quite telling. This was one part of the movie, I lowered my head and chose not to watch as the loud report of the high powered rifle accompanied the slouching body of the next victim, one after another, until the scene was over.

The other scene that was pitifully unnecessary and hit me in the gut like a javelin meant to rip my guts out, was the murder of a young woman. After this poor 20 something year old is slugged with one punch that knocks her out, the dastardly violent man puts a single hand on her face, the camera zooms in, and he smothers her to death like a lion killing its prey. It was not only sickening, because of the graphic nature of the scene, but because, again, that in searching for the new edges in film making, this means future movies will push the boundary only further. ***END SPOILER***

I won’t go into the amount of violence that are spread around in this film, like it were sweet jam being generously spread on slice after slice of warm, freshly baked bread to feed the audience, hopefully the main reviewer will cover that. This level of depravity is something a believer should not care to become immune or desensitized to, because this is not true, noble, pure or something worthy of praise, this is scraping the dregs of a cesspool.

I have decided, after this film, to stay away from the movies and probably only rent them when they are released on DVD, so that I can research them, and then, if necessary, turn a movie off at home, if it goes near the edge. Ask yourself, then ask God, is this desire to be entertained going to trump his desire to make you into a discerning child of his, who seeks knowing what is praiseworthy. Jesus died for your ability to discern by his spirit.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Robert Maclean, age 63 (USA)
Negative—I cannot help but to think as popular and easy as it is for Tom Cruise to attract viewers, I was puzzled why he felt it necessary to do this movie. Right out of the movie intro, I was immediately tossed into an adulterous scene with him with a women that he is not married to in a cheap motel with her in very revealing lingerie. The rest of the movie did not get any better, with several scenes wear there is cleavage and short skirts. If you realize that your eyes and heart belongs to God, you will not want to expose either to this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Angel, age 37 (USA)
Comments from young people
Negative—First of all, this movie was so cheesy. He acted like he had rock hard abs. But really his stomach looked like it was bloated, and you could totally tell he was sucking it in. And the woman was showing cleavage, the lines were cheesy. Tom Cruise short and full of himself and disturbing. Plus the woman was liberal. The script seemed to be made just to puff up his ego. The only good thing about this movie wad that it was stupidly funny.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Monica, age 16 (USA)

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