Jack Reacher (film)
Jack Reacher is a 2012 American action thriller film written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, based on Lee Child's 2005 novel One Shot. The film stars Tom Cruise as the title character, with Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Richard Jenkins, Jai Courtney, Werner Herzog, and Robert Duvall also starring. The film entered production in October 2011, and was completed in January 2012. It was filmed entirely on location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It received mixed reviews but was successful at the box office.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Christopher McQuarrie|
|Screenplay by||Christopher McQuarrie|
|Based on||One Shot|
by Lee Child
|Music by||Joe Kraemer|
|Edited by||Kevin Stitt|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$218.3 million|
The film was released in North America on December 21, 2012. The musical score was composed by Joe Kraemer, performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony and recorded at the Sony Scoring Stage in Culver City, California. Cruise performed all of his own driving stunts during the film's car chase sequence. Cruise reprised his role in the 2016 sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, based on the 2013 novel Never Go Back.
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a man drives a van into a parking garage across the Allegheny River from PNC Park, dropping a quarter into the meter. He readies a sniper rifle and assassinates five people on the river's North Shore Trail from long range before driving off.
The police, headed by Detective Calvin Emerson, find a shell casing as well as the quarter used to pay for parking. A fingerprint on the coin belongs to James Barr, a former U.S. Army sniper. When the police raid his house, they find the van, equipment for reloading rifle cartridges, the rifle in question, and Barr asleep in his bed.
During an interrogation by Emerson and District Attorney Alex Rodin, Barr is offered a choice between life in prison in exchange for a full confession or guaranteed death row, as Rodin has never lost a conviction. They are bewildered when Barr instead takes a notepad and writes "Get Jack Reacher". Reacher is a drifter and former Army Military Police officer. He arrives in Pittsburgh after seeing a news report about Barr and the shooting. Emerson and Rodin deny Reacher's request to view the evidence but agree to let him see Barr, who was attacked by fellow inmates and is now in a coma. Reacher meets Barr's defense attorney, Helen Rodin, the District Attorney's daughter, who has been saddled with the apparently hopeless task of saving Barr from the death penalty.
Helen can let Reacher see the evidence if he will become her investigator. Reacher retorts that he is not interested in clearing Barr. He reveals that Barr had gone on a killing spree during his tour in Iraq but was not prosecuted because, unbeknownst to Barr, his victims were under investigation for numerous rapes and the U.S. Army wanted them forgotten. Reacher vowed that if Barr tried anything like this again, he would take him down.
Reacher agrees to investigate if Helen visits the victims' families to learn about the people murdered that day. Reacher goes to the crime scene and finds inconsistencies about this location, thinking that a trained shooter would have done the killings from the cover of the van on the nearby Fort Duquesne Bridge. After Helen reports her findings about the victims to Reacher, he suggests that the owner of a local construction company was the intended victim, while the other victims served as a cover-up.
After an apparently spurious bar fight, Reacher realizes that someone is attempting to strong-arm him into dropping his investigation. Reacher is later framed for the murder of the young woman who was paid to instigate the bar-room brawl, but this only motivates him further. Reacher eventually follows up a lead at a shooting range in the neighboring state of Ohio, owned by former U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Martin Cash, who will talk only if Reacher will demonstrate his U.S. Army sniping skills.
The real perpetrators are a gang masquerading as a legitimate construction firm, led by a former Soviet political prisoner known only as the Zec (prisoner). The gang kidnaps Helen with the aid of Detective Emerson and holds her hostage at a quarry. After he steals Helen's Mercedes-Benz, Reacher outwits the mob guards, killing them (along with Emerson) with Cash's help, before confronting the Zec about the conspiracy. The Zec points out that Reacher has killed most of the witnesses against him and doubts that he would be convicted, while also admitting that any prison sentence he is likely to serve would be relatively easy compared to his time in Siberia. Reacher shoots the Zec in the head on the spot.
Reacher and Cash flee the scene with confidence that Helen will clear Reacher's name. When Barr awakens from his coma, he tells Helen that he has no recent memory but believes that he must be guilty of the shootings. Barr's mental reconstruction of how he would have committed the shootings confirms that Reacher's theory was correct from the beginning. Still unaware of all these developments, Barr is willing to accept both responsibility and his punishment, fearing that Reacher will mete out justice if the law does not. However, it is clear he will be cleared of charges in this killing spree. Meanwhile Reacher, sitting in a bus, turns around to a man eve-teasing a woman sitting beside him.
- Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher
- Rosamund Pike as Helen Rodin
- Richard Jenkins as Alex Rodin
- Werner Herzog as Zec Chevolek
- David Oyelowo as Detective Calvin Emerson
- Jai Courtney as Charlie
- Joseph Sikora as James Barr
- Robert Duvall as Cash
- Michael Raymond-James as Linsky
- Josh Helman as Jeb Emerson
- Alexia Fast as Sandy
- James Martin Kelly as Rob Farrior
- Nicole Forester as Nancy Holt
Attempts to adapt author Lee Child's Jack Reacher novel series into a film have been made ever since the character debuted in 1997's Killing Floor. After being optioned with no success to PolyGram and later New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures and Cruise/Wagner Productions acquired the film rights in 2005. Screenwriter Josh Olson was then hired to adapt Child's then-most recent novel in the Reacher series, One Shot (2005). In July 2010, Christopher McQuarrie, who previously collaborated with Cruise/Wagner Productions on the 2008 film Valkyrie, signed on to rework Olson's script and ultimately direct the film.
In June 2011, Tom Cruise was in talks for playing the role of Jack Reacher. The following month, Cruise closed a deal with the studios and signed on for the part. Some fans of the novel series became vocal over the casting of Cruise due to the actor's height not matching the description of Reacher in the novels. Explaining the casting decision, author Lee Child said that it would be impossible to find a suitable actor to play the giant Reacher and to recreate the feel of the book onscreen, and that Cruise had the talent to make an effective Reacher. Child also said, "Reacher's size in the books is a metaphor for an unstoppable force, which Cruise portrays in his own way." Of Cruise's relatively small stature, Child said, "With another actor you might get 100% of the height but only 90% of Reacher. With Tom, you'll get 100% of Reacher with 90% of the height."
Following the casting of Cruise, Rosamund Pike was cast as the female lead. Other actresses who were in the running for the role included Hayley Atwell and Alexa Davalos. By September 2011, the main cast was locked in with the hiring of David Oyelowo, Richard Jenkins, Jai Courtney, and Robert Duvall. Werner Herzog, primarily known for his directorial work, rounded out the cast in October 2011 when he signed on to play the film's chief villain.
In a 2018 interview, two years after the 2016 release of the sequel, Child agreed that the readers were correct in their criticism, stating:
I really enjoyed working with Cruise. He's a really, really nice guy. We had a lot of fun. But ultimately the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really, really important and it's a big component of who he is...So what I've decided to do is – there won't be any more movies with Tom Cruise. Instead we're going to take it to Netflix or something like that. Long-form streaming television, with a completely new actor. We're rebooting and starting over and we're going to try and find the perfect guy.
Production on the film began in October 2011 and was completed in January 2012. Cruise performed all of his own driving stunts during the film's signature car chase sequence. "Action to me is something very fun to shoot. The challenge in most car chases is you're trying to hide the fact that it's not the actor driving," McQuarrie said. "The challenge here was the exact opposite. We were trying to find a way to show that it was always Tom driving. He's literally driving in every stunt sequence."
In February 2012, Kevin Messick, one of the film's executive producers, sued Don Granger and Gary Levinsohn, two other producers, for breach of contract over a joint venture agreement, claiming he had "helped to develop the film, renew Paramount's options for the rights to the book, and participated in the search for a screenwriter" but starting in July 2010, had been left out of meetings with the screenwriter and the studio and not given certain drafts of the screenplay while it was under development. Messick is suing for "unspecified damages, his producer's fees and the right to participate in any upcoming sequels."
The film's musical score was composed by Joe Kraemer, who previously scored director McQuarrie's The Way of the Gun (2000). Kraemer was announced as the composer for the film in July 2012, having already started work on it. After spending eight weeks working with McQuarrie on materials to present to producers, Kraemer's hiring was approved and he directly began working on the film's opening eight minutes. "I have a number of tricks that I use to spark the creative process," said Kraemer on his scoring process after having seen the film. "Sometimes I'll use my mathematical understanding of music to devise a theme (such as the open fifths of Reacher's theme), sometimes I'll have an orchestral color in mind (i.e. the music for THE ZEC). The actual composing process probably resembles Max Steiner more than anyone else I know of. I start at the first frame of the movie and work my through to the end, chronologically, in order."
The film is noted for its balance between music and silence, with music primarily absent or reserved during a majority of the film's action sequences. Discussing his approach to this balance, Kraemer described, "Music can make such an impact when it enters a scene, and obviously the only way to do that is to have silence beforehand. I also generally like to have long tails on my cues so that they sort of fade away rather than ending abruptly. In this way, I try to weave music in and out very carefully so that the audience is as unaware as possible of the entrances and exits. I often cite Patton as a prime example of great spotting – a three and half hour biopic with, what, twenty-eight minutes of score? That's unheard of today. But it worked!"
The score was performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony and recorded at the Sony Scoring Stage in Culver City, California. A soundtrack album for the film was released on December 18, 2012 by La-La Land Records.
- Track listing
|1.||"Main Title"||Joe Kraemer||3:50|
|2.||"Who Is Jack Reacher?"||Joe Kraemer||3:12|
|3.||"The Investigation"||Joe Kraemer||3:20|
|4.||"Barr and Helen"||Joe Kraemer||4:38|
|5.||"Farrier and the Zec"||Joe Kraemer||4:37|
|6.||"The Riverwalk"||Joe Kraemer||4:04|
|7.||"Helen's Story"||Joe Kraemer||3:12|
|9.||"Helen in Jeopardy"||Joe Kraemer||4:58|
|10.||"The Quarry Sequence"||Joe Kraemer||3:57|
|12.||"Finale & End Credits"||Joe Kraemer||7:30|
|13.||"Prisoner Human Being"||Joe Kraemer||4:37|
|13.||"Suite from Jack Reacher"||Joe Kraemer||6:48|
Jack Reacher, then titled One Shot, was originally slated to be released in February 2013. In March 2012, the release date was brought forward by Paramount Pictures to December 21, 2012, hoping to capitalize on the box office success of Cruise's Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which was released at a similar point in 2011. The film's new release date pushed the release of World War Z back six months.
The film was released in North American markets on December 21, 2012, with a premiere initially planned for Pittsburgh's SouthSide Works megaplex on December 15, 2012, which was to be attended by the film's stars, and Lee Child.
On December 15, 2012, Paramount Pictures announced it was indefinitely postponing the film's premiere screening in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, out of respect for the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which had occurred the day before. The opening scene shows a sniper shooting at people including a woman holding a small child, and one point aiming the cross-hairs directly at her. Writer-director McQuarrie endorsed the decision, saying he and Cruise insisted upon it:
Nobody should be celebrating anything 24 hours after a tragic event like that. We thought long and hard about it. This was not a snap judgment, because we wanted to give back to the city of Pittsburgh [by having the premiere there], because they were so great to us.
Jack Reacher was released onto Blu-ray and DVD formats in the United Kingdom on April 22 and in North American territories on May 7, 2013 by Paramount Home Media Distribution. The Blu-ray release contains two commentary tracks and three behind-the-scenes featurettes. Jack Reacher received a 4K UHD Blu-Ray release on June 26, 2018.
Jack Reacher grossed $80.1 million in North America and $138.3 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $218.3 million, against a budget of $60 million.
In North America, the film opened in 3,352 cinemas. Jack Reacher went on to gross $5.1 million on its opening day in the U.S. and Canada, and $15.6 million in its opening weekend. The film held well in its second weekend, dropping only 10.2% to a total of $14.1 million and ranking at No. 5.
Upon its opening five-day international start, making $5.5 million in the UK and $4.4 million in France, the film grossed a total of $18.1 million from 32 international markets. Throughout the following weeks, the film expanded to additional international markets and grossed an international total of $136,497,530.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 64%, based on 181 reviews, with a rating average of 6.27/10. The website's critical consensus states, "Jack Reacher is an above-average crime thriller with a smoothly charismatic performance from Tom Cruise." On Metacritic the film has a weighted score of 50 out of 100, based on reviews from 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade filmgoers gave the film was an "A-" on an A+ to F scale.
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "Tom Cruise is in fine form as mysterious tough guy Jack Reacher finally reaches the big screen." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote: "This is Cruise's show. And he nails it. The patented smile is gone, replaced by a glower that makes Jack Reacher a dark and dazzling ride into a new kind of hell." Dec 18, 2012
Many of the negative reviews still referred to the film as entertaining, including The Guardian, which called it "outrageous but entertaining". Peter Debruge of Variety was critical of the casting of Cruise as Reacher: "Reacher is a brawny action figure whose exploits would have been a good fit for the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone back in the day, but feel less fun when delegated to a leading man like Tom Cruise. The star is too charismatic to play someone so cold-blooded, and his fans likely won't appreciate the stretch. " Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "That Cruise fails to make a case for Reacher's allure, though, has less to do with physical dissonance than it does with the film's inability - stupefying inability, really - to otherwise make a case for the character's originality in a movie so choked with visual clichés and dreadfully moldy dialogue."
While Jack Reacher was intended to be a tent-pole for a film series, it was initially reported that a sequel would be unlikely due to its lackluster run at the North American box office. However, in February 2013, the possibility of a sequel became more likely after the film surpassed a gross of $200 million worldwide. On December 9, 2013, it was announced that Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions were moving forward with the development of a sequel, reportedly based on the 2013 Jack Reacher novel Never Go Back.
Principal photography on the sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, began on October 20, 2015, in New Orleans. The sequel was directed by Edward Zwick, produced by Tom Cruise, Don Granger, and Christopher McQuarrie and was written by Zwick, Richard Wenk, and Marshall Herskovitz. It stars Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Patrick Heusinger, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh, and Holt McCallany. The plot follows Reacher going on-the-run with an army major who has been framed for espionage, and it reveals a dark conspiracy. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was released on October 21, 2016, in IMAX and conventional formats. It grossed $161 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics.
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- Jack Reacher: Never Go Back - The IMAX Experience