Jack Reacher: Never Go Back- Film Review
Tom Cruise returns as Jack Reacher in this sequel based on Lee Child’s bestselling novel Never Go Back. The film finds Tom Cruise caught in a dried-out role as director Edward Zwick unfortunately plays out a static, generic plot of the ex-military commander Jack Reacher going back into the field to exonerate Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), an army major arrested and accused of being a spy.
The opening scenes set the tone for what viewers can expect as Jack Reacher takes command, even against the law, as he sits and dines in a dirty looking restaurant after beating up a few guys, with an utterly calm demeanor, even after the police show up to arrest him.
The film softens Jack Reacher’s role slightly when he starts corresponding via a series of half-flirty phone calls between him and Turner, in which Reacher promises to visit her in the event that he ever makes it to Washington, D.C. But when he arrives in US capital, in the very next scene, he learns that Turner has been relieved of her position and will be tried for treason. Several minutes of screen time later, Reacher helps Turner escape from her cell, as he and the major are sprinting across a parking space, with high-level assassins led by an arrogant operative known only as The Hunter (Patrick Heusinger), in hot pursuit.
A soft story eventually emerges as fugitives Reacher and Turner battle an evil military contractor, running a crooked game and killing everyone in his path. As if that is not enough for Reacher, there is also the matter of Samantha (Danika Yarosh), a 15-year-old girl living in foster care in Washington who he is told may or may not be his daughter (the possibility comes as news to him). She becomes a target when The Hunter makes the possible connection between the two.
During the two hour duration of the film, I felt as though Tom Cruise seemed a bit obligated to play the John Reacher role. The movie awkwardly shifts between slow nostalgic scenes to loud music booming and action. It seems as though his character was a mere cog in the machine as Tom Cruise repeats most of the scenes done in the first Jack Reacher. This ranges from beating down multiple adversaries to a deflated expectation of what will happen in the next 90 seconds. It also includes the obligatory sprint; the final pitched battle against an arch-nemesis, and saving the damsel in distress. The film will seem predictably familiar to almost anyone who has watched any action movie in the last 20 years.
The story line is quite difficult to follow as well. While on the run, the trio (Reacher,Turner, & Samantha) come across a multitude of people, who only have evasive roles in the larger plot that will help provide evidence to clear Turner’s name.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, is not a terrible movie neither is it great. There is no epic climax, instead, just like the first, after all the action it only sets the stage for another sequel. The action scenes are great, the romance is bad, and the supposed father-daughter relationship is awkward in the extreme. It calls for another episode.