CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.
Film Review: Werner Herzog Towers Over Miscast ‘Jack Reacher’ Star Tom Cruise in Five Mere Scenes
CHICAGO – While normally I’d never think the date I screened a film was newsworthy, being subjected to “Jack Reacher” on Dec. 13, 2012 turned out to put even a therapist into therapy. The very next day, well, just two words: Sandy Hook.
The theme of a senseless mass shooting in this Tom Cruise movie turned out to foreshadow the actual massacre at that condemned elementary school in Newton, Conn. Anything but serendipity, the cinematic-turned-true event still has me reeling and will most certainly have audiences feeling déjà vu.
The film almost feels disrespectfully “too soon” to see now that it’s opening day, but the show must go on. This surprisingly rated-“PG-13” film on its relatively low $60-million budget is an attempted cross between Tyler Perry’s “Alex Cross,” “Dirty Harry” and – dare I even utter his name? – the unparalleled Jason Bourne.
|Read Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Jack Reacher”.|
While Bourne could dogfight Reacher with two hands tied behind his back, his man sack squished in a vice grip, a pirate eye patch covering one eye and the safety left on his Sig 228 gun while smoking some serious Maui wowie reefer to dull his mental acuity, “Jack Reacher” does have one twist you’d never expect: its star isn’t its title character.
International man of mystery Werner Herzog – who typically sits in the writer/director chair rather than appearing on camera – does more for “Jack Reacher” in his five or so scenes than Tom Cruise could do if Reacher had enough screen time to film “Schindler’s List” 10 times over.
Image credit: Karen Ballard, Paramount Pictures