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Is Lee Child’s Jack Reacher finally going to punch and badass his way to the big screen? Possibly, if Christopher McQuarrie and Paramount have their way. The writer/director of “The Unusual Suspects” and “Persons Unknown” has boarded the studio’s “One Shot”, a big-screen adaptation of Child’s novel of the same name. “One Shot” is the ninth in the series, which means it’s one of the installments I haven’t gotten to yet, though that’s likely to change now that I know “One Shot” will be the first of what the studio is no doubt hoping will be a launching pad for a Jack Reacher franchise.
The hero of “One Shot” is Jack Reacher, an ex-military policeman who spends his time wandering the byroads and backroads of America after leaving the Army. Since that in itself would make a boring novel, the laconic and slightly hobo-ish Reacher finds himself in the thick of some dangerous situation that, invariably, involves him busting heads and not taking names with swift efficiency in the name of justice. Reacher is definitely not like a lot of big screen heroes you’ve seen before — he doesn’t own a home, has no bills, no job, no living relative that he knows of, and instead of lugging around clothes or laundering them when they get dirty, he just buys cheap new ones and moves on. And oh yeah, he’s real smart, and big, and did I mention he’s a one-man wrecking crew?
In “One Shot”, Reacher becomes involved when an ex-sniper shoots up some civilians and sends for him. The villains are Russian types, but again, I haven’t read the book yet, so I really can’t say. If you’re wondering if it’s wise to jump-start a franchise with the ninth novel in a long established series, it probably doesn’t really matter, because Lee Child’s novels are pretty self-contained entries, and even when characters from past novels show up, the author rarely bothers to link them with a previous book.
Besides writing and adapting “One Shot”, McQuarrie is also eyeing the director’s chair, which would make the film his first since 2000’s excellent and criminally under-appreciated “Way of the Gun”.