17 Dec

On December 21st the movie, Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise is coming out.  The movie is based off the character Jack Reacher, who is the character in a popular book series by author Lee Child.

Child's first "Reacher novel"

Child’s first “Reacher novel”

I first discovered these books early in high school and really enjoyed them.  I quickly read through all of the books in this series that I could get my hands on (unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to keep up with them more recently).  The books are intelligently written, full of action, and very entertaining.  As a reader, you grow to love the character of Reacher – a renegade avenger who takes justice into his own hands with a deadly combination of physical strength and shrewd intelligence.

Which is exactly why I CAN’T STAND the idea of Tom Cruise playing Reacher in the films.  The selection of Tom Cruise is about as disingenuine to the character of Reacher as one could possibly be.

Oh, looks like a decent movie?  Allow me to explain…

Reacher is an ex-military MP who is a travelling loner.  He is described as a lumbering, gruff individual who is physically intimidating – approximately 6’4″ and 250 pounds.  He is unkempt and rugged as he roams from place to place with few personal ties, stumbling into various situations which he tries to make “right”.  He’s a brawler who is able to intimidate and dominate in hand-to-hand combat.  He’s willing to break the rules and do what it takes to track down and bring individuals to justice – his version of justice, that is.  He’s not one to make things “pretty” or go for “style points” in this process.  At the same time that he is this physically tough individual, he’s also extremely cerebral.  He assesses and anaylzes situations in the blink of an eye to gauge what his best move will be in certain situations.  He uses this against his enemies to give himself an advantage in nearly every situation.  So while he often ends up overpowering people, much of the legwork is done ahead of time by his astute logic and analytical reasoning that put his opponents at a decided disadvantage.

Tom Cruise contradicts nearly every characteristic that I mentioned above.  Physically, he couldn’t be further from the character of Reacher.  Cruise is one of the smaller Hollywood stars out there.  He is clean-cut and seems to be “slick” or all about the “style points” in his action movies (and in the trailer for this one).  He wants to ride in slick, fast cars and appears to be all about the ladies.  He doesn’t seem to have that loner, lumbering, renegade mentality in which he is in pursuit of justice in the name of justice nor is he willing to “ugly it up” in the process.  The whole thing reeks of trying to grab a big-name star to bring in ratings while completely betraying the integrity of the character that Lee Child created.

Tom Cruise as Reacher.

Tom Cruise as Reacher.

Will I watch the movie when it comes out?  I haven’t decided.  I’ve seen several trailers and obviously have decided that they are doing a disservice to the books that I greatly enjoy.  I have little faith that they will remain true to the books.  At the same time, I am still curious to see the whole thing for myself.  We’ll see…


Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Media/Movies/TV, Uncategorized


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14 responses to “REACHER

  1. Buddy

    December 17, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    I almost didn’t read the rest after Tom Cruise was mentioned.


  2. trokspot

    December 17, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    I heard that he is your favorite


  3. Logan

    December 18, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    Seriously. I’ve loved these books for many years myself and I could not believe when I heard that they cast Tom Cruise as Reacher. Nobody could be further from portraying Jack Reacher. I too am still debating whether or not to see the movie.


    • trokspot

      December 18, 2012 at 8:13 AM

      Yeah, I find it hard to believe that anyone who has read and enjoyed the books would be happy about Tom Cruise as Reacher…

      Let me know what you think of the movie if you decide to see it.


  4. Andy

    December 18, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    You know I have hated this casting choice since day one. Another point regarding “style” is that Reacher usually just buys cheap clothes from gas stations and wears them for three or four days before throwing them away. Not skinny jeans and fancy jackets like Cruise is wearing in the trailer. And the movie is just called “Jack Reacher” instead of “One Shot,” which is the book it is based on. In general, I have trouble believing that Lee Child is on board with the decisions made for this film, though he probably doesn’t mind the paycheck.


    • trokspot

      December 18, 2012 at 10:17 AM

      Exactly… and a single debit card with a small amount of cash on it. A bit more humble than Tom Cruise will make him out to be.

      I had a similar question (though I didn’t put it in the post): I was wondering if Lee Child was unhappy with the bastardization of Reacher but was willing to go along with it for the pay…


    • trokspot

      December 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      You planning on seeing it?


      • Andy

        December 18, 2012 at 12:13 PM

        No, I will probably just re-listen to One Shot on audiobook. Much more entertaining and won’t leave me feeling bitter. Maybe when it starts showing on TV we can watch it and drink every time Tom Cruise is too small.

        Yes, I am also small, but I wouldn’t cast myself as Reacher either.


  5. Jordan

    December 18, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    I haven’t read any Reacher novels, so I have no attachment to the brand or opinion on Cruise’s suitability. I had heard similar complaints about the casting of Cruise. According to IMDB “Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, Vince Vaughn, Jamie Foxx and Will Smith were considered for the role of Jack Reacher before Tom Cruise was cast. ” Would you have preferred any of those alternatives?

    Also, you might find this Wall Street Journal article of interest. In it Lee Child is quoted as saying: “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.”


    • trokspot

      December 18, 2012 at 1:39 PM

      Interesting on several fronts…
      I saw that list that you posted and I immediately thought of Russell Crowe as having potential (which 2/3 of the way through the article they suggested – glad to see I wasn’t on an island there). I think that those other guys are maybe too well-branded as their own style of superhero/movie persona to be Reacher. He’s a different kind of character and needs someone who is perhaps completely new (not all that plausible, I get it). They’re basically all too iconic already to do such a different character.

      Pitt is too pretty, Jackman too jacked, Vaughn too comical, and Smith too something (not sure). A black Reacher might have been interesting – Jamie Fox maybe could have pulled it off actually. Again, I immediately had Crowe in mind before getting there in the wsj article.

      I also disagree with Child’s 90/100 statement. I think that the size of Cruise is off – yes. But it’s even more about the “style” of Cruise not being compatible with that of Reacher (who is the anti- clean-cut/style points guy).

      I think he’s probably figured out that Cruise is the guy and is now doing his best to lend support so that people check out and enjoy the movie. But that’s just me assuming that.

      Finally [a humblebrag] – I was pretty happy to read the article and the way that they described it and some of the issues surrounding the casting…it made me feel that I did a pretty decent job on here of characterizing some of my own concerns and characterizations of Reacher, which are obviously widely shared. I do agree with Child that regardless, one of the challenges will be to convey Reacher’s inner dialogue on screen – that is one of the nice things about the books – thinking along with and seeing Reacher’s thought process as it happens.

      Anyway, thanks for passing along the article!


  6. Andy

    December 18, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    I think Hugh Jackman might have worked. Think about his Wolverine character, who is basically an ex-military drifter who goes it alone and is willing to break the rules but has a soft side for truth and justice. You’re pretty much already there. Sure he is jacked, but they could have toned that down with shabby wardrobe and he could have laid off the bowflex for a few months. Actually, Jackman would have been perfect. What a shame that didn’t work out.


  7. Jordan

    December 20, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Since I shared the WSJ article, I thought I should also pass along this even better and more interesting piece on Lee Child and Jack Reacher:


    • trokspot

      December 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      That’s a great article. I’m a fan of grantland – must’ve missed that one. Thanks for passing it along!


  8. Scott

    January 3, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    As aggravated by this casting as I was, I’d planned to stay out of this exchange, as you’d all covered it pretty well. Then today I read this passage in A Wanted Man and started seething about T.C. and how he managed to hijack Reacher’s character. This from the POV of FBI Agent Julia Sorenson:

    He was huge. He was one of the largest men she had ever seen outside of the NFL. He was extremely tall, and extremely broad, and long-armed, and long-legged. His knuckles were nearly touching the ground. His eck was thick and his hands were the size of dinner plates. . .

    Sounds just like Tom Cruise.



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