Tom Cruise joins forces with Valkyrie and The Usual Suspects screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, who takes on directing duties for this adaptation of Lee Child's Jack Reacher novel One Shot.
Reacher is an ex-army military police major turned drifter, and the casting of Cruise as the imposing 114kg, 1.96m character of the page was a controversial decision among fans of the best-sellers. Though the physical likeness is questionable, Cruise obviously felt he could bring something to the role - and as a producer he could probably do as he liked.
I've never been tempted to read a Lee Child book so I'm not familiar with the character, but if Reacher is supposed to be a smart and intense man with an obsession for the truth and little regard for how he finds it, then Cruise does a good job bringing him to life.
He attempts to some degree to swagger like a bigger man, but it's A-list charisma and a sense of humour that delivers.
Slick and superbly shot, the film begins with the random shooting of five strangers by a sniper - it's no wonder premiere screenings have been postponed in the United States, given the recent shootings there.
Reacher teams up with the shooter's attorney, Helen Rodin (Pike), to investigate what seems like a straightforward case.
With an acute awareness of his surroundings, an analytical mind, and an uncanny ability to know the distance to the nearest bus stop, Reacher quickly realises there is more to the case than first thought.
The structure of this narrative is pretty stock-standard crime thriller, but this version is amped up with testosterone, tense car chases, hand-to-hand combat and cold-blooded killing.
Though rather far-fetched and implausible, the action sequences fit comfortably with the story and look of the film, as opposed to a number of gratuitous images of Pike's heaving cleavage.
German film-maker Werner Herzog makes a great impression as the film's villain, but it's Robert Duvall, as an ex-marine shooting range owner, who steals the show. Duvall and Cruise have a tangible chemistry and, as the only character who really gets to play off Reacher, the result is great fun. Expect more of the same from Cruise and McQuarrie in the next few years, they could be on to a winner.
Cast: Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Running time: 130 mins
Rating: M (violence and offensive language)
Verdict: Slick, entertaining macho thrillerTom Cruise and Robert Duvall in Jack Reacher.