Movie reviews: Jack Reacher: Never Look Back and Don’t Breathe

I know, you haven’t seen a film review from me in MONTHS.  That’s because there’s been mostly JACK SHIT (pun intended for today’s review) leading back to Captain America 3 in May.  I thought about it yesterday; I haven’t seen anything in the theater for 3 months.  That’s an INSANELY long absence for a film buff like me but I’m refusing to pay 15 bucks for mediocrity.   “Jack Reacher: Never Look Back” came out yesterday and I really enjoyed the first one so I said fuck it, let’s do a double dip and also see Sully.  Well, NJ transit reared their ugly head yet again and got me to a voiceover audition 25 minutes late which also fucked up my film schedule.  So I called an audible and also checked out, “Don’t Breathe.”

reacher

JR2 is a follow up to the hugely popular book series, Jack Reacher.  They didn’t start with Reacher’s first book for the first film nor do they for this film.  Don’t worry, if you didn’t see the first film or read the books, you won’t be lost at all.  The biggest discrepancy between the books and films is that in the books, Jack Reacher is 6’4″, blonde hair, blue eyes, and 250 lbs of muscle.  And then playing Reacher in the films is Tom Cruise who is very much the opposite of 6’4.”  I swear at one point in a hotel room scene with Cobie Smulders, I thought he was standing on a platform to be at her eye level.

Cruise plays Reacher, a former MP who pretty much just roams the country where he keeps in touch with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) and when he comes to visit her, find out she’s been locked up for treason.  Reacher believes in his friend so he breaks her out so she can prove her innocence and then gets involved into a web of selling US weaponry mixed in with mercenaries.  Action scenes ensure, Tom Cruise runs like he’s mimicking the T-1000 from Terminator 2, and of course, more than your fair share of cutesy poo action film cliches.

I read the book a few years ago but I don’t recall anything except that in the book, Reacher and Turner have “relations.”  Maybe Cruise wanted to keep this PG-13, maybe he didn’t want to fake his way through heterosexual love scenes, who knows.  Does it affect the plot? Of course not.

I had no desire to see the first film in the theater when I saw the trailers because it looked like every blasé action film.  I was pleasantly surprised when I did catch the first JR.  The second trailer was presented just like the first, nothing to get you excited to drop $15 for.  Was I as pleasantly surprised with this one?  Not really.  This film is fine, Cruise does a solid job in 75% of his films.  There are some good action scenes but nothing you haven’t seen before.  Cruise doesn’t push the envelope like he does with the Mission Impossible films.  Then again, if you read the Reacher books, he’s not a glitzy action hero.  You can totally wait for Netflix for this one but if you’re dying to get out of the house and see something, you can see this without feeling ripped off.  If it’s either this or “Madea blackmails Hollywood into funding another film”, always go with couch jumping Cruise.

I’ll give it a 6.5 out of 10.

dont

Again, NJ transit torpedoed my schedule yet again this week so I didn’t get a chance to see Sully.  Instead, I chose a film that did well at the box office but more importantly, got a lot of solid reviews.  That was the suspense film, “Don’t Breathe.”  A trio of Detroit dirtbags (I know, I’m redundant when I say that) enjoy breaking into people’s homes and pilfering valuables.  Out of the gates, I had a problem with these establishing scenes because they’re the sloppiest criminals.  The lead actress lays in the bed of the house they break into.  Sure, leave a few hair strands as evidence so you can get picked up by the cops in 3 days, that’s logical thinking.  Didn’t any of these kids see “the Town” where they shower and buzz their hair?  Or “The Departed” where Marky Mark shows up to kill Matt Damon in scrubs from head to toe?  It’s obvious no one will ever recruit people from Detroit to be in MENSA.  The guys also walk around with reckless abandon and in reality, this film should’ve been 13 minutes long.

Barring those gaping holes in the believability factor, this film does get better.  The gang gets word that a blind, Gulf War veteran is sitting on 300k in cash he got from a payout when his daughter was accidentally killed.  They break in to rob the place and of course, things don’t go as planned.  I guess the rule of thumb is never underestimate a blind guy who’s been trained by the military…except Ben Affleck’s Daredevil, the story of a blind superhero.  True story, Mike? (Insert Mike and the Mad Dog reference?  Check.)  A few twists and turns, a few buttonhole puckering scenes, and the obligatory smash cuts with loud sound effects to make you jump take place,  and you’re out of the theater in 95 minutes.

This film was fine as well.  Can you watch it on netflix and feel just as satiated, no question.  But it was at least more original than the dogshit reboots we’ve seen.  It’s enjoyable and again, between this or Madea (Or as I call her, Black Tootsie), this is a no brainer.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

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