Probably the biggest question facing the new Tom Cruise action movie Jack Reacher is why Paramount decided to release it smack-dab in the middle of the busiest holiday movie season in recent memory, where it's likely to be buried underneath the avalanche caused by the quintuple threat of Les Misérables, Django Unchained, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Monsters Inc. 3D and that Twilight movie that refuses to die. Sure, the fourth Mission: Impossible installment performed above expectations when it was released last year around this time, but that was an established franchise for Cruise and further benefitted from being a light-hearted, spectacle-driven blockbuster romp. Jack Reacher represents something a little different and darker for the star, whose name above the title is no longer enough to guarantee either massive success or a quality movie. (Laugh if you must, but back in his '80s heyday, Cruise rarely bet on the wrong horse. And don't try throwing Cocktail at me. That movie is and always will be awesome.) So I don't have a good answer for why the studio decided to make this their holiday tentpole release. I can, however, respond to some of the other burning questions you probably have about Jack Reacher.
A superstar in the world of crime fiction, the new action film Jack Reacher introduces moviegoers to the titular soldier-turned-nomadic-investigator, who stars in a best-selling series of crime novels by British author Lee Child. Written and directed by The Usual Suspects scribe Christopher McQuarrie, Reacher stars Tom Cruise as Child's creation and dispatches him to Pittsburgh, where he helps an in-over-her-head lawyer (Rosamund Pike) attempt to save a man from Death Row -- a case that pits him against morally ambiguous cops (David Oyelowo) and shadowy villains (Werner Herzog). In addition to trying on the outfit of an anti-hero, Jack Reacher also affords Cruise the chance to show off his behind-the-wheel skills, as he did all his own driving for the big car chase that comes midway through the movie. McQuarrie touched on that scene -- as well as the hotly contested decision to cast Cruise as Reacher -- during a recent press visit to New York, where he was accompanied by Child, Pike and Oyelowo.
Only one movie in and Tom Cruise is already leaving the Jack Reacher franchise in his rearview.