I’ve been scratching my head for quite a few hours over this story. It just doesn’t make any sense at all. Author Lee Child currently presides over one of the most successful literary franchises on earth, and his entire series is based upon a 6’5″ brick sh-thouse (with a 50-inch chest) named Jack Reacher. At no point does Child ever cease to remind his readers what a physically imposing yet benevolent beast Reacher is, and now when it came time for his baby to hit the big screen, Child was perfectly content to let Tom Cruise option the material and even star as the main character. The obvious question here is this — have the Scientologists gotten to Lee Child?
It can’t be that simple though. I mean, I sort of get it. Child has written (and correct me if I’m wrong) 17 Jack Reacher novels. So he’s a franchise-minded kind of guy, and so is Tom Cruise, who loves his action franchises because they mean virtually guaranteed mega profits with very minimal creative effort involved once the ball is rolling. And lift-makers ’round the world will tell you that Tom Cruise wants nothing more in life but to be considered the biggest being ever, right? So now we’ve seen a few Jack Reacher trailers wherein Tom talks tough, kicks some crap around, and gives a guy a noogie before the the bad guys run off screaming. Tom seems blissfully unaware of how ridiculous he looks, but now Lee Child has spoken out in a new featurette about how “Tom Cruise is a fantastic Jack Reacher.” WTF?
Look, I don’t have a problem with Tom Cruise being portrayed as an ass-kicking tough guy in an action movie. Nor do I take an issue with him playing a vigilante character either. So why didn’t he hire some writers to create a new character for him instead of slapping the “Jack Reacher” label on top of it? The main issue here is that, within Child’s own books, the physicality of the character is integral to the stories being told. I don’t care how so very sensitive Tom claims to be to the Reacher fans — they have every right to be upset. Hopefully, they won’t back down and reward this nonsense by buying movie tickets. But they probably will, and Cruise’s reign of terror will continue.
Poster and movie stills courtesy of AllMoviePhoto