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Jason Statham’s Next Movie Could Become The Franchise Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher Failed To Be

Summary Levon’s Trade could fill the void left by Tom Cruise’s failed Jack Reacher franchise, offering a darker, grittier thriller with major franchise potential.
Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie wanted his film to be R-rated but was forced to go for a PG-13.
Levon’s Trade could become the 1970s-inspired thriller franchise McQuarrie wanted Jack Reacher to become.
Jason Statham’s upcoming action thriller reunites him with The Beekeeper helmer David Ayer and could become the franchise that Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher failed to be. It’s a productive time for Jason Statham action franchises. The Expendables 4 may have been a bomb, but Fast X and Meg 2: The Trench both hit big in 2023. The star also scored a major hit with The Beekeeper, a pulpy action thriller that was a surprise critical and commercial success, with a sequel being in development.
Like any star, Statham has had his ups and downs in the business, but The Beekeeper proved Statham is still going strong over 20 years after his breakthrough with The Transporter. His next project is Levon’s Trade, based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Dixon. Ayer will direct the film too, while Statham’s Expendables chum Sylvester Stallone penned the screenplay. There are over 10 books in Dixon’s Levon Cade series too, so the film has major franchise potential.
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Jason Statham’s Levon’s Trade Could Succeed Where Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher Franchise Failed
Levon’s Trade is the 1970s-style thriller Cruise’s Jack Reacher was aspiring to be
Jack Reacher Where to Watch *Availability in US stream
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buy After a mass shooting takes place, homicide investigator Jack Reacher digs into the case to hunt down the sniper who committed the heinous act. Jack Reacher stars Tom Cruise as the titular character and was directed by Christopher McQuarrie. The success of the 2012 film led to a sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, releasing in 2016. Director Christopher McQuarrie Release Date December 21, 2012 Distributor(s) Paramount Pictures Writers Christopher McQuarrie Cast Tom Cruise , Werner Herzog , Jai Courtney , David Oyelowo , Rosamund Pike , Richard Jenkins Franchise(s) Jack Reacher Budget 50million Expand
The announcement that Tom Cruise would play Jack Reacher in the 2012 film of the same name was met with howls of outrage by book fans. Cruise is not the hulking 6-foot, 5-inch giant from Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels by any stretch, and while he embodied the character’s spirit, the physicality wasn’t there. Another issue with Cruise’s adaptation is that Jack Reacher’s PG-13 rating prevented it from getting as dark as the source material. The Child books can get nasty, but while Christoper McQuarrie’s film had some intense sequences, it had to pull its punches.
Levon’s Trade is a brutal, unflinching tale. Assuming the film is true to Dixon’s source material, it won’t be a tongue-in-cheek ride at all and will lean closer to films like 1974’s Death Wish or Dirty Harry.
McQuarrie has since lamented that the Jack Reacher movies weren’t R-rated, which is a direction he wanted to take the first sequel. He wanted the films to feel like the sort of gritty, R-rated thrillers from the 1970s that he grew up with. That obviously can’t happen now, but Jason Statham’s Levon’s Trade could fill that niche. The Dixon novel is a dark tale where the titular former soldier is hired to find his boss’ missing daughter and uncovers a criminal underworld.
In contrast to the more lighthearted Beekeeper, Levon’s Trade is a brutal, unflinching tale. Assuming the film is true to Dixon’s source material, it won’t be a tongue-in-cheek ride at all and will lean closer to films like 1974’s Death Wish or Dirty Harry. Those were the kinds of films McQuarrie was aspiring towards with Jack Reacher, but Statham and Ayer’s Levon’s Trade might have an easier time hitting that target.
Why Reacher Succeeded On Amazon But Failed In Cinemas
Amazon’s Reacher was allowed to stay true to Lee Child’s books
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Time has been kind to Jack Reacher, and putting aside controversies over Cruise’s size and the PG-13 rating, it’s a well-constructed thriller with a unique protagonist and some crunchy action. Time has not been kind to the 2016 sequel Never Go Back, with the Ed Zwick-helmed follow-up being a toothless, frill-free bore. The plug was pulled on the Cruise Reacher franchise after two entries, with Amazon’s adaptation casting Alan Ritchson as the ex-Army avenger. The first two seasons of Reacher have been huge hits for the streamer, and the show looks set to continue for a long time to come.
Amazon’s show has several advantages the Cruise films did not. The first movie needed a big name to draw in audiences, but Ritchson is just a better match for the main character as written. Reacher also has the time to properly explore the books it adapts too, instead of having to drop characters and subplots to meet a two-hour runtime. Unlike the movies, Reacher is allowed to be as gritty and violent as Child’s novels, and while it doesn’t wallow in violence, it isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty either.
Christopher McQuarrie planned to adapt Lee Child’s Worth Dying For as his version of Jack Reacher 2 , before exiting the director’s chair.
The Beekeeper Proved There Is An Audience For A Levon Cade Franchise
Levon’s Trade is set up for success
Custom image by Yeider Chacon.
One thing that McQuarrie pointed out about Jack Reacher is that R-rated action thrillers of a certain budget level didn’t really exist back in 2012. It was only due to the success of films like Deadpool or Joker that studios began to see a market for more modestly priced projects (via Empire). With The Beekeeper, Statham proved that he is still very much a viable leading man, but also there is a niche for the sort of adult action films he made his name on, like Crank.
That’s one reason Levon’s Trade could spawn the series that McQuarrie wanted his Jack Reacher films to be. The Levon Cade books are very much in the kind of pulp novel vein of the best ’70s thrillers, and Statham is one of the few actors who has an inbuilt audience in the action genre on the big screen.
Source: Empire

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