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Jack just Reachered through the window and grabbed that guy
“Who the hell are you?”
“I’m the guy you didn’t count on.”
The first Jack Reacher film (2012) was a decent action mystery that kept your attention. Tom Cruise’s (Rock of Ages) nomadic character had the screen presence to overshadow the film’s imperfections, and distract us from the obvious fact that that movie was a throwback to action heroes from the 70’s, and actioners from the 90’s. In a way, it reminded me of those made for TV movies that star Tom Selleck (Jesse Stone), or films like The Equalizer (2014). Everybody loves the stranger who comes to town, asks questions, kicks all of the bad guys’ asses, and asks some more.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
The rare Cruise sequel that doesn’t have self-destructing messages (Mission: Impossible), Jack Reacher: Never Go Back does however have a self-destructive plot. Take the standard 90’s action flick, throw in a worthless daughter paternity subplot, and have the main characters stop running for just long enough to set up some sexual chemistry that goes nowhere. The trailers teased an action-heavy follow up, but failed to mention that all of that action was only there. This whole film is about Cruise being able to walk onto any property he wants and get any information he asks for, without ending up in handcuffs or getting riddled with bullets. And when he does get arrested, he uses it as a plan to help someone else escape. I could take this more seriously if the guy didn’t have to hitchhike everywhere he goes.
Hell, there’s even a cliched villain that has an indiscriminate license to kill anyone he wants with no repercussions (Patrick Heusinger, Black Swan). And his dialogue is to die for (pun intended). I swear I heard similar banter in The Long Kiss Goodnight from Craig Bierko’s (Cinderella Man) villain. Aside from Cruise’s charisma and commitment to character, Cobie Smulders’ (Marvel’s The Avengers) equal ground wit, and Danika Yarosh’s (Law & Order: SVU) capable performance as Cruise’s possible daughter, the entire cast is a blob of wasted talent. Good actors like Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton), Holt McCallany (Fight Club), and Robert Knepper (Prison Break), are used as human place mats to progress the story. Cruise’s sexual tension with Smulders builds up to a boiling point, then is quickly doused over like a cold shower. His relationship with Yarosh is believable and even sentimental, but it hurts the flow of the film so badly, that the movie never recovers.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
The Good– The cocky sheriff gets cuffed, “I don’t like being followed”, “I don’t like being followed” part 2, and the truth sets Cruise and Yarosh free.
The Bad– Hollywood expects us to forget the crap we’ve seen two decades ago. Senility hasn’t kicked in yet, I still remember.
The Ugly– Is Cruise on some kind of Vagicleanse (Find it in your local market’s feminine aisle)? He never touches the ladies anymore, and it’s starting to show. With the exception of Vanilla Sky (2001), can anyone recall the last time that he removed his full body condom and actually kissed someone?
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back says that it won’t, but it really went there. And there is nothing new to see here. This movie is boring and deserves a low rating, yet Cruise is so good at selling his part, that I was able to sit through this entire two hour film without passing out. Regardless, I’m never going back to this franchise.
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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
PG-13 | 1h 58min | Action, Adventure, Crime | 21 October 2016 (USA)
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.
Director: Edward Zwick
Writers: Lee Child (based on the book “Never Go Back” by), Richard Wenk (screenplay)
Stars: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge