Thursday, February 20, 2014

This is not a book review

I've been devouring Lee Child's Jack Reacher series and am enjoying them immensely. So I tried watching the Jack Reacher movie, curious to see how they could translate it into the big screen.

No, my hopes aren't the level of Star Trek geeks anticipating Episode I.

*moar rant below cut*

What a disappointment. The movie version of One Shot is long and dreary, and I fell asleep 45 minutes before it ended. Rosamund Pike does better in villanous roles: here, she just look wide eyed clueless, which is not what Helen Rodin should be. They updated it to be more recent and not follow the book's timeline; but I get that because the younger audience may not have an appreciation for what survival from the gulags and Cold War artifacts could mean. The plot veered erratically from the book, giving away a huge chunk of the surprise within 5 minutes of the opening scene. 

But the greatest disappointment was the protagonist. The book Jack Reacher is a dichotomy: a huge man (he's described as 6'5", 220 - 250lb) who is near invisible as well as a drifter with massive intellect. He often gets around on foot, which makes it easier for him to blend in, regardless of his size. For all his violence, he is rarely caught and stays off the authorities' radar quite effectively.

I could go along with having Tom Cruise cast even though he's nearly a foot shorter. Though I could picture Dolph Lundgren or Armie Hammer as the protagonist, you need star power to bankroll movies and it was Cruise who got the movie rights. But the needless car chase scenes, Reacher being dumped in jail (although no charges pressed), him being a chaste monk (dude may not be super hot but he does get around, if you know what I mean) and needlessly being a dick is just annoying. 

I mean, come on! The source material is rich with characterisation and plot! It's got everything: suspense, violence, sex, violence, thinky investigative stuff, and more violence! How could you waste it! *tears hair out by clumps metaphorically (can't afford to lose more)* 

Some of the reviewers said that the film is a throwback to gritty thriller films of the 1980s where it's more plot driven and not dependent on CGI levelling half the cities to get bang for buck. I grew up watching stuff like the Death Wish series and shows like The Equalizer and The Wiseguy. They don't move like molasses unlike this film. Oh well, I guess mileage will vary.

Maybe it's not a good idea to read the book first before watching the movie. I should have learnt from Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. But I kept hoping I'd be pleasantly surprised, the way I was pleasantly surprised with Dexter the TV show. But perhaps that has more to do with Michael C Hall's talent with truly sharp screenwriting.



naz said...

The cat is cute

Snuze said...

Cats are often cute.