After a modest showing in the domestic release of Jack Reacher (2012), I was surprised to learn of a sequel. Tom Cruise reprises his role as the ex Army Military Police Corps Major, turned lone wolf. We catch up with Reacher in the aftermath of brawl in the scene from the trailers. Still drifting through the countryside with only the clothes on his back, Reacher makes his way to Washington, D.C., to visit his successor and only friend Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). He arrives at his old office, only to find Major Turner has been relieved of command. On trial for espionage, stemming from the suspicious deaths of two Army investigators in Afghanistan. Assuming the worst, Reacher looks to help exonerate Major Turner, but has problems of his own, as his past threatens his future.
Fueled in totality by the charisma of Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back has all the familiar trappings of the one man action movie. There’s a love interest save, innocent bystanders to protect and an imminent threat to national security, set in the locale’s premier event or attraction. It’s hard to see the same story, tweaked and repackaged and sold as new without feeling a bit cheated. There’s also a palpable awkwardness between Cruise and Smulders that eventually turns into a mutual respect. Shoehorning a love interest into this film, seems to be done only to unnecessarily increase the running time.
Based on the 18th book in Lee Child’s never-ending Jack Reacher series, Never Go Back lost something in the adaptation from book to screen. Given Hollywood’s unending quest to adapt every novel to a feature-length film, it’s improbable to know where they’ll go next. Given the predictable plot and lack of chemistry between Cruise and Smulders, Never Go Back fails to capitalize on the quirks of the film, that separates itself from the rest of the genre. Seemed like a bit of a missfire that made me wonder if the series can continue. Or, is it better to file this away and ‘Never Go Back’?
Rated: PG-13 @ 118 mins
Note: In IMAX Where Available