JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK:
IF YOU’VE SEEN ANY TOM CRUISE ACTION MOVIES BEFORE, THEN YOU’VE ALREADY SEEN THIS MOVIE!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: ** ½ out of 4
Tom Cruise is back as Jack Reacher in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible franchise, Minority Report, Edge of Tomorrow) is back as ex-military police force officer, Jack Reacher in the sequel to the 2012 action movie of the same name. Believe it or not, this marks the first time Tom Cruise did a movie sequel outside of the Mission: Impossible franchise, and I’m still waiting on that Top Gun sequel that was announced a while back.
The first film, directed by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, The Way of the Gun, Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation) was a very entertaining action movie that depicts pretty much everything that makes Tom Cruise the action star he is best known for. Throw in the talented, Rosamund Pike into the mixture and some crazy action scenes and you pretty much got a fun blockbuster in full Cruise Control that sadly was overshadowed by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at the time of its release.
Well apparently Jack Reacher did well enough to encourage Paramount to give it a sequel, which I found odd because nobody really talked about it much after its theatrical run. In fact, I’m going to be honest, the last time I watched the first movie prior to the sequel was in the theater on its opening day, so it pretty much faded from memory until the sequel was announced.
That’s where Jack Reacher: Never Go Back comes in, with Cruise reprising his role, McQuarrie returning as a producer, and this time in the director’s chair is Edward Zwick (Glory, The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond). How does one describe a sequel that nobody really demanded? I can sum it up in six words…it’s a Tom Cruise action movie.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Tom Cruise as an actor, the Mission: Impossible movies, Top Gun, and Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report brought so much joy to me over the years, and need I mention Tropic Thunder? That’s what I thought.
But after seeing a refreshingly different performance by Cruise in 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow I was hoping to see him expand with these types of characters. Well, instead we got a sequel to Jack Reacher where he’s basically doing everything he would do as Ethan Hunt without having to be Ethan Hunt.
He shoots, fights, runs (obviously), and even makes a remark about the women he slept with, it’s a generic Tom Cruise movie. It’s not bad or anything like that, but I’ve seen these movies before and it comes off as extremely familiar and formulaic here.
The film is set about four years after the events of the first film, where we find Jack Reacher returning to the headquarters of his old military unit to meet with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders-How I Met Your Mother, Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Lego Movie), who has been working with him on solving cases across the country. Upon arriving at the headquarters, Jack discovers that Turner is accused of espionage and learns that he may have a child that he has never met before.
Jack and Turner become fugitives from the law as they begin their mission to track down a young girl named Samantha Dayton (Danika Yarosh-Tar, Shameless, Heroes Reborn) who may or may not be his daughter, and protect her from a group of ruthless arms dealers out to get her. Can Jack and Turner clear their names and save Samantha from the bad guys? Because there is no going back.
Overall, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a pretty unnecessary sequel, unlike Mission: Impossible which is practically a pop culture icon, Jack Reacher pretty much faded from memory, I almost forgot about the first movie until this movie was announced. But with that said, despite the Tom Cruise action movie formula not giving much new here, the action scenes are good stuff, but seriously does the guy have to run in every action movie he stars in? Every time I see Tom Cruise running in an action movie, I keep expecting a sandstorm to appear behind him.
If you just want to see Tom Cruise do what he does best with very few new things added in, you’ll enjoy Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. It’s simply a generic Tom Cruise movie, it pretty much encompasses everything that Tom Cruise has done in all of his other movies and meshes them together.
It sounds like I don’t recommend this movie at all, not exactly, as I mentioned Tom Cruise is serviceable in this film, but who really steals the show is Cobie Smulders. I mean it, forget Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders is the unstoppable force you don’t want to mess with, seriously, Maria Hill goes full GTA in this movie, and to me that is more than worth the price of admission.
Not sure what else to say, but, like Tom Cruise? Like his action sequences? You’ll like this movie.