Jack Reacher *** ( R) Tom Cruise still has the chops to play an action hero, even if this vehicle has more than its share of flaws. The lead dude is a former Army MP who has chosen to live off the grid. But Jack turns out to be more like a Jason Bourne than most military cops. When a former sniper seems to have killed five random citizens in a Pittsburgh shooting spree, Cruise blows into town. Initially, he wants to make sure the guy fries for it, based on something unjust that happened in Iraq, leaving unfinished business between them. But we soon learn that all may not be what it seems, forcing Cruise into supersleuth mode for a Mission Improbable on the who and the why of this tragedy.
The film is somewhat longer than needed to sustain the right levels of dramatic tension. Even so, the script keeps us guessing on one important point until the climax. After the inevitable Climactic Moment, the ending is unfortunately tainted with bits of Hollywood schmaltz that may be hazardous to anyone’s cinematic cholesterol levels. Caution - there may be sequels. (12/21/12)