Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Jack Reacher

Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher

"Funny ... I thought you would be taller."

I've been reading Lee Child books since "The Killing Floor".   I often wonder how the author can keep the 'franchise' going, but I'm never disappointed.  As is the case with Vince Flynn's "Mitch Rapp" series, the author seems always able to maintain the impetus ... somehow.

I think the secret is that each author has defined his iconic character so thoroughly that their readers know what to expect and they are never disappointed.

The late (and sorely missed) author John D. McDonald scored similarly with his "Travis McGee" series, and in 1983 one of his novels was made into a movie starred Sam Elliot (who in 1979 co-starred with Tom Selleck .. see below .. in "The Sacketts") in a thoroughly believable character.   Elliot LOOKED like he could outsmart and out-tough anyone he came across ... maybe that's why he was so believable playing opposite Patrick Swayze in "Roadhouse"?  (Note that as late as 2011, people were still trying to make movies out of Travis McGee novels.)

 Robert B. Parker ("Spenser For Hire", "Jesse Stone") was able to establish characters who were successfully translated to television series not once, but twice.  True, Robert Urich seemed a bit baby-faced for the part of Spenser, but his inimitably playful style translated wonderfully well the late-20th century "neo-Tec" persona of Parker's deranged dreams.  And casting Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone?  (Note that The Jessee Stone" series seems to be losing popularity; Selleck bought rights to the whole series before Parker died, and he's  the one who is not only starring in and producing the series but will finally decide when ... or if .. to pull the plug.)  Frankly, Selleck has always looked a little "lost" to my eye.   Works for me!

But .. Tom CRUISE as the 6'4" Reacher?

From a movie review:
When it was announced that Cruise had been cast to play Reacher - who is described as being 6’5” - many fans of the books voiced their displeasure as how could an actor who is almost a foot shorter  pull off the role, including us. But we were pleasantly surprised by Cruise’s portrayal. While he did miss the mark on a number of Reacher’s mannerisms, he still offers a decent enough performance once you get past the slight ego that creeps in every now and then.

Okay, I may actually go see the movie, just to get a better perspective on the finished product.  I admit to being at least dubious about it.  I was able to accept Mark Wahlberg as Bob Lee Swagger in a bowdlerized version of "Point of Impact" in "The Shooter" (I even bought the DVD), so I guess I can manage to watch "Jack Reacher" as long as I am careful to avoid attending the movie too soon after I have eaten a full meal.  I don't promise not to hurl, but I'll try.

Actually, whenever I find an author who has the guts and the stamina to produce a viable series of novels, I inevitably begin to wonder how it would play in a movie.  That's probably the reason why I am more accepting than I (in my curmudgeonly mood) am dismissive when I hear that one of 'my' authors has allowed his work to be filmed.  I am certain that the movie or television series will not be true to the originals, and I am prepared to be disappointed.   A teen-age girl may accept a blind date from a guy she expects to be a total nerd; she's still thrilled to be asked out.  In that way,  I'm so pleased that someone has agreed with me that the stories are worthy of an interpretation, I don't mind all that much that their vision may turn out to be entirely different from mine.

In passing, I may note that the "Spenser For Hire" television-movie series was written so closely to the original novels that I'm determined to believe it's not impossible to do a workable movie directly from a book.

I just try hard not to expect it.

Okay?  Have I eaten enough crow?

So, let's talk about how Hollywood is going to screw up the entire Mitch Rapp series!

"American Assassin"   as a book, and as a movie.

Who's going to play Mitch Rapp?


As of November 9, 2012, that's not going to happen.   Cris Hemsworth turned down the role.  This project is so tentative that they can't even find anyone to play him.  When I read the series, I'm thinking 24 hours star  Kiefer Southerland.  The trouble is,  although this book came out in 2010, it was a 'flashback' of Rapp's entry into the Assassination Biz, which means that the character must be played by an actor who is believably being recruited out of college.  That means that the actor must be young; which in turn suggests this is the reason why this particular Mitch Rapp story was chosen --- to appeal to a younger audience.

I can't wait to see how Bruce Willis fits into the story; I'm not familiar with his character (well, he's the guy who trains Mitch and is shown up and put down in the process), so I guess my next thing is to re-read the book, THEN go see the movie.  Although, it might be better if I see the movie first;  I may be less disappointed if I'm not fixated on how "it ought to look".

The plan for now is to wait until I know more about the lead, so I can feel more comfortable expounding on the many reasons why he is entirely unsuitable for the role.    [Yes, that is a joke.  It's not easy being me.]

So many books, so many movies, so little time.
It's probably a good thing that I'm retired.

If you aren't familiar with either Lee Child or Vince Flynn (or John D. McDonald or Robert B. Parker .. .both of whom will be writing no more books), here's my recommendation in a two-step sobriety format:
  1. Watch the movie first
  2. Then buy, and read, the books.  Don't cheat; don't borrow them from the library. Feed the author, buy the books if only to encourage them to write more of 'em.
Unless you just cannot afford it, always buy the books; they're cheap  enough in paperback or from used-book stores (or yechy Kindal) and eventually you may find that you .... as I do .. will be pre-ordering the hardbounds before they're actually published.  There's something immensely satisfying about holding a brand new just-published book and knowing that all of your friends, family and co-workers are counting on you to read it quickly so you can loan it to them.

Then .. make them buy their own damn books.  

Feed the author!

PPS:  why buy books?  So you can re-read them any time you want to.

PPPS:  if it's a new book, put in a request to your local library for the book.  That way, they'll buy more books and feed the author even more ... and encourage more people to read and eventually buy the books --- and feed the author.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always buy Larry Correiia's MHI books. That author knows his guns.