A former Army sharpshooter appears to randomly kill five people in Pittsburgh, Penn. In what looks to be an open and shut case, James Barr is arrested and makes only one request: Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). Reacher, who has a vendetta against Barr for murders he committed in Iraq, looks to make sure that Barr pays for these crimes after he was acquitted in Iraq on a technicality.
Barr's attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike) strikes a deal with Reacher: she'll show him the evidence in the case if he becomes an investigator for the defense. And so the action begins.
"Jack Reacher" is based on Lee Child's 2005 novel "One Shot". Reacher is a drifter, who lives off the grid, always using cash, doesn't own credit cards and is unable to be found, unless he wants to be found. Reacher is a former United States Army Military Police major. When asked what the difference was between military police and regular police, Reacher responds that they are about the same, except every suspect is a trained killer.
As Reacher begins his quest to bury Barr he begins to discover mounting evidence that convinces him that Barr may not be as guilty as Reacher initially suspected. This cat and mouse escapade takes him to a gun range where Reacher can show off his mad sniper shooting skills in a hilarious scene with Robert Duvall, who plays former Marine Gunnery Sgt. Cash. Reacher's persistence takes him into the depths of the Russian mob as he tries to figure out who is really behind the murders of the five seemingly random individuals who turn out to have more connections than he can count.
Cruise turns in a fun performance as the title character although Reacher is described as being a giant in the novel. However, Cruise delivers the essence of the Reacher character even performing his own stunts in the film. The car chase sequence is the climax of the film and it is all Cruise, showing why even at 50 he continues to have tremendous box office appeal especially in action films.
The film is not all bad; it's a fun action film that really suffers from poor positioning at the box office. Meshed together with films like "Les Miserables", "Django Unchained" and "Lincoln" who are making pushes toward awards season, "Jack Reacher" is lost in the shuffle. However, fans looking for a change of pace during the holiday season that may be tired of epic adventures in Middle Earth, singing heroes and movies where everyone dies will enjoy Reacher for its fast pace action.
"Jack Reacher" earns three out of five stars. It is rated PG-13 for violence, language and some drug material.