Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was very disappointing; the teenage girl was annoying, it was too long and despite being a big Tom Cruise fan I’m not sure he’s right for this role.
Plot: Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.
Review: Although I wasn’t blown away by the first Jack Reacher movie I still found plenty to enjoy; there were some solid action scenes and a rather terrifying villain played by Werner Herzog. When they announced this sequel I was surprised as the first movie didn’t exactly ignite the box office but the trailers made this look like it would be action packed and as one critic said “fast paced”.
Well that isn’t true and I have to be honest and say that Never Go Back was incredibly disappointing and rather pedestrian. The story wasn’t anything we haven’t seen in TV shows and movies many times before and this actually felt like a feature length episode of NCIS… without the Navy.
I love the character of Jack Reacher and although I’m not sure I like Tom Cruise in the role he does kind of fit in with author Lee Child’s description: “he has quirks and problems, but the thing is, he doesn’t know he’s got them. Hence, no tedious self-pity. He’s smart and strong, an introvert, but any anguish he suffers is caused by others.”
Cruise brings some of that to Reacher (except for the introvert part) and yet he still feels a little bland and I would prefer someone who feels more like a an ex-soldier rather than someone who looks like Tom Cruise. I’ve heard people suggest the likes of Jim Caviezel who would be ideally suited as it’s quite a similar role to John Reese in his TV series Person of Interest.
My main flaw with this sequel though was the introduction of the annoying teenage girl which is always guaranteed to stop a movie in its tracks; do they always have to be so obnoxious and unlikable? Then you’ve got Cobie Smulders playing the “strong female lead” as Turner; she felt like such a cliche and totally unrealistic. As I’ve said many times before I know plenty of strong women who are fantastic people and really likable but Turner just wasn’t an appealing character at all.
The film also drags (like the first movie) and could have had 10-15 minutes trimmed off it… for example every scene involving Sam (said teenage girl). I prefer my heroes as loners (like me) where it doesn’t dilute their badassery; in this Turner is always questioning him when he makes a decision and I just wanted her to shut the f**k up and let him do his job.
Whereas the first movie had Werner Herzog, instead this time we get a less interesting villain in Robert Knepper who is essentially the same in everything. He’s very one note and doesn’t have enough screen time to be any kind of a threat and is totally forgettable.
I almost feel like maybe this would work better as a TV series so we can spend more time with the character of Reacher and they could streamline the narrative where it fits into an hour long episode.
It’s not all bad though; the action scenes are incredibly slick with some impressive fights, especially the climactic rooftop fight between Reacher and The Hunter (Patrick Heusinger).
Overall, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was very disappointing; the teenage girl was annoying, it was too long and despite being a big Tom Cruise fan I’m not sure he’s right for this role.