Perhaps there’s an irony in the title Never Go Back for the incessant need by studios to make a sequel to a film when the first does OK at the box office. In reality, movies about Jack Reacher have been around for decades, played by many different famous actors – the current iteration being played by Tom Cruise, who is trying not to be Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible but instead just looks like a cheaper version in a cheaper film.
The current instalment (and very likely the last) sees Jack Reacher now on the other side of the law, part of a government conspiracy and needing to clear his own name, we see the tables turned with Reacher a fugitive from the law and with nobody to trust. Normally living as a ghost is what he wants, not living anywhere or owning any luggage, the worlds most handsome and clean homeless person is now hunted, and the stakes are raised.
When Major Turner, a fierce, smart and loyal soldier played Cobie Smulders is arrested for espionage, Reacher senses a cabal is at play from higher powers. Of course his instinct is correct, but he soon is embroiled in the machination and puts both their lives at risk. Sprinkle a little extra character motivation with Reacher being blackmailed and forced to watch over a teenage girl he is unsure could be his daughter and we have a movie about a dysfunctional family unit on the run from some very dangerous men, lead by a mercenary who mirrors Jack tit for tat in mind games and military prowess.
Taper your expectations for a film like this, many of the people going to see this are under the impression this is a US version of 007, but the truth is it a scaled down action flick, focused more on the crime part of the genre than explosions and visual effects (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). We get to follow Reacher and see his super savant skills fighting multiple people at once, breaking out of prison and generally being a stern and intrepid alpha male.
Where the movie falters, especially from the first Jack Reacher is a new director in Edwark Zwick, who has made some great films like Blood Diamond and the Last Samurai in the past, but in this there is a sense of disjointedness and some old and tired clichés. The acting is on par, and the action scenes are tight but the root of this films issues stem from the screenplay that feels like a cheesy ‘80s flick, down to the one-liners and super macho leading man. It’s Tom Cruise playing Tom Cruise in a Tom Cruise movie.
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