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Midvale Journal

Dan's Review: "Jack Reacher" sequel doesn't live up to the hype

Oct 20, 2016 10:45PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back - © 2016 Paramount Pictures.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Paramount)

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements.

Starring Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge, Patrick Heusinger, Danika Yarosh, Holt McCallany, Austin Hebert, Robert Catrini, Robert Knepper.

Written by Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, based on Never Go Back by Lee Child.

Directed by Edward Zwick.



I really liked 2012’s Jack Reacher. It was a surprisingly clever film with a lot of attitude, and it introduced audiences to a likeable, mysterious character. The film didn’t do very well at the box office (domestically), coming out in the middle of the Christmas season among your usual host of dumb comedies and awards fodder. Thanks to a better showing in the worldwide market, a sequel was ordered, resulting in this week’s release of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

Tom Cruise returns in the title role; a former U.S. Army major and military police investigator who roams the world, searching for opportunities to deliver justice. The story begins in a small town where Reacher is bringing a crooked sheriff to justice, on a tip from Major Turner (Cobie Smulders) the commander of his old unit in Washington D.C. He decides to pay Turner a visit, but when he gets there, he discovers that she has been arrested and charged with espionage. Reacher also discovers that he’s been tagged as the father of a teen girl named Samantha (Danika Yarosh), the product of tryst of the past. Despite doubts that he is really the girl’s father, he checks up on her, as a sinister group of private security contractors follows him. The bad guys also plan to kill Tuner in her jail cell.

Reacher springs into action, rescuing Turner and the girl just ahead of the bad guys. The trio takes off to New Orleans, where they hope to unravel the evil plot involving illegal arms sales to warlords in Afghanistan. Reacher must defeat “the hunter” (Patrick Heusinger) a former special operations soldier assigned to kill him.

One of the things I liked about the first Jack Reacher film was its tendency to buck formulaic trends and spy movie clichés. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back does not live up to the quality of its predecessor. There’s little mystery, intrigue or salient dialogue in this sequel. It’s a movie that seems doomed to follow a worn out formula you’d expect in a later installment in the series. Never Go Back ends up as “just another” tough guy spy thriller, without many thrills.

Even so, if you enjoy a “tough guy” movie in which your hero beats up and kills a lot of bad guys, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is just the right ticket. You may not remember anything about the story or characters, but you get all mindless violence you crave.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Trailer