Book vs. Movie – One Shot/Jack Reacher

I am a Jack Reacher fan. I’ve just finished the 9th book in this long-running series and it happens to be the one on which they based the Jack Reacher movie.  I didn’t hate the movie like many did and I thought the book was good.  So how do the 2007 book and the 2012 movie compare?  Let’s take a look.

The Story/Plot    The story is sort of the same, a mass murderer who was easy to catch but proclaimed his innocence is facing a sure conviction.  Enter Jack Reacher, ex-military police, who comes to prove the murderer’s guilt only to change his mind.  Except for a few second-tier characters essentially missing from the movie and a switcheroo at the end, the stories are close.   Unfortunately, those secondary characters helped make the book better.  Thumbs Up- Book

The Visual  This category is usually, at best, a tie. I mean the movie is almost always better since that’s what its purpose it, but in this case it’s not so easy.  Like many things in the movie, the sets were…underwhelming?  This is not a story based on a location (other than it being quintessential midwest) but it is based on action and they could have done so much more.  Since I listened to the audio of the book I was able to better visualize the scene (Sometimes when I’m reading a fast paced thriller I don’t take the time. Is that wrong?) and it was superior to what came across on-screen.  It can be different, but a movie should be able to win this one.  It didn’t.  And I’m not even talking about Tom Cruise trying to portray a 6’5″, 220-250 lbs., 3XLT coat wearing menace.  I’ll get to that next.    Thumbs Up- Book

Characters vs. Actors  Ok, let’s start with the obvious.   Sure, Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher but saying he is Reacher is a stretch.  Lee Child’s Reacher is supposed to be a menacing man who intimidates by size and attitude.  It’s a total package.  Yes, Cruise can command a room with his presence and he did an okay job with the attitude, but the whole package was missing something.  I am not slamming Cruise. I actually thought he did an okay job, but then again my expectations were low.  I didn’t like Rosamund Pike as the doe-eyed lawyer, but maybe it’s because they had to add the romantic element that wasn’t there in the book.  It felt forced.  I missed a few of the characters from the book, news anchor Ann  Yanni, private investigator Franklin and ex-lover Eileen Hutton, all added much needed depth to the story.  The movie was so focused on Reacher and Helen that it ignored the parts of the story that made it more believable.   Thumbs Up- Book

The Ending  The endings were a little different, not dramatic enough hate either one, but enough to notice.  This is when the extra characters in the  book made the end make more sense.  And the hostage used to lure Reacher in to the final shoot out was different and so much less melodramatic when Lee Child wrote it.  The movie felt expected, like I’d seen it on-screen before, so it wasn’t bad, just boring.  Thumbs Up- Book

And the winner is…The Book!!

Now it’s your turn to vote!

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (The Girl on the Train) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie -the original) (The Secret Life of Bees) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Shining)

23 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie – One Shot/Jack Reacher

  1. My Home of Books says:

    I enjoy your feature of book vs movie– good idea! I have only read the first two books but I say yes, book must be better. How could they even envision Cruise as Jack Reacher?? Just because he is currently a bankable action flick actor doesn’t make him the right choice. Also I don’t care for Cruise’s personality IRL so he is just a turn-off altogether.
    Thanks for this feature on your blog, lots of fun 🙂

  2. abookdragon says:

    I too am reading the Reacher series (61 Hours at the moment) and wondered why they cast Cruise in the lead. I think he was producer. I was able to enjoy the movie as fully as the book but only for two reasons. 1. I separated what I was expecting from the book and just enjoy the move and 2. I was able to do this because It had been a while since I read the book.

    I liked your comparison!

    • stacybuckeye says:

      I agree that if you separate the two you can enjoy the movie better, but the movie had problems for me. It wasn’t Cruise that made it flat, but the reworked script, I think.

  3. Vicki says:

    I love reading book/movie comparisons, so I loved this post even though I haven’t read any of the books in this series or seen the movie. I checked the series out and I’m pretty sure I’d like the books, but since I have to read them in order, it’d take me forever to go through them. I’m not a Cruise fan, so I’ll probably skip the movie too!

  4. sandynawrot says:

    Well you know how I feel about the whole thing, so I won’t go off on my tangent again. It is a point of principle for me, I will not see it. I THINK Cruise not only produced the movie, but bankrolled some of it, which is why he was grossly miscast. Honestly, the guy must have a serious ego if he thought he could do the book justice.

  5. Teddyree says:

    I swore I’d never watch Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher and … then I did lol. It wasn’t a bad performance but he just wasn’t believable, he is NOT Jack Reacher and never will be and multiply that ten fold if you’re a fan of the series. But I don’t think much of Tom Cruise full stop lol

    • stacybuckeye says:

      Haha, that happens to me with so many movies. I agree that Tom was okay, but he wasn’t Reacher. I’m not sure if they’ll try to make another movie from the series but I hope they recast if they do.

  6. Literary Feline says:

    I enjoyed the movie. It won’t make my list of favorites, but I did enjoy it. I haven’t read the book the movie was based on so couldn’t take the survey. 🙂 I’m sure the book is better though. Isn’t it always?

  7. Heather says:

    I still need to read the first one! But I liked the character of Jack Reacher. He’s a bad ass who isn’t afraid to get stuff done. But I think I was drawn to this movie more because my brother who passed away would have really loved this character and am sad he wasn’t here to see it.

  8. Daruko says:

    I just finished reading the book and I gotta say the absence of Rosemary, Ann Yanni, and the whole Helen as a decoy plus the Cash+Reacher move was really disappointing. Also the whole plot twisty factor of Emerson being a bad guy was totally blown out of the water.

  9. equestrianmom4 says:

    I almost didn’t watch this movie because of Tom Cruise’s lack of physical resemblance to Jack Reacher. However, many reviews saying it was a good movie otherwise convinced me to waste a couple hours of my life. Cruise should be named the King of Cheese. The scene where he walks out of the moving car which he is running away from the police in and then stands in a crowd who looks back and forth at the police cars and gives him a hat followed by him on the bus handing the hat back and both him and the hat owner smiling? CHEESE. I also felt much of the dialogue strayed from the book; it’s easy to know which parts without reading the book – it’s the cheesy parts. The direction of this movie is horrible – the silent scenes in the beginning where the evidence is found and leads police to Barr? And where the detective is outside the hotel and Reacher is in the car and scenes go back and forth between the two, the detective’s hand, the gearshift in the car? That was painful to watch because it was so CHEESY. And why is the attorney’s breasts about to explode out of her tight tank top???? The acting is also horrible by everyone. A buff actor playing Reacher couldn’t have saved this film. No way. I did enjoy seeing the Pittsburgh landmarks and scenery though.

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