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June 5, 2013
Jack Reacher Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
3/1/201322/5/2013ParamountChristopher McQuarrie
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1MTom Cruise

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This film, Jack Reacher, is based on the Lee Child novel One Shot.

Despite what you think of his personal beliefs and Oprah "performance" there is no denying that Tom Cruise is a fantastic, and very bankable actor. In fact, he is probably one of the most consistently profitable stars over the last decade and his only real misstep has been the rather average ensemble musical, Rock of Ages. His latest effort hitting Blu-Ray is Jack Reacher which is based on the book One Shot by Lee Child - one of seventeen books starring the title character.

Jack Reacher's story is taken from the ninth book in the series, and it's a cracker tale. When a gunman takes five lives with six shots, all evidence points to the suspect in custody. On interrogation, the suspect offers up a single note: “Get Jack Reacher”. So begins an extraordinary chase for the truth, pitting Jack Reacher against an unexpected enemy, with a skill for violence and a secret to keep.

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The opening sniper scene is somewhat haunting.
Christopher McQuarrie handled both the screenplay and direction for this film, and on both counts he's done an admirable job. We haven't read the novel, so can't say how accurate this film is to that medium, but as a stand-alone film this has some great writing and moments and he gets some great performance not only out of lead Tom Cruise, but also Rosamund Pike as Helen, Alexia Fast as Sandy, Werner Herzog as The Zac however it's Robert Duvall as Cash that really lights up the film when his character is introduced. It's also great to see an action film which doesn't rely on shaky- cam and quick cutting to convey the action scenes. Christopher McQuarrie has done a fine effort with this action film, so we hope grabs another directorial, and writing, effort sooner rather than later. Mission Impossible 5 anyone?

Quite possibly the biggest issue with this film isn't an issue that we would have been aware of if we didn't read so much online. In the novels Jack Reacher is described as being 6 foot 5 inches tall, blonde and muscly - pretty much the polar opposite of Tom Cruise. Another minor issue we had with the film was with a somewhat "comedic" fight between Jack Reacher and two thugs in a bathroom. Apparently it was Tom Cruise's idea however it just plays corny and seems wrong for this dramatic film. That's not saying there isn't comedy in the film - indeed there are a couple of classic lines when Jack gets jumped in a bar after being hit on by a young woman named Sandy.

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Jack Reacher investigates the shooting.
Jack Reacher is certainly a watchable film and with a decent run at the box office is likely to see at least one sequel somewhere down the line. Tom Cruise fans will certainly enjoy this film, and even non-fans will find plenty to admire with this smartly written film.

Paramount have presented the Jack Reacher Blu-Ray with a very effective AVC MPEG-4 transfer, in the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, that looks every bit the Hollywood production with a clarity to the image that is near unrivaled. Much of the film takes place in darker scenes however the transfer holds up well with little black crush evident and plenty of fine detail at all times. This is certainly assisted with a bit rate that almost always sits above 20Mbps, and even reaches into the 30Mbps range at times.

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Like Tom Cruise or not, Jack Reacher is an impressive film.
There is no doubt that Paramount have hit the video transfer on this release out the park. It really is reference quality from start to finish with a consistent, natural look. Superb.

This Blu-Ray is lavished with a gorgeous DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track which is an absolute cracker. When the gunshots go off from the rifle around the 4 minute mark the soundtrack comes alive with a cracking boom followed by the sound echoing off the buildings. On a good surround sound setup (such as ours) it's just a marvel to listen to, but that's only one small example in a film otherwise filled with plenty of wonderful sound effects, clear dialogue and a pretty decent score from composer Joe Kraemer.

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Robert Duvall in another Tom Cruise film.
Other Audio tracks on the Jack Reacher disc include an English Audio Description, German, Spanish, French and Italian Dolby Digital Tracks each of which is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps. There's certainly not much to complain about with the audio on this disc no matter the language required. Subtitles are available in Danish, German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and English for the Hearing Impaired. We sampled the English subtitles and they were accurate to the dialogue in the film.

The highlight on this disc is two audio commentaries which are pretty decent so if you want to know about the story, or the films production, they are worth a listen.

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Tom Cruise is terrific as Jack Reacher.
Commentary by Tom Cruise and Director Chrisopher McQuarrie: This is a pretty impressive, almost constant, commentary where the two discuss almost all aspects of the film from the story, to the on-set filming, to the actors, to general details.

Commentary by Composer Joe Kraemer: It's pretty rare that a films composer will be given their own audio commentary, but this disc includes one but, unfortunately, it's more of an isolated score track, with occasional comments. Not as interesting as we hoped for.

When The Man Comes Around (26:49/HD): This is the main "making of" documentary and while there is a little telling of the story there is also some insight into the characters, the actors that portray them, and the creation of the film. It's not groundbreaking but worth your time.

You Do Not Mess With Jack Reacher: Combat & Weapons (10:27/HD): While Jack Reacher isn't super action packed for the most part there are still some action sequences and this featurette looks at the weapons used, but also filming the fighting sequences, and even discusses restraining the editing so you can see the actual fight sequences. Huzzah to that!

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Alexia Fast as Sandy in Jack Reacher.
The World of Reacher (11:10/HD): Here the books author discusses the Jack Reacher character, some of the back story and what it's like writing the books including a rather amusing tale about how the Jack Reacher name came about.

Jack Reacher was an enjoyable film, a little smarter than the average crime thriller and given the production budget to make it look classy too. With a wonderful transfer and a few extras worth your time this is a disc well worth checking out.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Paramount. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.