Jack Reacher

We were in a Reacher-y mood, so we decided to stick with him! Time to tackle the first installment of the Reacher film franchise – Jack Reacher, based on the Lee Child book Oneshot.

Smartass Summary: The one from those books!

Slightly less smartass summary: Guy tries to keep a promise, but lady lawyer distracts him.

Ok ok, REAL summary: Bad guys commit multiple murders, good guy commits multiple murders back. But it’s okay because it’s for JUSTICE.

Overall opinion:
Buttered Popcorn likes this movie a lot! There’s plenty of action, plenty of humor, and lots of kickass ass-kicking! (Did you see what we did there?) There’s a mystery to be solved, and that keeps us interested, waiting to see what’s next. But most of all, the bad guys get theirs, and the good guys don’t pull their punches. In other words – it’s great!

***Spoilers beyond this point!***

Fun moments:
You thought Jack Reacher: Never Go Back had great humorous moments? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! (Or maybe you have, we hope you’ve seen this movie!) Here are a few of our favorite funny moments from the film:

​“So you’re Jack Reacher.” We love the part where Reacher, Rodin, Emerson and Helen have their rapid-fire conversation outside Barr’s hospital room. The conversation itself is pretty damn hilarious, but we love the part when, after Emerson and Rodin leave, Helen turns to Reacher and says, “So!” but before she can say anything else, he walks away from her without a word.

“I don’t mind the sight of blood.” Heh.  Heh heh heh.  Just… go watch the movie and get the punch line, because it’s PRICELESS.

“Remember.  You wanted this.” This fight is the BEST thing to hit movies in decades! One of the best things about Reacher, even in the books, is that the bad guys are always underestimating him. They’re always counting on greater numbers to get them victory, but Reacher is a better, smarter fighter and he always  gets the job done. The fight with Sandy’s “brothers” outside the bar is classic book-Reacher, and anybody who’s read the books will recognize his signature style – sizing up the situation, understanding human nature, and kicking the SHIT out of the bad guys.  This fight is particularly funny, because of Reacher’s casual confidence, and the way he tells his opponents exactly who’s going to fight and who’s going to run.  It’s just tons of fun to watch him work!

“Am I stealing your car?” Another big and hilarious fight in the film takes place at Jeb’s house. Two goons try to take Reacher out and end up doing more to help him than to hurt him. It’s physical comedy without being slapstick, and it’s great to watch! But our favorite part is when Reacher disarms a third contender, and “encourages” him (by nearly breaking a finger or two) to give up his car.

“Fine as frog’s hair, and rarer, too.” Basically every interaction between Reacher and Martin Cash, the feisty gun-range owner, is comedy gold. And all his little witticisms are the best. Check them out – play ball!

Deep Themes:
There are a few deep issues we can see in Jack Reacher – from vigilantism to the concept of freedom and choice, to the morality (or lack thereof) within the legal system.  Here are a couple we’d like to highlight.

 

Freedom is in the eye of the beholder.
When Reacher tells Helen that her client is innocent, she decides he must be delusional.  She tells him, “It’s the way you live, the way you move around.  You’re just not cut out for the real world, are you?”  Reacher’s response is to have Helen look out the window at the people still working  in the building across the street.

“Look at the people. Tell me which ones are free. Free from debt. Anxiety. Stress. Fear. Failure. Indignity. Betrayal. How many wish they were born knowing what they know now? Ask yourself, how many would do things the same way all over again? And how many would live their lives like me?”

When we heard this speech in theaters, it had the exact effect we think the writer was going for – it made us reflect on our own lives, our assumptions about other people, our obligations, our debts, and the worries that plague us every day. Helen probably wasn’t too pleased to be reminded of her massive student loan debt from that law degree!  It made us wonder – what would it be like to live a life like Reacher? No luggage, no baggage, only responsible for oneself, and bound only by an internal sense of duty that transcends societal norms, legal boundaries, and even the discipline of the service to which he has (until recently) dedicated his life. For most adults, it would probably be impossible without breaking a few laws and going into bankruptcy. But even so – we’re pretty sure 99% of people watching the film would have said, “Yes – I wish I was born knowing (at least some of) what I know now.” It’s some pretty toothsome food for thought!

 

The Cult of Nice is BULLSHIT.
Reacher is not a nice guy. He’s a good guy, but he’s not nice. And, believe it or not, world? THAT’S OKAY! Culturally, many of us have reached a place where it’s taboo to be angry. It’s socially unacceptable to insist on your own rights. Hell, it’s socially unacceptable to send back your food at a restaurant when it’s wrong. Being “mean” is the worst thing you can do.  Some people behave as if it’s worse than actually committing a crime. In fact, if someone attacks you and you bite back, YOU are the one who has done wrong. YOU need to rise to the occasion and “be the better person”.

For Reacher? That’s a bunch of bullshit. We can see he’s not about being nice when he first meets Helen Rodin and (quite hilariously) walks away from her before she can get more than a single word out. He’s not exactly sweet to Sandy (though he does try to help her), and he never pulls his punches, physical or verbal, with anyone he meets. And as for people actually trying to attack him?  Hey, get out of his way! He will not allow himself to be run over by anyone. And that’s what we like so much about him.

As Tom has said in interviews, there’s a sense of “wish fulfillment” in these movies, and it comes from the fact that Jack Reacher will not let people get away with… jack. (Sorry, we punned, we will sit in a corner for a few hours as penance.) People experience unfairness and injustice all too often. Sometimes, the innocent are “proven” guilty, and sometimes, people perpetuate crimes against each other and get away with it – either through loopholes, or because the laws we have just don’t cover all the bases.  In our lives, your lovely hostesses at Buttered Popcorn have been stolen from multiple times – had a cell phone ripped out of our hands, had our house robbed, had chained bikes stolen from our backyard, had cars (plural) stolen. And the law was not able to catch the criminals in any of those cases.  It’s not the fault of the police and/or detectives.  They do their best, but sometimes, that’s just how it is.

That’s when it pays to be Reacher. “He doesn’t care about proof. He doesn’t care about the law. He only cares what’s right.” He will get the bad guys, and he will show no quarter.  That fiery sense of injustice, where you are looking someone in the eye and you know they’ve wronged you, they know they’ve wronged you, and they have that smug satisfaction because they know they’ve gotten away with it? Yeah. Reacher doesn’t have to deal with that crap. EVER.  He’s the kind of guy we’d all love to be once in a while, and that’s why we love watching him deal out his own brand of justice! Think you’re going to get away with murder while Reacher is around? Think again. (Heh. Just ask the Zec.)

Favorite Quotes:

  • “I’m just a guy who wants to be left alone.” (Reacher to Sandy)
  • “Weird meeting you.” (Emerson to Reacher)
  • “Always the bullet.  I don’t understand.” (The Zec)
  • “I’m sorry, could you please put a shirt on?” (Helen to Reacher)
  • “Am I stealing your car?” “Use it as LONG as you like!” (Reacher and Sandy’s “brother”)
  • “You think I’m a hero?  I am not a hero.  I’m a drifter with nothing to lose.” (Reacher to Charlie)
  • “One look at this guy and you know he’ll do anything to survive.  One look at me and you know I’m not bluffing.” (Reacher to Helen about The Zec)
  • “I mean to beat you to death and drink your blood from a boot.” (Reacher to Charlie)

Favorite Character: Jack Reacher! Duh! Here’s a few (more!) great things about Jack Reacher:

  • He’s funny.  Reacher has great sense of humor, and a great sense of comedic timing. And of course, it’s kind of funny just seeing him calmly beat down his enemies, after casually explaining precisely how they’re going to go down.
  • He’s kind.  Yes, we said it.  And yes, we remember saying that he’s not concerned with being nice.  Being nice and being kind are different, and Reacher shows his kindness in the way he cares about people – even when they’ve wronged him.  He wasn’t nice to Sandy.  He intentionally played head games with her and insulted her, because he knew she was plotting against him.  But he also warned her to leave town when he recognized that she was in danger.
  • He’s fair.  Reacher had every reason to believe that Barr was guilty.  Barr got away with murder before, and Reacher is determined that it won’t happen again.  But when the evidence points to a different answer, Reacher doesn’t let his dislike of Barr, nor his anger that Barr got away with his former crime, blind him to the truth.  Barr is innocent in this case, and Reacher will fight to prove it.  That’s just the kind of stand-up guy he is!

Behind the Scenes Trivia:

  • Tom Cruise read all of the Reacher books that were available at the time, while prepping for this role.
  • Tom did all of his own driving for Jack Reacher.  Director (and screenwriter) Chris McQuarrie had the unique challenge of finding ways to show the audience who was driving, rather than trying to hide the fact that the actor wasn’t in the car.
  • During the car chase, Reacher’s car stalls out after he exits a tunnel, and Reacher must struggle to get the car back in gear before the police catch him.  This moment was unscripted.  The car actually stalled while they were filming the sequence, and Tom was urgently trying to get it started again so that they wouldn’t waste the take.  McQuarrie loved the moment so much, he decided to keep it.
  • All the footage from Alexia Fast’s performance as Sandy in “the auto parts store” was lost, and she had to be called in to do the whole scene over again.  Tom and McQuarrie said she had a great attitude and never complained about having to re-shoot.
  • Rosamund Pike was pregnant during filming, and they were forced to run a very tight schedule so that they could film all her scenes before she started to show.  During the scene where her father and Emerson are in her apartment, she is already showing, and uses her long sweater to hide it.  Near the end of the movie, when Reacher, Cash and Helen are talking after the dust has settled, the shots behind Helen were filmed by a body double.  Rosamund had already left the set to have her baby.

Pic Spam! Here’s a bunch of pics we liked!  (We capped them all ourselves!)

“I need some sleep.”

 

Aaaawkwaaaaaard!

 

Are we fighting now?

 

Yes! Definitely fighting now!

 

“What’s wrong with your eye?”

 

“I believe you.”

 

::SIIIIIIGH::

 

They’re not ready for this.

 

“You think you’re gonna walk.”

 

Watchability level: HIGH!
Buttered Popcorn recommends that you watch this movie! It’s funny, it’s full of action and great fight scenes, and the mystery behind the crime is always there, driving the action, and keeping us wondering! And you get to see Tom Cruise doing lots of dry humor, which tickles us lots!

Re-watchability level: HIGH!
First of all, Jack Reacher slamming phones down and threatening to drink people’s blood from boots? We could watch that on repeat all day long. But seriously… No, wait, we were totally serious. Anyway!! This movie has a nice twist that makes re-watching a must! Watching again, you will be able to see the actions of some characters in a new light, and that extra flavor is what re-watchability is all about!

Final Verdict: Jack Reacher is BADASS! Badass is good!
So! Take yourself to Amazon, or wherever you prefer to buy movies and grab this movie up. Then melt that butter, pop that popcorn, and prepare to have yourself an ass-kicking, finger-breaking, throat-punching good time! And if you’re in the mood for some equally action-packed reading, check out the novel series that started it all. Lee Child has written nearly two dozen Reacher books and stories, so there’s plenty to tide you over until we get a third movie! Click the images below for more information.




Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back has recently come out on BluRay and DVD!  We loved it in theaters (of course), and it was great seeing it again in the comfort of our own home.  We hope you’ll enjoy reading our true and correct opinions on this flick.

Smartass Summary: The second one from those books!

Slightly less smartass summary: Guy tries to make it with a chick, but work interferes.

Ok ok, REAL summary: Bad guys try to kill the good guys, but somewhat ruthless hero gets the bad guys instead.

Overall opinion:
Buttered Popcorn likes this movie a lot! There’s plenty of action and adventure, with a nice balance of humor and a touch of tender feelings. One of the talking points of the movie is that we will get to see a different side of Reacher, and we do. But never fear! He’s still the hard-hitting badass that we fell in love with in the first Reacher movie, and there’s plenty of bone-crushing, jaw-breaking fighting to feed your Reacher needs!

***Spoilers beyond this point!***

Fun moments:
One of the best parts of a Reacher movie is the humor! Jack will literally break every bone in your body, but there’s something about his dry looks and casual attitude that makes us smile. What are our favorite moments from Never Go Back? Let’s see.

“You’re under no obligation to say anything, Major.” This scene was hilarious! There’s just something wonderful about Reacher sitting there staring, deadpan, at Col. Morgan while he asks question after question. Priceless!

“I’m used to being alone.” Reacher trying to connect with ANYONE (with the exception of Sgt. Leach) is just the funniest thing EVER. When Sam is trying to process the murder of her benefactors, and the fact that she is still in danger, and she says, “I feel sick” – Reacher’s matter-of-fact “Just put your head out the window” makes us giggle every time. When he brings dinner for Sam and Maj. Turner, and Sam blithely shuts the door in his face, when he tries to apologize and make nice with Turner – it’s the most awkward thing in the _universe_. All of it brings a smile to our faces – especially since Tom Cruise is one of the most personable people alive. Tom acting like he doesn’t know how to behave around a teenager ought to be proof positive of his amazing acting chops (if 30+ years of stellar work wasn’t good enough for ya).

“You’re very intense, you know that?” When Samantha objects to wearing a uniform and going into hiding at an elite private school, Reacher takes her aside, looks deeply into her eyes, and says, “Do you want to live? Do you?” He demands cooperation, and when he’s done, Sam says, “You’re very intense, you know that?” It’s such a fun moment, especially if you know anything at all about Tom Cruise “lore”. Many people have described interacting with him as “intense”, and it tickled us pink to see this in the film. It’s nice to see a serious actor who can laugh at himself.

“What kind of car would my lawyer be driving?”  Just… You know what, we’re not even gonna give it away.  We went and got a screencap and everything and just… please watch this movie.

Deep Themes:
Once again, most people don’t expect there to be a ton of depth from an action movie (especially, for some reason, from a Tom Cruise action movie). But we have noticed that there are always themes that are meant to touch our hearts, or get us thinking (especially in Tom Cruise action movies). Never Go Back touches on many themes, from patriotism and duty to opportunistic avarice, to the relationship between parent and child. We’ll highlight two themes that we thought were handled nicely in the movie.

 

Family is what you make it.
Never Go Back presents us with three characters who have been thrown together through an elaborate chain of circumstances. When the action begins, Turner and Reacher have communicated sporadically for several weeks, it seems, but they have never met face to face. Samantha comes into the picture after the bad guys target her for her possible connection to Reacher.

The last thing any of them wants is to be stuck together. All three characters are firmly entrenched in lives that allow them independence and autonomy. Even Turner, who must follow strict military codes, is in charge of her own unit. Their independence and self reliance makes working together quite a difficult (and often hilarious) challenge.

Reacher is stilted and awkward when dealing with Sam (and only slightly less so with Turner). It’s obvious he’s used to dealing with adults, either in the military, or in situations where he doesn’t have to talk at all. And he has long ago left the rigid formality of military life, so despite their common background, connecting with Turner has its own difficulties.

Turner is only slightly better with Sam. She’s accustomed to obedience and order, and she clings to her military training even as her world is being torn apart. Sam’s defiance, and Reacher’s reckless disregard for protocol, tend to keep her off balance. And of course, Samantha has been thrust into the temporary custody of two strangers, both of whom expect her to follow instructions and lay low while the adults take care of things, when she has been taking care of herself for years.

What we see as the movie unfolds are three independent, hard-headed puzzle pieces who gradually, awkwardly, sometimes painfully shuffle themselves into a fairly well-fitting whole. Samantha learns to trust her impromptu caretakers, and they learn to trust her. Reacher and Turner come to a better understanding of one another, and each begins to trust when the other’s particular method may be better suited to a given situation. The three of them grow on each other (and on the audience!). By the end, as director Ed Zwick says, you find yourself wanting their little family to work out.

 

You’re allowed to change your mind.
During Reacher’s railroad trip to jail, we meet Cpt. Anthony Espin, who had served under Reacher while he was still in charge of the 110th. We learn (pretty darn fast) that Espin has a huge chip on his shoulder against Reacher. Apparently, Reacher held back Espin’s promotion for six months, accusing him of jumping to conclusions. Reacher offers something like an olive branch when he says, “I’m sure I jumped to conclusions.” Of course, a few minutes later, any truce that may have been brewing is completely off the table.

What’s great about all this? Buttered Popcorn loves the fact that both men are able to re-evaluate their opinions of one another. Espin begins as an antagonist, resenting Reacher, hunting both Reacher and Turner. And Reacher has been an antagonist to Espin, kicking his ass and getting him in a little bit of trouble for letting two prisoners escape. But when the chips are down, Espin doesn’t let his personal resentment blind him to the truth, and Reacher doesn’t let his own misgivings stop him from following Turner into trusting the younger officer. And in the end, thanks to their willingness to see each other in a new light, justice is served!

Favorite Quotes:

  • “I’m the guy you didn’t count on.” (Reacher to Sherriff)
  • “You’re very intense.  You know that?” (Sam to Reacher)
  • “Let me know when you remember what that uniform stands for.” (Reacher to Moorcroft)
  • “Just put your head out the window.” (Reacher to Sam)
  • “I’m used to working alone.  I’m used to being alone.” (Reacher to Turner)
  • “You’re like something feral, you’ve got their  scent in your nose and all you want is blood!” (Turner to Reacher)
  • “I’m going to break your arms.  I’m going to break your legs. I’m going to break your neck.  What you hear is excitement.” (Reacher to The Hunter)

Favorite Character:  Jack Reacher! Duh!  Here’s a few great things about Jack Reacher:

  • He’s an ass-kicker.  He will FUCK the bad guys UP, and it is so gratifying to see them get taken down.
  • He’s a good person.  Much as he seems like a cold kind of an ass who doesn’t know how people operate, he is actually kind when it matters.  He might not know how to comfort you after a loss, or encourage you when you’re feeling self conscious, but he will destroy your enemies if he cares about you.
  • He’s smart.  Reacher is able to quickly synthesize all his experience, all his knowledge, and all the current circumstances, and transmit that into actions that help save his life, and the lives of those around him.  He had a few false steps here (he didn’t notice the guys following him while he was following Sam), but he more than made up for it later (salt shaker, people.  salt shaker.)

Behind the Scenes Trivia:

  • Cobie Smulders, Patrick Heusinger and Tom Cruise did stunt and fight training, and maintained a strict diet for several weeks before filming started.
  • Tom and Ed Zwick last worked together on The Last Samurai.  Zwick said that Reacher’s moral code, with his dedication to justice, and to “being there” for those in need of help, is similar to that of the Samurai.
  • Cobie Smulders visited with female soldiers as part of her preparation for the role of Major Susan Turner, and their experiences helped inform her presentation of a woman soldier on screen.
  • Danika Yarosh told interviewers that Tom Cruise was always willing to help her learn as much as she could about filming, including camera angles, lighting, and other details.

Pic Spam!  Here’s a bunch of pics we liked!

Getting the drop on the bad guys!

 

Getting the drop on the bad guys MORE!

 

Awwwkwaaaaaaard

 

You might want to tell her what she wants to know…

 

Is this feelings?

 

That smile!

 

Watchability level: HIGH!
Buttered Popcorn recommends that you watch this movie! It’s fun, it’s full of action and ass-kicking, it’s got just a touch of tenderness (just enough to give it the right flavor when Reacher starts shredding the bad guys).  And you get to see Tom Cruise AND Cobie Smulders make these great “I will murder you” faces (sometimes to each other).

Re-watchability level: MEDIUM
There are a few different reveals in this movie, but we’re fairly certain who our enemies are right from the beginning. Still, there are several moments where, on re-watching, you realize, “Heeeeeeeey! He WAS in on it from the start!” And watching this one again and again is like getting off a rollercoaster and running back to the line to start again. The humor between the characters, the fights, that viscerally satisfying moment where Reacher gets the bad guy – it’s SO great, watching again is just damn good fun!

Final Verdict: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is fun and exciting! Fun and excitement are good!
So! Head on over to your favorite video store and grab this movie up. Then melt that butter, pop that popcorn, and prepare to have yourself a fun time! And if you’re in the mood for some fun, equally action-packed reading, check out the books that started it all. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series includes over 20 books (!!!) and several short stories. Click the images below for more information.