Tom Cruise and "Jack Reacher"

(PG-13) ★★★½

 It doesn't take long for you to realize that Tom Cruise hasn't lost his touch in Christopher McQuarrie's thrilling Jack Reacher. The film is based on a popular series of books that feature a tall, muscular looking titular hero - Cruise is not tall and not as muscular as the book describes him to be. That was a problem for many fans. Cruise proves them wrong by infusing a real sense of professionalism into his acting. He IS Jack Reacher and makes us all to aware of how good an actor he can be. McQuarrie -in his second feature after 2000's underrated The Way Of The Gun- has made an action picture that we badly needed in 2012.

His film has a real 1970's feel to it along the lines of Billy Jack or Walking Tall mixed with Dirty Harry or numerous westerns with strong, silent types. See, Reacher is a former military investigator with a mind that is always a step or two ahead of everyone else. He looks at the obvious evidence and immediately notes a list of doubts where none previously existed. A seemingly random sniper attack is a bold way to begin a movie given recent real-life events, but the opening sequence is executed with methodical precision and daring so that we can quickly believe in Reacher's conspiracy theories.

In the blink of an eye, Reacher has appeared out of nowhere (his usual address) and is in the middle of the investigation being conducted by the lawyer of the wrongly accused James Barr (Joseph Sikora). The defense lawyer is played by Rosamund Pike, whose character is the daughter of the District Attorney (Richard Jenkins). The police detective is played by David Oyelowo and it's easy to tell something isn't completely right with city hall. Reacher roams the beautiful city of Pittsburgh asking questions and piecing together the puzzle left behind by creepy villain The Zec (Werner Herzog) and his henchman Charlie (Jai Courtney).

We get three Reacher fistfights, a "Bullit" type car chase in a beautiful 1970 Chevelle, and some military sharp-shooting from the depths of a quarry. What we don't get is the Hollywood tradition of a Cruise sprint. Not once do we see his trademark all-out dash to or from something. What we get instead is a subdued actor comfortable with his role and ready to entertain at any cost. The 50 year old actor is in astonishingly good shape and continues in the tradition of doing his own stunts. Which got me going into another one of my OCD list making madnesses. Nothing bad. Just a good way to prove how incredible of a career this hollywood star has had.

3 best Tom Cruise performances

(1) Frank TJ Mackey in Magnolia
(2) Ron Kovic in Born On The Fourth Of July
(3) Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder

10 best Tom Cruise movies

(1) Magnolia
(2) Rain Man
(3) Minority Report
(4) Eyes Wide Shut
(5) Collateral
(6) Risky Business
(7) A Few Good Men
(8) War Of The Worlds
(9) Born On The Fourth Of July
(10) Mission Impossible
(10) Vanilla Sky