<div style="text-align: center;">Rosamund Pike, Tom Cruise</div>
Rosamund Pike, Tom Cruise

Who doesn't thrill to the notion of a righteous lone ranger wandering the backroads and alleys of America, beholden to no man, corporation or government? Such rootless isolatos are as old as Fenimore Cooper's Deerslayer, as urban as Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade, as modern as Lee Child's Jack Reacher, former Army cop, now one-man justice league. Adapting One Shot, Child's ninth of eleven Reacher novels, writer-director Christopher (The Usual Suspects) McQuarrie introduces the writer's modern-day Searcher to the screen sans fuss or mythic resonance. Tight and quick, often entertaining, Jack Reacher lacks nothing but juice—the kind of high-octane cinematic fuel that turbo-charged, say, Michael Mann's Collateral.
      Jack Reacher starts in eerie silence, with a sniper in a parking garage using his scope rifle to track victims. (In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, it's especially chilling when the crosshairs lock on a young woman holding a child.) In short order, six are dead, apparently random targets; the perp, an Iraqi vet, is caught almost immediately but refuses to talk, apart from scribbling a note to "get Jack Reacher" (Tom Cruise). Nobody know who or where this mystery man is –but, ghost made flesh, the fellow's already on his way, by bus, to Pittsburgh, scene of the crime.
      Much of One Shot takes place inside Reacher's head as he methodically, without prejudice, thinks through what looks like an open-and-shut case. McQuarrie has deftly compressed the novel's early chapters, so that the stage is immediately set for Reacher's arrival, his reluctant enlistment by defense lawyer Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike) and his subsequent plunge into a nonstop, action-packed quest for truth.

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