“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” | Movie Review

jackreacherposter3.jpgGrade (B-)

A fun action romp but far from the depth the first film captured.

This is a sequel to the 2012 film that was a surprisingly layered crime-mystery, and I was hoping for more of the same in this one. Along with Cruise, this film stars; Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh, Patrick Heusinger and is directed by Edward Zwick.

Like the first movie; this one is based on one of the many Lee Child novels covering the character of Jack Reacher. In this one, Reacher has been communicating by phone with an Army Major named Susan Turner. They have developed a slight rapport with one another over their conversations, and when he goes to meet Turner, he discovers she has been arrested for espionage. Soon they are on the run, a major government conspiracy will need to be uncovered, and a secret from Reacher’s past is thrown in to mix things up a bit.

This sequel goes fully into the action route and leaves behind the detailed plot structure of the first film. Cruise is once again great in his role, but it didn’t come across with the same impact as the first film given in this one he was basically a full-fledged action star. Missing many of the traits that made him the clever investigator he felt like before.

Action is something Cruise excels at; he was every bit the part and looked more than capable in some gritty fight-sequences. But the problem was he basically felt like a lower grade Ethan Hunt, without a true impossible mission, or in this instance, a ‘case’ to build much intrigue. This was a fun movie to watch, a Cruise-led action film will certainly entertain, but the standards set from the first were not met and in the end this was a much weaker sequel.

Cobie Smulders was excellent as well and she conveyed a fully capable female action lead delivering some great moments of physical acting. She also created a realistic chemistry with Cruise given their character dynamic and it was enjoyable to watch them work together. But regardless of their performances, this story still came down to one that we have seen many times, with some routine stops you can expect along the way. Then, as you start to realize how the sub-plots will unravel, and where the main theme will go, the element of intrigue and the captivating of attention drop significantly.


The villains in this film were very generic and there was never any doubt Reacher would accomplish his goals. I mean we all know Reacher will succeed, but a story that can create some slight doubt, with a villain that exudes confidence, capability, and a unique personality, can still be compelling. This film just missed out on both.

When the first film came out in 2012, I was expecting a pure action film and what we got was a richly detailed crime-drama, with doses of action and mystery. This sequel delivers that pure action film we didn’t get the first time, and it was not necessarily for the better. There were some surprising conveniences and plot devices to get things flowing exactly where they need to go for the story to unfold as wanted, and it just felt overly common. The performances, and action are a very good which still make this a fun, entertaining movie to watch, but not one that will provoke much thought.

The story follows the usual formula; a couple on the run, action-sequence, hide-out for awhilw, talk about stuff, lots of explaining things to the audience, and repeat. With a heavy addition from Danika Yarosh. For the sake of spoilers, I will not reveal who her character is, but I will say, while she had some good moments, she also had some that felt overly forced and some decision making that felt cliché.

The actions scenes were fun to watch, Cruise once again sells himself as a bad-ass and there was some uniqueness to the fight choreography. There were some nice locations and the Mardi Gras third-act certainly had its moments. But in the end this one was much less engaging than the first time around.

This movie would be a fun one to sit back on the couch and enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Smulders and Cruise were both great at times, but both were hindered by the writing of their character’s personalities during other scenes. I don’t think racing out to the theater to view this movie is necessary, and its unfortunate because I had high hopes for it.