The Name is Reacher

Seems like every Christmas Season in recent years offers long fantasy epics such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, mixed with a typical family Disney animation of some sort. Well for movie fans seeking something different with a great character story, Jack Reacher brings it in spades. Jack Reacher is based on the book One Shot about a former Army military police officer played by Tom Cruise who is in pursuit of a sniper responsible for a mass shooting in Pittsburgh, PA. This film was produced by Cruise and shot on location in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, which makes for a visually rich environment for this film noir.

Critics including Leonard Mauldin are giving Jack Reacher two stars or less which is disappointing for the critics. This is film is a great character piece for Tom Cruise whose on-screen presence is much more in-depth than the Mission Impossible or Bourne Identity movies. Robert Duvall’s character is beyond criticism with his supporting role as a rifle range owner. That being said, the Sandy Hook shooting occurred just two weeks prior to opening weekend for Jack Reacher, keeping many soccer moms away from the box office. This has had a real impact on the money it is taking in, which unfortunately means that there will be little to any chance of a sequel to this movie. The constant complaint from film critics and the public is that there are not enough new and inventive stories in Hollywood anymore, so Tom Cruise helps produce one and it gets crucified for their efforts. This film is rated PG-13 for the action content with a small amount of language to it which makes this a perfect movie for both teen and adult audiences. Critics say that Cabin in the Woods was 2012’s big movie that was missed and being a horror film enthusiast it was a good movie. Unfortunately, in all honesty it’s getting more praise simply because the Avengers director’s name Joss Whedon is tied to it. Jack Reacher is a film that will have a longer shelf life.

I fear this has become the normalcy in Hollywood where even great films such as Jack Reacher, Boondock Saints, even Cabin in the Woods get buried. Not because of their content or the performances, but because someone in corporate doesn’t think it fill their product mold. Granted this is nothing new coming from Hollywood, but many of their mass-produced movies did not do well this year. Most of the movies that are considered to be Oscar contenders are not great movies. That being said ignore critics and box office take and go see Jack Reacher. It was well worth the 10$ ticket.

From My Cold Dead Hands!


After enjoying all of the Halloween treats that the season has to offer, it is time to take stock in one of my favorite genres of film, the zombie/apocalypse.  Zombies, alien invasions, breakdown of society films all have a few things in common.  Each story is essentially a survival story where survivors have beaten the odds of disease, famine, occupation, genocide, nuclear annihilation and are trying to establish a new world in the ashes of the old.
This concept of building a new world out of the proverbial wilderness is something entirely unique to Americans.  Since the United States is a rather new to the world stage, it took over a century and a half for us to settle and establish American society.  It is due to our unique history and culture that we have created the modern zombie film.  Everyone knows that George A. Romero and John A. Russo created Night of the Living Dead propelling tales of a mysterious disease that animates the recently deceased back to life and craving human flesh, which in turn caused society and communication to break down.  That is until men and women pick up their weapons and band together fighting creatures and others who might transgress upon them.  This theme of guerrilla resistance saturates Romero’s blockbuster sequel Dawn of the Dead.  Another reason why this type of film is so popular and definitively American is that the United States of America is the only nation in the world that has written down in the Bill of Rights that the civilian population has a right to own military arms.  It is in our nation’s DNA to be the ”armed to the teeth” underdog, and our zombie films reflect that.  From Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series to Robert Kirkman’s very popular The Walking Dead the everyday use of firearms harkens back to pioneer days with musket, knife, and tomahawk strapped on every able-bodied person.


A great comparison is the remake of Dawn of the Dead and the British 28 Days Later.  In Dawn of the Dead a band of survivors shoot their way to a fortified position (the mall).  While in 28 Days Later, survivors barely make it to a military checkpoint in which they are subject to their abuse because in the real world the people with guns make the rules.
American survival not only permeates the horror genre, but sci-fi and action too.

TV shows such as Falling Skies and Revolution show America in two different circumstances.  One has us in a resistance against an alien occupation, Falling Skies, and the other tells the story of an America without electricity, which causes a breakdown in government.  Both shows display America’s will for armed resistance.  Even shows such as Jericho, Red DawnThe Terminator franchise, and Last Resort all display our romantic notion of defiance and our love for the rugged individual. Even with overwhelming odds and when all hope is lost there will always be that American who will cowboy up and give your enemies a little John Wayne.  To quote another apocalyptic movie Reign of Fire, “Envy the country that has heroes, I say pity the country that needs them.”