Tom Cruise returns as Jack Reacher (from the series of novels by Lee Child) in a rare sequel for the biggest movie star on the planet. In ‘Jack Reacher : Never Go Back’ Reacher is drawn into a conspiracy within his former battalion when he returns to meet Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). Ultimately for the promise offered by Cruise’s decision to make a sequel, it is a real disappointment in its mediocrity, predictability and cliche.
The film was directed by Edward Zwick with the screenplay by Richard Wenk, Marshall Herskovitz and Zwick himself.
Other than the Mission Impossible franchise, Tom Cruise doesn’t really do sequels. If he did, we’d be on Top Gun 8 by now. And Cocktail 3. Both of which I would pay gladly to see by the way.
I really enjoyed the first Jack Reacher film. It was witty, engaging, and offered twists throughout. There was good chemistry between Cruise, Pike and Duvall and I quickly forgot the ‘Cruise is too short for this role’ rage that had been prevalent online in advance of the film’s release.
For the sequel, we find Reacher, having recently dispatched of a rogue group of illegal immigrant traders, making his way to his old HQ in Washington DC to meet Turner, (Smulders). Upon his arrival, we find that Turner has been arrested for espionage and thing go from bad to worse from that point with Reacher quickly being accused of murder.
The film works its way through a plot with holes in it that you could have filmed a sequel to ‘The Abyss’ in, predicable moments throughout and a really poorly constructed dialogue that feels sloppy throughout as characters bounce from token phrase to another.
Here’s the problem. Cruise is far better than the plot. The first film worked on the principle of Reacher will go beyond the law to get things done. He will solve the crime that the authorities can’t. For this one, the double act of Reacher and Turner waters down that side. It may have made sense in the 18th novel in the series to try and add a different aspect, but I don’t buy it for a second film.
Cruise doesn’t really put a foot wrong as an actor (although as a producer that might be a different question), Smulders does her best but I thought struggled with the role at times (and is possibly miscast), but the real hole here is in the screenplay by Zwick and co. The supporting cast, which includes Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh, and Patrick Heusinger, do what they can, but the fundamentals of the film are just not good enough.
Its a real shame as I really enjoyed Cruise’s turns as Reacher. But we’ll not see another. After this film, they will never go back.