Blu-ray Review: ‘Jack Reacher’

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Blu-ray Review: ‘Jack Reacher’
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Movie poster for "Jack Reacher"

Releasing on a two-disc set hosting its Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copies, "Jack Reacher" delivers an explosive thriller pulled from the pages of novelist Lee Child's popular crime series, specifically his book "One Shot." Tom Cruise is featured as the title character in this 2012 screen adaptation directed by Christopher McQuarrie. It also stars Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Werner Herzog, Richard Jenkins, and David Oyelowo.

The film's "whodunit and why" premise focuses on an ex-military investigator as he digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who allegedly shot five random victims in a park. At first, the law enforcers quickly solve the case with their seemingly incontrovertible evidence. However, in his defense, the suspect in custody writes a single note saying "Get Jack Reacher!" This soon involves the quasi-mysterious lead in a dangerous cat and mouse game to procedurally solve the crime.

Visuals

Reminiscent of old-school action flicks, this entertaining and formula-driven thriller takes a step back from the stylized action and hyper-editing that has become a genre norm in modern Hollywood offerings. Instead of fast cuts, the camera pulls back and steady with longer takes that allow viewers to better appreciate the well-choreographed fight scenes. This actually adds a different kind of tension to the suspense-filled story. It is worth noting that the movie's body count is quite high, but there is a clear lack of blood to the proceedings, which is most likely a consideration for its PG-13 rating. Nevertheless, the film remains convincingly tense and rigid when it comes to its action-packed values.

The flawless transfer showcases extremely deep blacks from start to end. The dark palette offers eye-pleasing vitality and crisp details in the mostly shadow-filled shots. The brighter scenes also promote a fine sense of accuracy and emotional strain. The clean and naturally sharp images show no traces of unwanted digital tinkering and artifacting.

Audio

The film offers a seven-channel lossless track, along with alternate five-channel mixes in Spanish, French, and Portuguese. The aggressive track boasts wonderful range and clarity, while ably balancing the placement of the effects with the smooth and accurate dialogue and naturally spaced musical score. Blast sounds literally tear through the stage, yet whispers remain as clear as a ringing gunshot in the mix.

Every speaker flows potent with revving engines, forceful gunshots, and powerful punches. The surround elements have ample opportunity to build up tension in the narrative. Hisses, feedbacks, and other distortions are never an issue.

Supplements

This Blu-ray release contains a healthy assortment of extras including an audio commentary track with director Christopher McQuarrie and actor Tom Cruise, another audio commentary track by composer Joe Kramer inclusive of an isolated score presentation, the production featurettes "When the Man Comes Around" and "You Do Not Mess with Jack Reacher: Combat & Weapons," and the Lee Child featurette "The Reacher Phenomenon." Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Final Thoughts

"Jack Reacher" works best for fans of briskly paced crime thrillers that adhere to realism and subtlety over the cheapened thrills of larger-than-life figures and situations. The raw entertainment value of the material makes its lead character more approachable. Although it still sticks to old-school conventions, it aptly blends action, criminal procedure, and human drama to create an adequate live-action pulp thriller for its target audience.

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