http://youtu.be/4TEAMIEaAaY (video version of this review)
If you've already seen LINCOLN, LIFE OF PI, and THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK-- the best films out there right now--then you might want to check out DJANGO UNCHAINED or JACK REACHER.
Tom cruise is convincing as Jack Reacher, the protagonist of more than a dozen novels by Lee Child.
Lee Child: Jack Reacher is an ex military investigator that drifts in the civilian world. He always tries to stay out of trouble and yet he can't walk away from something that needs fixing. He shows up, he solves the problem and he moves on. What makes Reacher utterly unique is that he has no job, he has no location, so he can be anywhere and do anything.
The film is based on ONE SHOT, the ninth book in the series of which I've read exactly none. But I appreciated JACK REACHER for its straight ahead story telling, its almost old fashioned but very smart plot and also for the presence of Rosamund Pike, as a lawyer who helps Reacher figure out what really happened when the wrong man is accused of multiple murders.
In DJANGO UNCHAINED, last year's best supporting actor Christopher Waltz is King Schultz, a bounty hunter masquerading as a traveling dentist just before the Civil War. He picks Django out of a line of beaten slaves.
Schultz: You're exactly the one I'm looking for.
Slave owner: Hey! Stop talkin' to him.
Schultz: Calm down. I'm simply a customer trying to conduct a transaction.
Slave owner points a rifle at Schultz.
Slave owner: Last chance, fancy pants.
Schultz (wearily): Oh, very well. (He draws his gun and shoots the guy.)
Jamie Fox plays the smoldering Django, the slave Schultz buys with the understanding that Django will lead him to some criminals he's looking for.
Soon they've caught up with the criminals and killed all three of them.
Schultz: How do you like the bounty hunting business?
Django: Kill white folks and get paid for it? What's not to like?
The two unlikely partners become friends and eventually figure out which slave owner now owns Django's wife. It's the rich, flamboyant Calvin Candie played by Leonardo Dicaprio.
Candie: I spent my whole life surrounded by black faces. I only have one question. Why don't they just rise up and kill the whites?
Schultz (chuckling): Who knows what could happen?
Anyone who knows Tarantino movies knows what will happen: killing and plenty of it: B movie style violence with geysers of blood, a revenge fantasy in lurid colors.
So if you don't like violence, and you're offended by a prolific use of the "n" word, you won't want to see DJANGO UNCHAINED.
But if you don't mind bloodbaths and you like the clever dialogue Tarantino is famous for, then you may find this movie pretty hilarious.
Plus, the terrific performance of an almost unrecognizable Samuel L. Jackson as a vicious Uncle Tom, who betrays his fellow slaves, is worth the price of admission all by itself.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now firstname.lastname@example.org