I know I'm very late when it comes to watching movies in general (although I've seen *two* first-run movies this year, Star Trek Into Darkness and The World's End), but I just got around to watching Jack Reacher over the weekend. (Borrowed from the local library, woo hoo!)
I've read all of the Reacher novels by Lee Child, and like many fans, I was baffled by the idea of the 5'8"(?) Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher, who's described as being 6'5" and 250 pounds in the books. Not only that, Reacher's immense size often plays a role in his ability to thrash his opponents in fights -- or to intimidate others into leaving him alone. I figured the Rock would've been a much better choice, or maybe Jim Cavaziel . . . .
Anyway, Jack Reacher is adapted from the book One Shot, which is not the first in the series. That's not a big deal, since the books are pretty much all standalones (with a few recurring characters). On the other hand, One Shot was not one of the more memorable ones, although I suppose that was a good thing since I only remembered the beginning and was therefore able to enjoy the mystery unfold in the movie.
As far as movies goes, it was reasonably entertaining. A little slow by Reacher standards, in that the first violent fight doesn't occur until a quarter of the way in the movie, which is a 5-on-1 melee preceded by the usual Reacher observations about street fighting. Here, he helpfully tells the gang how it's going to play out, which is a neat way of letting the viewers into his mind. Cruise may be short, but he definitely carries his own weight when it comes to action scenes. Other than the fact that Reacher likes to headbutt people, it was a faithful portrayal of the brutally efficient violence that he delivers to bad guys.
The mystery driving the plotline is so-so. Why did James Barr, a former military sniper charged with mass shooting five people in Pittsburgh, ask for Reacher? That aspect of the movie was formulaic, but graced with small moments of intentional humor. All in all, it was a much better adaption than I had feared. I continue to find myself able to enjoy Tom Cruise movies notwithstanding his odd personal life, which I would be happy to know nothing about but which keeps getting plastered all over the news. That's a credit to him as an actor, that he's able to help the viewer separate his performance from his own life. (Look at it this way: can you imagine watching a Mel Gibson movie again without thinking about his personal conduct???)