Tom Cruise vs. ‘Jack Reacher’: How Similar Is the Movie Star and His Latest Character?

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The Shortest Stars
Tom Cruise, Mark Wahlberg are tiny Hollywood titans.
When Tom Cruise was first announced for the title character in Jack Reacher – novelist Lee Child’s iconic action-lit hero – those unfamiliar with the character likely just assumed that Tom Cruise would once again be playing the iconic role of Tom Cruise. Fans of the character and his nearly twenty best-selling adventures, however, quickly retrieved their book of puns and cleverly proclaimed, “Oh, now, that’s a reach!”

Tom Cruise and Jack Reacher, you see, have virtually nothing in common. Or do they?

1. Reacher is a broad-shouldered, barrel-chested six-foot-five. With cold, wintery-blue eyes and blonde hair that grows lighter with each passing novel, Reacher is the physical definition of brute strength.  At slightly-tall-for-a-Hobbit with eyes the color of hazelnut contact lenses, Cruise’s brown-haired, lean-trimmed frame may share the same overall level of fitness, but Lee’s Reacher would detest the level of exercise that Cruise requires to maintain his fifty-going-on-twenty-five physique.

2. Reacher is frequently depicted as being less than agile, trading speed for size, plodding aimlessly along the nation’s highways like some bad-mood Bruce Banner. On the other hand, if Mr. Cruise were any lighter on his feet, he’d be a handsomer version of the Red Bull angel. In fact, we’re under the impression that any T.C. blockbuster is contractually obligated to feature Cruise’s patented high-speed, Looney Toons trot.

3. From knife scars to bullet wounds, Reacher is covered in the physical evidence of his past encounters. Cruise is covered primarily in body lotion. There’s no denying that the version of Reacher we’ve seen in the trailers is far less rugged than the character described in Lee’s pulse-pounding series.

4. Cruise is widely known as the near-perfect poster child for Scientology, a quality what would likely earn a swift nut-shot from the literary Reacher. With an open distain for most religions and organized belief systems, Reacher carries a healthy suspicion of the corrupting power of faith.

5. Meanwhile, what Cruise does seem to nail about the character is his meticulous calculation during combat, swift moves determined by careful thought and aggressive plotting. Cruise’s films often show the actor’s physical thought process as the action escalates, using a location’s geography and available weaponry to his advantage. Reacher is often fascinated by math and metronomic rhythms, an aspect that closely aligns with Cruise’s physical specificity.

6. Reacher is also something of an American gypsy, traveling from town to town, continually pulled into conflict after conflict, not terribly unlike Cruise’s chosen profession of traveling between locations getting into fake adventures. Also, Cruise’s bank account could support about ten million Jack Reachers at once, but who’s counting?

7. While there’s no doubt that Cruise fails to fit the description of Reacher as detailed throughout Lee’s expansive series, we’re equally certain that the quiet, observant, emotionally distant qualities of the character will come through brilliantly. A more grounded, everyday version of Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, Reacher is a less forgiving character, but absolutely could be the next Jason Bourne.

Watch the theatrical trailer for Jack Reacher below, and then let us know in the comments: how important are the things that Cruise shares in common with Reacher, and how important are the things that he doesn’t?

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