JACK THE GRIPPER; Superstar Tom Cruise Takes Control in a Fast–paced Movie That's Certain to Bring in the New Year with a Bang

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Byline: MOVIE REVIEWS BY JOHN MILLAR

JACK REACHER 12A

In the best–selling novels of Lee Child, ex–military cop Jack Reacher stands six foot five inches tall, weighs in at around 15 stone and has a mop of blond hair.

Hardly a Tom Cruise look–alike then. Bizarre though the casting may seem, Cruise manages to deliver as the drifter who doesn't allow red tape or rules to stand in the way of his pursuit of justice.

With a screen credit that proclaims this is "A Tom Cruise Production", Jack Reacher shapes up very nicely as an action movie that is designed to achieve franchise status.

There is certainly a sufficient number of the novels to provide movie material.

This opening effort is based on the novel One Shot. After a seemingly demented sniper randomly picks off five people, an arrest is made and the case, to all appearances, is cut and dried.

But the prime suspect – before being conveniently battered into a coma by fellow prison inmates – has asked the authorities to send for the mysterious Jack Reacher.

The District Attorney (Richard Jenkins) is still trying to figure who Jack Reacher is, why their suspect should ask for him and where exactly Reacher might be found when he appears out of nowhere.

Pretty soon it becomes clear that Reacher is a deadly force to be reckoned with and that he and the alleged sniper have a history that dates to a time when they were in uniform. But the men are far from friends.

defence attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike) – who wears shorter skirts and lower cut tops than you might expect from a member of the legal profession – also comes to appreciate that Reacher is the perfect investigator to get to the true reason for the killings and to establish the extent of her client's involvement. …