The West

Not quite reaching the heights
Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher

THIS first film based on Lee Child’s almost superhuman super-sleuth Jack Reacher does its best to bring the police procedural into the 2010s, with some smart writing and directing from Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects).

But there’s an overriding sense that without the commanding central performance by Tom Cruise (Reacher), this first instalment might have stalled before the franchise even began.

In the books, Child’s Reacher is a strapping 196cm with blonde hair and ice-blue eyes.

Cruise is 170cm with almost jet-black hair.

Yet Cruise makes the character his own.

In a bar-room sequence, he’s set upon by five hired goons. He tells them exactly how he’ll take each one down and gives them a chance to back out.

Then he takes them down — with bone-crunching efficiency — the exact way he described.

It’s a scene that lets Cruise do what he does best; unleash a cool can of mixed martial arts whoop-ass.

Jack Reacher is a fairly standard detective murder-mystery with all the cliched trimmings.

Engaging, economical and popcorn- munching fun, Jack Reacher is as predictable as any Tom Cruise box-office hit.

It’s as neat as one of his kidney punches, but not quite the knockout of one of his round-house kicks.

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