Welcome to the House of Crouse. C’mon on in, settle into a comfy chair by the fireplace and meet Cobie Smulders and director Uwe Boll. Cobie has been in action movies a plenty, but she’s rarely part of the action. That changes in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. She talks about it hear. Then Uwe tells us why, after making thirty movies, the critics won’t have him to kick around anymore. Join us. It’s more fun in here than it is out there!
Richard and CP24 anchor Stephanie Smythe have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the up-close-and-personal action of “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” the supernatural thrills of “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” the spy comedy “Keeping Up with the Joneses” and the new Canadian indie “Mean Dreams.”
Richard sits in with Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the up-close-and-personal action of “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” the supernatural thrills of “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” the spy comedy “Keeping Up with the Joneses” and the new Canadian indie “Mean Dreams.”
Cobie Smulders has been in action movies a plenty, but she’s rarely part of the action. That changes in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
Opposite Tom Cruise, Smulders plays Major Susan Turner, a decorated solider accused of espionage. To prove her innocence she teams with Jack Reacher in a battle for the truth.
“I was really excited about doing some action scenes,” says the Canadian born actress who played former director of the planetary intelligence service S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill in various Avengers movies as well on television.
“I’d done some quote, unquote action movies before, through The Avengers and the Marvel Universe. I’d be part of some of their stuff but I missed out on most of the fun fight sequences. Jumping on this, I knew I would get to do more fighting, hands on, rather than standing next to the superheroes while they do all the fighting.”
She has more than her share of up-close-and-personal battle sequences, bare knuckling her way through the story at a breakneck pace, but were the scenes as fun to shoot as she thought they would?
“That’s a great question because sometimes they are not,” she laughs. “They are quite technical and they can drag on. When it is fast and intense, they’re really fun because it’s like an adrenaline rush. It’s like doing a choreographed dance with somebody. But when they drag on and it becomes about the minutia of like, ‘We have to do the insert of the picking up of the meat tenderizer and we have to do it from this angle and that angle,’ it takes the magic out of it.”
A magical experience or not, Smulders, who will next be seen in the action comedy Why We’re Killing Gunther opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, says the scenes helped her performance.
“For me all the training and all the fighting helped me get into the character,” she says. “There were days when I would push past breaking points and think, I can’t take this anymore, and then I would go further. It got easier and easier. It was really painful at first but I always kept that in the back of my mind, what this woman would have had to go through, and what women and men in the military have to go through.
“I think anybody who decides to enlist in the military and do all the work it takes to become a major is somebody who is much stronger than I will ever be.
“She’s a woman we say has graduated Ranger School. When we started shooting the movie that hadn’t happened yet; no women had graduated from Ranger School. Then during the shoot the first two women graduated. If I am playing a woman who can endure that type of training, then this should be like a piece of cake, what I’m doing on set.”
Cruise and Smulders play a sort of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, a deadly duo who never allow romance to get in the way of their appetite for bodily destruction. Their relationship is a mix of Roadhouse style fighting and humorous rom com dialogue.
“To not have these characters get together romantically,” Smulders says, “was more interesting to watch than having a love scene in the middle of the movie.”
Who exactly is Jack Reacher? If you are a reader, he’s the protagonist of twenty books by British author Lee Child. If you’re a moviegoer, he’s a bone crunching former Major in the United States Army Military Police Corps who looks a lot like Tom Cruise. According to the new movie “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” he’s “the guy you didn’t count on.”
When we first see Reacher it’s four years after his exploits in his eponymous debut film. With the help of Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) he has just broken up—and beaten up—a ring of smugglers. When he arrives in Washington to thank her, and possibly wine and dine her, he is shocked to discover she’s been court-martialled, accused of espionage. His efforts to get to the bottom of the case suggest she was arrested because she had a hard drive with sensitive info. “What did you expect,” he’s asked, “a picture of her in a Burka and having drinks with the Taliban?” After a daring prison break, he and Turner hit the road, trading quips and punching faces with a deadly ex-military hit man (Patrick Heusinger) hot on their trail. Their efforts to clear her name and uncover a far-reaching conspiracy are complicated by the presence of Samantha (Danika Yarosh), a fifteen year old who may or may not be Reacher’s daughter.
The addition of a kid changes the dynamic of the film. The first Reacher movie was a fun but violent ride, designed to keep fans of Cruise’s actionman persona happy until the next “Mission Impossible” instalment came along. It was an old fashioned movie, the kind of flick that Steven Seagal might have starred in circa 1992. It was a bare-bones action movie and predictable but Van Dammit, taken for what it was, it was also a bit of fun.
The movie rips along at a fast pace, bareknuckling its way through the story at a breakneck pace. Cruise and Smulders are sort of a Mr. & Mrs. Smith, a deadly duo who never allow romance to get in the way of their appetite for bodily destruction. Their relationship is a mix of “Roadhouse” style fighting and cutesy rom com dialogue.
It all adds up to an action movie for those who like a dose of sentimentality with their spinal injuries.
“Jack Reacher,” Tom Cruise’s new hope for a movie franchise, is an old fashioned movie. It’s the kind of movie that Steven Seagal might have starred in circa 1992. It’s a bare-bones action movie and predictable but Van Dammit, taken for what it is, it’s also a bit of fun.
The movie starts out with a brutal and tense sniper attack. Five random people—or are they random?—are gunned down by a disturbed military trained shooter named Barr (Joseph Sikora). He is quickly arrested, but despite almost insurmountable evidence against him assembled by a hot-shot cop (David Oyelowo) and district attorney (Richard Jenkins), he doesn’t confess. Instead, refusing to speak, he writes a cryptic message, “Get Jack Reacher.” Turns out Reacher (Cruise) is a ghost, a war veteran who has been off the grid for almost two tears. When Reacher sees a news story about the case on TV, however, he comes out of hiding and work’s with Barr’s lawyer (Rosamund Pike) to get to the truth.
There’s a light, snappy tone to “Jack Reacher” which is unexpected from a movie containing this level of violence. The banter between Jack and Helen almost sounds ripped from the script of a screwball comedy. It’s not particularly funny, and the chemistry between the two is lacking, but the rat-a-tat rhythm is in place.
That’s just one of the surprises offered up by this adaptation of the ninth book in the popular Reacher series by British author Lee Child. The second is an unhinged extended cameo by Werner Herzog, as the cataract infected, fingerless bad guy. He’s been acting on and off since the early 1970s, and his in front of the camera work is usually as wild and wooly as his behind the camera work is brilliant. Here he outdoes himself in a memorable scene that gives new meaning to the meaning of the word frostbite.
That scene is an off kilter treat in a movie that mostly plays it straight. The unvarnished violence—punches in the face that look like they really hurt—and unadorned action scenes—director Christopher McQuarrie has not used music in the car chase and fight scenes, which gives them a real sense of immediacy—all work well. Those parts the movie gets right. Unfortunately it’s a long movie with lots of other parts between the boffo scenes.
Richard Jenkins is wasted in a generic pay cheque role and Reacher’s habit of connecting the evidentiary dots is pushes the limits of credulity, but Cruise (in Sherlock Holmes mode when he’s not swinging fists) sells it with a combination of swagger and cold-blooded charisma. Van Dame or Sly Stallone might have been more fun in the role, but Cruise, despite not being anywhere the size of Reacher from the books— 6′ 5″ tall (1.96m) with a 50-inch chest, and weighing between 210 and 250 pounds—he’s a big enough star to pull it off.
The elephant in the room is how the subject of a random mass shooting will play with audiences just one week after the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre. The sniper scenes are effectively done, and comprise some of the best work in the film, but may be upsetting to some viewers.
“Jack Reacher” is a fun but violent ride, that should keep fans of Cruise’s actionman persona happy until the next “Mission Impossible” movie comes along.