Review | Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Review | Jack Reacher: Never Go Back


Tom Cruise returns as Jack Reacher. Never Go Back? Maybe he should’ve Never Come Back!


Background

A few years ago, whilst browsing the section an internet forum regarding books, someone recommended reading the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Childs.

After finding the first in the series, I sat down and read the book at a furious pace. I was hooked. Since then I have read around half of the series but I think I have become a little burnt out for now and haven’t read a Jack Reacher story for some time.

The books all concern an ex-military police officer by the name of Jack Reacher. With no family or close friends, he travels across the USA, from one small town to the next. However, he always manages to find himself embroiled in someone’s criminal plans. You can be assured by the end of the book, that person will be dead or arrested and what a journey it will be for both Jack and you the reader to reach that final climatic battle.

So it was with some caution I watched the first Jack Reacher film starring Tom Cruise. My initial problem with this film treatment was that for many, including myself, Tom does not match the physical appearance of the books titular character.

However, if you’re prepared to let this fact slip by, you’ll find a great film that still contains the essence of Jack Reacher and the way he works to fight those who do wrong.

The original film only made just enough money at the box office for Paramount Studios to greenlight a sequel.

When the first trailer appeared online, I watched with anticipated interest but something didn’t feel quite right. I decided not to watch any more marketing material and let the final film speak for itself.

 


Synopsis

Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) returns with his particular brand of justice in the highly anticipated sequel JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK. When Army Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), who heads Reacher’s old investigative unit, is arrested for Treason, Reacher will stop at nothing to prove her innocence and to uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy involving soldiers who are being killed. Based upon JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK, author Lee Child’s 18th novel in the best-selling Jack Reacher series, that has seen 100 million books sold worldwide.

 


 

My Thoughts

The film opens at the end of one of Reacher’s many adventures. He has stopped a county sheriff who was involved in a human trafficking ring.

Involved with this escapade was Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) and he promises to take her out to dinner to say “thank you” the next time he passes through Washington D.C.

However, when he gets there, he discovers Colonel Sam Morgan (Holt McCallany) in her office. Turner has been charged with espionage and locked away awaiting trial. She has left explicit instructions that Reacher must not make any contact with her.

But Reacher will not let this go and decides to investigate the situation. When her attorney, Colonel Bob Moorcroft is murdered, the military re-activate Reacher’s military status so he can be placed under their arrest.

You know Reacher isn’t going to stay in those handcuffs for very long!

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is quite disappointing. I had quite high expectations after my appreciation for the original film, but everything here felt mediocre. I shouldn’t be feeling that the film must finish soon only to discover I’m only halfway through!

Tom Cruise as Reacher once again was fine but even the great hand to hand fights of the original didn’t seem as entertaining this time around. The editing was off and I even noticed a few punches that clearly didn’t even look like they made contact.

Cobie Smulders makes a decent action star who can hold her own. I’ve only ever seen her as Agent Maria Hill from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and S.H.I.E.L.D.) and it was refreshing to see her in something different.

There is also a secondary plot that intertwines with the first regarding what could be Reacher’s illegitimate daughter, a fifteen-year-old girl by the name of Samantha Dayton. She is played by Danika Yarosh.

Whilst she isn’t a bad actor per se, having a teenage girl in this kind of movie and you know she’s just going to become bait for the bad guys. There’s also a moment in the film where she is taught how to defend herself by Turner. Straight away I knew this will come back into play during the film’s final moments.

I realise film plots regularly play the set-em-up, knock it down form of storytelling but when their so obvious, I find it distracting.

Director Edward Zwick had directed before with Cruise on The Last Samurai and I really enjoyed that film, but here something was severely lacking. Bring back the original director Christopher McQuarrie!

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back…a title or a warning?



John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves the movies and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990's. Whilst the web page idea became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. Now he's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.