Kicking bad-guy butt 'Jack Reacher'-style
05:00 AM, May 06, 2013
In the real Jack Reacher, five brutish thugs take on one Tom Cruise outside a sleazy Pittsburgh bar. Guess who’s still standing at the end of the melee?
Cruise, of course.
This is due to the fact that he’s Tom Cruise and the Keysi Fighting Method he employs in 2011’s Jack Reacher, which hits Blu-Ray and DVD May 7.
In a very, very alternate reality it’s one decrepit reporter (that’s me) taking on three thugs. Actually, they are professional stunt people who often play thugs when they are not being the nicest people ever. But I’m calling them thugs. And they will pay for their evil ways.
The gig’s simple. I learn everything I need to know about KFM (which everyone from Christian Bale’s Dark Knight to Cruise’s Reacher use to bust baddie butt) in about 20 minutes or less. Then I am meant to re-create Reacher’s bar mayhem.
Robert Alonzo, the stunt coordinator who trained Cruise for Reacher and works with him on most every film, has his work cut out for him. He tries to teach me the fighting moves in 10 easy steps that can be incorporated into any bar brawl I might join, or, more likely, when someone cuts into the line at Peet’s Coffee.
Sadly, each time by step three of 10 I’ve forgotten everything except for my “look mad” face. I’m actually really good at my “look mad” face. Hopeless at the rest.
In one training move, I mis-thrust my nose into Alonzo’s nearly stationary fist and deliver myself a de facto blow. This is not how it’s supposed to work. But it’s kind of cool to know that Cruise’s stunt trainer kind of hit me in the nose.
Andy Norman, a founder of KFM, can only shake his head as he sees me going through my paces. There just isn’t much to say. The guy invented the fighting method to survive tough Northern English pubs and saw Hollywood pick up the tough-guy fighting trend. Then I wuss-ify it in one pathetic blow.
But I work my paces off stage inspired by the deep-seated fear that I am going to look pathetic on camera. There’s actual grunting in my training. Survivor plays in my head. People stare. I don’t care.
When I meet my stunt foes it’s all business. I demand they stop being nice. We roll through my 10 steps. It’s not perfect, but it’s 10. Stunt guys fly backward from my supposed blows and I add a flourish when I toss one baddie “out the door.” It shows promise for a signature move in the future.
And in one euphoric moment, there is a future. In that joint, right then, I rule like Reacher.
Tom Cruise, I’m giving you 10 reasons to watch your back. I might just need a few minutes to practice them again.