Back in 2006, after extensive watching/reading research, I concluded that Jack Reacher, ex-MP hero of the terrific book series by Lee Child, was tougher than Jack Bauer, terrorist battling hero of the terrific TV series "24."
I fondly remember one Reacher bar fight which began with him calmly sitting at a table. He’s confronted by half a dozen guys out to give him a bad time. Reacher suggests that they should take a hike. Their leader says, “If we don’t, what are you going to do?”
Reacher then describes in exquisite detail what will happen. “You and I are going to go out to the parking lot. You’re going to take a swing at me and I’ll break your jaw. Then you’ll take another swing and I’ll break your right kneecap. After that, I’m going to come back inside and finish my beer." Which, of course, is exactly what happened.
Bauer can handle himself in any sort of situation, but almost always he’s got a gun in his hand. In the last Lee Child book I read, “One Shot,” Reacher dispatches four well-armed guys (who seriously deserved to be dispatched) with just a knife. Bauer maybe could do that too, but he’d have to work at it harder than the other Jack.
Having read every novel Lee Child has published so far, I'm enthused about the Jack Reacher movie scheduled for release in late December, 2012.
But Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher? Horrible casting mistake.
Maybe good for the box office, but no way is Cruise a believable Reacher to anyone, like me, who is intimately familiar with Reacher's (admittedly fictional) personality, demeanor, and overall macho'osity.
I'll try to keep an open mind, though.
Cruise might pull it off. He's just so damn small. And lacking the blunt brute force of Jack Reacher. Still, I can visualize Cruise's acting having the requisite cockiness. I just finished Lee Child's "The Affair," which I believe is the most recent Jack Reacher novel.
Loved it. The passages where Reacher deals with some tough southern rednecks are classic. Excerpts:
I looked at the alpha dog and said, "This is your plan?"
He didn't answer.
I said, "Four guys? Is that all?"
He didn't answer.
...I said, "It's a shame one of you isn't bigger. Or two or three of you. Or all of you, actually."
Reacher advises them to rethink their plan and come back with dozens of guys, a big overwhelming force. Ending with: "I'll be here. Whenever you're ready." Later, they do come back. In a disappointing way for Reacher.
"Six of you?" I said. "Is that it?"
"That's kind of incremental, isn't it?" I said. "I was hoping for something a little more radical. Like the difference between an airborne company and an armored division. I guess we were thinking along different lines. I have to say, I'm kind of disappointed."
Naturally it turns out that Jack Reacher was right. Six big rednecks was nowhere near enough manpower to defeat Reacher. However, he did get a little blood on his newly bought shirt. Not his own, of course. That irritated him.
But didn't interfere with his diner "date" with the awesomely beautiful woman who serves as sheriff of the small town. Jack Reacher never loses a fight. Or a woman he wants to bed. He's the toughest and coolest Jack.
For sure. Don't blow it, Tom Cruise. Us Jack Reacher fans will never forgive you if you do. Sadly, the trailer for the Jack Reacher movie isn't encouraging. Cruise just doesn't have the Reacher vibe.