Jack Reacher Tom Cruise Robert Duvall

Lee Child has published seventeen novels with lead character Jack Reacher, and this December one of them will finally be hitting the big screen. Reacher was a military policeman once upon a time, but just because he no longer carries a badge doesn’t mean he’s forgotten wrong from right. Now he wanders the nation from one state to the next, and like Bruce Banner and Sam Beckett before him he helps those unable to help themselves. “One Shot” (renamed simply Jack Reacher for the movie) is the ninth book in the series and sees him investigating a mass shooting in Middle America and the man arrested for the crime.

Reacher has some very specific characteristics, mostly focused on his size, that should have realistically precluded any actor under 6’3″ from playing him onscreen. Hollywood though is a magical place where respect for the written word isn’t always a priority, so Tom Cruise was cast in the role. Cruise, as we all know, stands 3’7″ which led to a fair amount of bitching and moaning online about his giant ego in a tiny body ruining such a kick-ass literary character.

But books and movies are two different mediums, and changes big and small are inevitable when adapting between them meaning the resulting films should be judged on their own merits. We got a glimpse of those merits with the first teaser back in July, but today the full trailer has dropped offering us a look at the story, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie‘s sense of tone and best of all…an evil Werner Herzog. Check it out after the break and let us know what you think.

I won’t lie. I kind of love it.

From Reacher’s intro to the music driving the trailer it just looks and sounds like a ton of fun. McQuarrie looks to have kept the tone and personality of Child’s books (and of his own The Usual Suspects and under-seen The Way of the Gun), and he’s attracted a strong supporting cast around Cruise as well. Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins and David Oyelowo are never less than great, and Rosamund Pike is named after a fish. So that’s cool too.

And ending the trailer with a quiet, twenty-second scene instead of a big action beat or dialogue quip is a nice move.

I’m currently finishing up Child’s sixth book (“Without Fail”) in the series, and unsurprisingly it’s a pretty fantastic read. Cruise’s Reacher clearly isn’t the exact same Reacher from the books, but I think he has the chops to make an equally effective character. I hope the film is as good as the trailer for a few reasons. First and foremost, I want every movie to be good. Second, I think Cruise’s film career deserves more positive attention than his goofy personal life. And lastly, I’d love to see more of Jack Reacher’s adventures brought to life on the big screen.

Jack Reacher opens December 21st of this year.

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