Jack Reacher 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
JACK REACHER is based off Lee Child’s book “One Shot”, which was actually the eighth book in the Jack Reacher series. And maybe that’s why the film feels like a sequel. In fact, JACK REACHER would have made a great sequel since the film is set up just like what you’d expect a sequel to be; we start out with a bad guy doing bad things, then a victim asks for Jack Reacher, then another character gives a speech about how awesome Jack is and then Jack shows up. No explanation, no background, nothing. Our hero is immediately thrust into the murder mystery, as if everyone watching the film knew who he was and what he was capable of. Unfortunately, those of us that haven’t read the books knew nothing about Jack Reacher and so the film felt a little incomplete.
When Barr (Joseph Sikora) is accused of murdering random strangers with a sniper rifle, Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) shows up to make things right. It seems Reacher and Barr have a history dating back to their military days and Reacher is making good on a promise. But the case is not as open and shut as initially thought and so Barr’s attorney, Helen (Rosamund Pike), asks Jack to look into it for her. He starts to unravel a conspiracy mystery and as he does, the bad guys start trying to kill him, albeit unsuccessfully.
A lot of the appeal of the character of Jack Reacher is how he lives his life. He’s a drifter, owns nothing, answers to no one and is as tough as they come. Those basic qualities are enough to carry a character in a book because in a book you can take your time establishing characters and minor details can be revealed that help build those characters. Movies don’t have that luxury. So it was sometimes hard to get behind Jack Reacher as we followed him along during his investigation because we had zero personal connection to him. It would have helped to have a better understanding of his situation and why he lives the way he does. And I understand the mystery of Jack Reacher is part of the fun of the character, but for his first movie, we needed to know more about him.
With all that said, the movie works because of Tom Cruise. Once you just accept that you’re not going to learn what makes Jack Reacher tick, you can sit back and enjoy him being a great tough guy. I got a thrill out of watching him plow through bad guys with ease and if anything, I wanted to see more of him interacting with other characters. I was less interested in the motivations and actions of the villains and more interested in seeing Jack Reacher be Jack Reacher. I was less than impressed with Rosamund Pike, who overacted every scene she was in. I’m not sure if she didn’t understand what she was saying or if she was getting bad direction from Christopher McQuarrie, but she was a distraction in an otherwise top notch cast.
The murder mystery and investigation is actually done very well. I would hesitate to use the term “twist”, because I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone, but the mystery is revealed very well by McQuarrie and the story obviously had a lot of thought and time put into it. The action scenes are also very well done, providing a realistic approach to the story rather than succumbing to the blockbuster tendency to go over the top. I appreciated that they made Jack Reacher human in his reactions to getting hit; he’s not Superman and when someone hits him, he stumbles. That’s refreshing in any movie that features a tough guy.
JACK REACHER does have its problems. I’m not sure why Paramount decided to start with the eighth book in the series rather than maybe going with “The Enemy” (technically the ninth book in the series, but the first one if we’re going in chronological order). “One Shot” was not the best way to introduce the character, but even with that glaring problem, the film is still enjoyable. Tom Cruise fans will forgive the problems and enjoy watching him give another great performance while others might be disappointed with the lack of setup.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: The Blu-ray for JACK REACHER looks great and since this was presumably sourced from a 2K master, the upgrades are nominal at best. The night scenes have a little extra pop as the settings have more detail and the colors have more depth. The close-ups look clearer and some of the wide shots have a little more color to them. But there’s nothing here that’s going to wow you in terms of picture quality and the improvements are small. This is an upgrade only for those competeteists that want both JACK REACHER films on 4K.
Audio: The same DTS-MA track from the Blu-ray is included on the 4K.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does come with a Blu-ray, which has all of the special features included on our JACK REACHER Blu-ray Review.