With Tom Cruise on the bill, a film is almost guaranteed to do well, but Jack Reacher had already hit problems when fans were disappointed by the 5ft 7 actor playing a man meant to be at least 6ft as well as being pushed back a week out of respect after the tragic shooting in Newtown. It opened its first week at number two in the box office, but dropped to fifth place this week, beaten by The Hobbit, Les Miserables, Django Unchained and Parental Guidance. With those initial setbacks and some seriously stiff competition at the cinema, the mixed reviews certainly won't be helping it out either.
The Radio Times describes it as "underwhelming" adding that "Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie... piles on the shoot-'em-up clichés and corny dialogue." The Financial Times gives it a mere two stars saying that it's "It's high-gloss tripe with noir pretensions." And no one seems to get away without being lampooned as the New York Times criticizes Cruise noting that "Reacher is a character Mr. Cruise could play in his sleep, which is pretty much what he does."
In contrast, however, the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw was fairly generous, with three stars he describes it as an "outrageous but entertaining pulp-melodrama thriller." And Empire Magazine enjoyed it too, according to them "Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise deliver on their promise, with a witty, violent take on Reacher that makes up for its lack of height with an abundance of smarts and thrills."
To say 'mixed reviews' is fairly generous, because even the ones that are verging on positive really are only verging on it. Cruise seems to have past his prime, which hit in the '90s with Jerry Maguire and A Few Good Men, he hasn't stepped up to the plate now aged 50, as other actors of his generation have done. Leonardo Dicaprio and Matt Damon have proven their worth in more complex thrillers such as Blood Diamond, Shutter Island and The Departed, all of which far surpass Cruises terrible film forays over the past few years, with lowlights including Rock of Ages, Knight and Day, and now adding to that list, Jack Reacher.