Lee Child suddenly realised why his cameo stressed that he had to remain seated.


Lee Child suddenly realised why his cameo stressed that he had to remain seated.

JACK REACHER

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. PARKING GARAGE - PITTSBURGH

The OPENING CREDITS list the ACTORS in the same font as the TITLE, making it seem like THERE IS NO TITLE and JACK REACHER is just SOME ACTOR'S SHITTY SCREEN NAME.

JAI COURTNEY enters a PARKING GARAGE overlooking a PEACEFUL VERDANT RIVERSIDE PARK and lines up a SNIPER RIFLE. He shoots FIVE PEOPLE and POSTPONES THE MOVIE'S PREMIERE SCREENING by, like, A DAY.

INT. DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE - PITTSBURGH

DISTRICT ATTORNEY RICHARD JENKINS is going over the CASE with DETECTIVE DAVID OYELOWO.

DAVID OYELOWO

Evidence at the scene led to the arrest of one Joseph Sikora. Since the audience saw that it was in fact Jai Courtney, say goodbye to any sense of mystery.

RICHARD JENKINS

That sounds like we're dealing with an adaptation of the ninth Jack Reacher book. Makes sense, why risk an original story when you can just bank on the rabid fanbase of an established property?

DAVID OYELOWO

The ninth? How will we introduce the main character if he's already got eight books' worth of backstory to his name?

RICHARD JENKINS

Rather than illustrate what an elusive badass he is, let's just rattle off a few clichéd taglines that explain it.

DAVID OYELOWO

How about "the man's a ghost."

RICHARD JENKINS

Ooh, I like that. Uhmm -- "you can't find him unless he wants to be found."

DAVID OYELOWO

Good one! Now let's cut to a brief shot of him lying on a motel room bed while a hot woman gets dressed, because obviously he's a charismatic ladies' man as well.

ROSAMUND PIKE

Gentlemen, can we get to the matter at hand?

RICHARD JENKINS

Alright, Rosamund who is my daughter and also a defence attorney and totally not a conflict of interest in this case.

ROSAMUND PIKE

We need to prove that Anthony Hopkins killed his wife.

RICHARD JENKINS

What? No, I think you have this movie confused with Fracture. Honest mistake, since you play pretty much the same role in both movies.

Suddenly, TOM CRUISE and TOM CRUISE'S SHIT-EATING GRIN enter.

DAVID OYELOWO

Tom, what are you doing here? If you're looking for the set of Oblivion, that's one room over. The one with Morgan Freeman and all the green screens in it.

TOM CRUISE

No no, I'm the star. I'm Jack Reacher.

DAVID OYELOWO

Well, that's a bit of a stretch. Or in this case, whatever the opposite of a stretch is.

TOM CRUISE

Come on, if they can turn Liam Neeson into an action star, my age shouldn't be a problem.

DAVID OYELOWO

I wasn't referring to your crow's feet. Isn't Jack Reacher supposed to be tall and built like a brick shithouse?

TOM CRUISE

Ugh, not that again! Look, Jack Reacher's formidable height is actually a metaphor for an unstoppable force, which I portray in my own way by always leading with my chest.

DAVID OYELOWO

Then why does this scene consist solely of over-the-shoulder shots that make you seem bigger?

RICHARD JENKINS

And you're the only one not sitting down.

DAVID OYELOWO

And you were introduced lying down on a bed.

ROSAMUND PIKE

And that was followed by a bunch of quick shots that only showed parts of your weirdly proportioned body.

TOM CRUISE

Let's just get to the next scene, okay? Incidentally, we're starting that one from a bird's-eye view.

INT. HOSPITAL - PITTSBURGH

TOM and ROSAMUND visit JOSEPH SIKORA, who is UNCONSCIOUS.

ROSAMUND PIKE

Just when he thought he was actually getting some lines, he was beaten into a coma by his fellow inmates.

TOM CRUISE

I have a feeling that Joseph was framed.

ROSAMUND PIKE

I suppose your sheer badassery also translates to your investigative skills, meaning whatever outlandish theories you come up with will always prove to be correct?

TOM CRUISE

Fuck a sense of mystery, right? Anyways, why don't you look into the victims of the shooting while I go sit around and wait for leads to fall into my lap.

INT. BAR - PITTSBURGH

TOM is sitting in a BAR, where ALEXIA FAST starts COMING ON to him.

TOM CRUISE

Well, I could use a little rebound. You fit the age category too and oh wait sorry you're a lead in the case, right?

ALEXIA FAST

How dare you sit there and not let me fall into your lap! My boyfriend Josh Helman will beat the snot out of you!

JOSH HELMAN

You messing with my girl there, brah? That seriously unpops my collar! We're going outside for a fight right now! I'm pretty sure that will work out great for me, given the way such scenes have ended in all those movies I've never seen!

TOM completely annihilates JOSH and his FELLOW BRODUDES by KICKING THEM IN THE NUTS, indicating that HE DOESN'T PLAY BY THE RULES, MAN. He gets ARRESTED and ROSAMUND bails him out.

ROSAMUND PIKE

"A bit of a troublemaker, aren't you?" Richard Jenkins told me to say that.

TOM CRUISE

Did you look into the victims and humanise this case like I asked?

ROSAMUND PIKE

Despite that being a horribly unwise idea, I did. They were all about to turn their lives around for the better. One of them was going to donate kittens to an orphanage.

TOM CRUISE

According to my badass skills of blatant assumption, I think they were really all colossal douchebags. Wait, was this one victim reneging on the sale of her late husband's construction company? That's the key to this whole thing! Someone wanted control over that company! Whoa, all the tension and excitement of government construction contracts over here.

ROSAMUND PIKE

Please don't tell me that the other victims were killed and Joseph Sikora was framed so no one would look into that woman specifically. I've so had it with needlessly convoluted murder schemes.

TOM CRUISE

Oh, and I figured out a way to introduce some mystery. I have a feeling either Richard Jenkins or David Oyelowo is in on the whole thing.

RICHARD JENKINS

Oh good, because we really don't have anything else to do around here.

DAVID OYELOWO

(looking up from his newspaper)

Hmm?

INT. PARTS STORE - PITTSBURGH

TOM follows a trail of COMICALLY INEFFECTIVE GOONS and tracks down ALEXIA FAST at a PARTS STORE.

TOM CRUISE

Hello, Alexia. No, don't get up. Seriously, do not get up. STAY IN YOUR SEAT!

ALEXIA FAST

What do you want?

TOM CRUISE

I have an inevitably accurate feeling your boyfriend was hired to discourage me from pursuing this case by instigating that bar fight, which fits the bad guys' tendency to engage in needlessly convoluted schemes.

ALEXIA FAST

Yup, spot on.

TOM CRUISE

Man, I have got grasping at straws down to a science. There should be a name for that. Scienceology or something. I'll think of it later.

INT. MOTEL ROOM - PITTSBURGH

TOM meets up with ROSAMUND.

ROSAMUND PIKE

I've found that Joseph used to train at a shooting range in Ohio.

TOM CRUISE

Alright, I'll go over there and -- Rosamund? You're doing that bug-eyed face again. Well, you're doing it all the time, but it's more pronounced now. Is it a look of shock? Realisation? Dread? Help me out here.

ROSAMUND PIKE

It's just that we're in a motel room and you're shirtless for some reason. I suppose this is the scene where we inevitably sleep together.

TOM CRUISE

Well, there is a shocking lack of chemistry between us, so let's just pretend to avert the trope and not do that.

Meanwhile, JAI COURTNEY murders ALEXIA and makes it seem like TOM did it.

TOM CRUISE

Oh no, now I'm playing a badass who's also being wrongfully pursued by the authorities! I haven't done that since Minority Report and three of the last four Mission: Impossible movies!

ROSAMUND PIKE

Don't forget about Knight and Day!

TOM CRUISE

Believe me, I'm trying to.

The POLICE arrive, so TOM gets in his 1970 CHEVROLET CHEVELLE and makes like a BULLITT. After a FRANTIC CHASE, he rounds a CORNER and gets out of his CAR right before the POLICE surround it. He walks up to a GROUP OF PEOPLE WAITING FOR THE BUS.

BYSTANDER

Huddle in with us, we'll shield you from the police!

TOM CRUISE

Why are you protecting me? For all you know, I'm being pursued by the police because I'm an evil effeminate vampire or a sociopathic contract killer.

BYSTANDER

Nah, you've got a good couple of movies left before you play another bad guy to shake things up.

TOM escapes the POLICE. STICK IT TO THE MAN!

EXT. SHOOTING RANGE - OHIO

TOM visits the SHOOTING RANGE and speaks with the OWNER, ROBERT DUVALL.

TOM CRUISE

Robert Duvall? What are you doing here? Ah, this must be our glorious Days of Thunder reunion that absolutely no one was waiting for!

ROBERT DUVALL

No, this is just the commercial drivel I have to subject myself to once in a while so I can keep accepting worthwhile projects. I mean, my character's name is Cash. You can't get more on the nose than that.

TOM CRUISE

Fair enough. I'm looking for whoever Joseph Sikora was training with on your range.

ROBERT DUVALL

I'll tell you, but first I must see how good a marksman you are for no other reason than to continue establishing you as a badass.

A FLASHBACK then shows JOSEPH hanging out with JAI COURTNEY and STILL NOT GETTING ANY LINES. Meanwhile, ROSAMUND is KIDNAPPED by DAVID OYELOWO, who is STILL IN THE MOVIE.

RICHARD JENKINS

Oh, I wasn't the mole? Right, I'll be in the car.

INT. BAR - PITTSBURGH

TOM returns and calls ROSAMUND on a PAYPHONE, because PAYPHONES are still a THING whenever MOVIES need them to be. JAI answers.

JAI COURTNEY

Surprise! We have Rosamund. If you don't come over here and kill us, we'll kill her.

TOM CRUISE

Do you have any idea what brutality I'm capable of in the books but not this PG-13 adaptation? All the ruthless shit I've pulled pales in comparison to what goes on in the books but can't be shown here!

(actual line)

I'm going to beat you to death and drink your blood from a boot.

JAI COURTNEY

That's the best you could come up with? Well, I'm going to rip out your heart, wrap it in a handkerchief and smash it against the wall. Nnyuh!

EXT. GRAVEL QUARRY - PITTSBURGH

TOM enlists the help of ROBERT for his attack on the QUARRY where JAI and his MEN are holding ROSAMUND.

TOM CRUISE

Thanks for helping me out and risking your life for something you didn't want anything to do with five minutes ago, Robert.

ROBERT DUVALL

Okay, you're about to launch a climactic attack on a group of trained men armed with assault rifles. Here's a knife.

TOM CRUISE

Seriously? Oh wait, that's some fanwank reference to Jack Reacher not liking knives, isn't it?

ROBERT DUVALL

Yes, but I also figured you haven't been able to do any of your signature frantic running in this movie yet, so now you're forced to.

After RUN RUN RUNNING ALL OVER THE PLACE and KILLING some DUDES, TOM manages to OUTWIT JAI by cleverly HIDING JUST OFF-SCREEN.

TOM CRUISE

Hah, I got you! Even though I have no clue what they're doing to Rosamund and I should hurry the fuck up, how about I toss my gun instead and we have a lengthy hand-to-hand fight? Look, it's starting to rain. We have to now.

JAI COURTNEY

Just go ahead and completely annihilate me already. I have to get over to the set of A Good Day to Die Hard to have my youthful presence offset yet another aging action star past his prime. Shit, that's going to be my thing, isn't it?

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

Call me.

TOM completely annihilates JAI and then casually saunters up to the CONSTRUCTION TRAILER, where DAVID is using ROSAMUND as a HUMAN SHIELD.

TOM CRUISE

I knew it was you all along, David. You thought to look for a piece of evidence that nobody would have known about. Not even me. That's right, my sheer badassery doesn't just translate to my investigative skills, it is one!

ROSAMUND PIKE

Could've dropped that truth bomb a tad sooner, Tom.

DAVID OYELOWO

Can I at least get another line in before you --

TOM shoots DAVID between ROSAMUND'S RIGHT EARLOBE and EARRING. ROSAMUND either FEARLESSLY DOESN'T FLINCH or has simply FORGOTTEN TO ACT. In the BACK of the TRAILER, TOM finds WERNER FUCKING HERZOG.

TOM CRUISE

Werner Herzog? Are you secretly shooting a documentary about me?

WERNER HERZOG

No, I'm the villain. This is only my second scene though. I hope nobody in the audience sneezed twice or they might not even realise I'm in the movie.

TOM CRUISE

But you're just sitting there. Can't you pose some kind of challenge? This has all been pretty effortless for me.

WERNER HERZOG

Sorry, one of my eccentric character traits is that I chewed off my fingers this one time. I can't even hold a gun. They're going to blame you for all this, you know. You've killed everyone else involved.

TOM CRUISE

So you're saying I should shoot you too?

WERNER HERZOG

No, see, that's exactly what you shouldn't --

TOM shoots WERNER because DUE PROCESS can SUCK A DICK.

ROSAMUND PIKE

Now that all this is over, where will you go?

TOM CRUISE

I guess I'll go on the run again until I am needed once more. I will wander the country, drifting from adventure to adventure, meting out my own brand of renegade justice.

ROSAMUND PIKE

You mean you'll sit around until this movie manages to gross enough to warrant a sequel and turn it into a franchise.

TOM CRUISE

Yeah, that.

END

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