Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – Review

Courtesy Paramount

Courtesy Paramount

Jack Reacher may never go back, but Tom Cruise knows going back and making a sequel will lead to a big fat paycheck, so he’s back as the former military police commander who wanders the country fighting injustice and kicking the bad guys in the booty like some sort of vagabond Batman.

After busting some bad guys down south, Reacher establishes a flirty relationship with one of his successors, Turner (Cobie Smulders), but romance will have to wait because she has been arrested and charged with treason.

Determined to get to the truth, Reacher soon finds himself on the run, in danger and trying to clear his name as well as hers.

It feels like Cruise has entered that phase of his career where he is reliable, but we shouldn’t expect anything shocking from him, which makes Jack Reacher: Never Go Back a perfect vehicle for the action star.

Writer/director Ed Zwick and his writing partners play it safe and deliver a script with all of the predictability and clichés you would expect.  The nefarious plot Turner has been close to cracking is fairly easy to discern with only a surprise twist or two throughout, while Cruise gets to play the dour, emotionally flat tough guy with several wry comebacks.  He even gets some big Taken-type scenes where he gets to talk tough and mean on the phone to the bad guys (but you and everyone else in the audience will agree that Liam Neeson did it better).

Then, Zwick gives us the requisite amount of chase scenes, fisticuffs, guns and stuff going boom.  It’s all done well, but, again, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is content to play it by the numbers and rely on Cruise and his well known intensity to carry the movie through the obvious.

Zwick and the team try to have some fun with comedic situations and the emerging father/daughter-type relationship Reacher develops with a young teen girl, Sam (Danika Yarosh), who may or may not be his daughter.  Sometimes their banter is welcome, sometimes it is forced, so it is much like the movie itself – hit or miss, but never soaring nor floundering.

Let’s hear it for the average, but entertaining.

2waffles_sml2 Waffles (Out of 4)

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements.