It is tempting to simply state that Jack Reacher is an unabridged love story doting on Rosamund Pike's chest--because, well, it sort of is--and just leave it at that, but once one is able to step back and attempt to extricate one's brain from such base thoughts it becomes clear that at the very least the new "Tom Cruise star vehicle"* is a completely engaging action-thriller, rife with intrigue, conspiracy, and crisp action sequences.
For screenwriter-by-trade Christopher McQuarrie, Jack Reacher marks just the second time he has stepped behind the camera (metaphorically, of course)--the first time being The Way of the Gun. While it has been so long since I saw The Way of the Gun that I can't even recall if it was good or not, I'll refrain from getting too far into his background. In his most recent project, he has crafted an effective action-thriller with a contemporary take on the great paranoia thrillers of the 1970s. Does Jack Reacher reach the lofty heights of being on par with Three Days of the Condor or The Conversation? Of course not. It is, however, an engaging journey as the titular retired military investigator pieces together a spree killing in which the evidence is wrapped up in entirely too nice a package.
For his part (and once you get through the personal baggage that is inevitable), Cruise still plays the part of the action star extremely well. Just as was clear in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Cruise inhabits these roles with a swagger and confidence that not many can muster. He has a preternatural ability to embody these stoic badasses. It may not be the coolest thing to say, but Cruise really is a hell of an action star. When paired with Rosamund Pike (I'll just leave it there), Cruise has produced another memorable if not spectacular action thriller that is, at the very least, a ride worth paying to go on.