Dir: Edward Zwick, 2016
I had high hopes for this sequel to Cruise’s brilliant 2012 action thriller. But, sadly, it follows the route that many sequels follow.
Jack Reacher ( Tom Cruise) has been working with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) but, arriving at the base to meet the Major, learns that she has been arrested on suspicion of espionage.
Turner’s lawyer is beaten to death and Reacher is framed for the murder.
Reacher escapes custody and frees Turner, both becoming fugitives in to try and clear their name.
It starts excellently. Confident and unperturbed, Reacher oozes a coolness that only Cruise can pull off.
But, within minutes of this opening scene, it drops swiftly into formulaic territory.
Ex-model and How I Met Your Mother actress, Smulders, goes through the motions as a typical glamourous actress does. As an army major, she wears no make and is dressed down. But, by the time the end of the film arrives, she’s had a make over, looks beautiful, and wears clothes that accentuate her figure, making her appear every part the model she was.
The action, in this, is sparse and unstimulating and missing the excitement of the Christopher McQuarrie directed first film.
Having never read the book (or any Jack Reacher books, to be honest. They’re not my thing), I can’t say whether there’s any veracity in the translation to the cinema, but there is a sub-plot here concerning a young girl who’s mother has filed a paternity suit, alleging Reacher to be the girl’s father.
This secondary plot adds nothing to the mix but distraction. It’s a needless diversion, serving no purpose at all but to slow the film down.
Jack Reacher – Never Go Back is an exercise in disappointment and frustration. Disappointing because it’s a completely run of the mill thriller with poor performances, a redundant sub-plot and ill casting and provokes extensive frustration because Cruise is capable of so much more.
Maybe everybody involved should have taken the advice of the book’s title.