Forbes magazine called Jack Reacher and author Lee Childs as the strongest brand in publishing as much for his over 100,000,000 in sales and billion dollar imprint as for the strong loyalty of fans and favorable ratings of the readers. The 21st Jack Reacher novel, Night School, is coming out in a couple of weeks (which I’m sure Simon & Shuster would thank me for mentioning, but they don’t need my help), and Reacher fans will buying in droves. The second Reacher movie will be out on November 21.
One of the first things I want to address is that Lee Childs had been actively involved in the picking of Tom Cruise to be Jack Reacher. It was a controversial decision, but Childs rightly said there are no big movie stars who could accurately portray the physical characteristics of Reacher. I personally am 6 ft. 4in tall and 250 pounds, so I could be a close proximity except for the fact that I am not a movie star nor could I disable eight opponents simultaneously. The closest movie star I could name who approximates Reacher’s physical dimensions is Vince Vaughn, and I doubt anyone would say he is as big a movie star as Tom Cruise (box-office-wise, that is). Five Mission Impossible movies alone demonstrate that Cruise’s box office is as strong as ever based on their increasing popularity.
By next week, there will be 21 books to read, which contain a lot of developing characterization. The essential information about Jack Reacher is that he retired as a major at 36 and now roams the country with no luggage. It has been said the books can be read out of sequence.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, the second movie in a potential franchise, takes Reacher back to Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia where he had been the Military Police Commanding Officer. He is visiting the current CO, Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). Smulders is well known from The Avengers I & II and How I Met Your Mother. When Reacher arrives he finds Turner is jailed for espionage. She has forbidden Reacher to visit her in jail. Reacher also finds out he is being sued for child support despite having no knowledge of the mother or child.
All of the Reacher books and movies are police procedurals. It is one of the most popular forms of entertainment, especially on television, where the top of the ratings charts have been crowded with titles like NCIS, CSI, Criminal Minds, Law and Order, etc. It’s a different kind of vehicle than Mission Impossible, and I think Cruise brings his exemplary standard of commitment and intensity to the franchise. Cruise is known for his high-voltage smile, but Reacher never smiles.
I’d like to see more Reacher movies. They are easy and reliable entertainment, and Cruise is obviously committed to making the series pay off. The fans of the book have to get on board with the fact that Cruise is not 6 ft. 5in. It’s not much different than what you see on TV, but so what. I especially enjoyed the chemistry between Cruise and Smulders. Make another 20 Reacher movies, Tom. I’m behind you.