Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Review

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The original Jack Reacher was a modest success that made just enough money for Paramount to give a sequel the go-ahead. It also didn’t hurt that Tom Cruise had a huge hit in 2015 with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Compared to the last couple Mission: Impossible movies, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back isn’t one of Cruise’s best action flicks. Nevertheless, the film is still exciting, witty, and occasionally even kind of kickass. The cast and crew deliver exactly what they’re supposed to. Just don’t go in expecting any surprises.

Compared to the last couple Mission: Impossible movies, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back isn’t one of Cruise’s best action flicks. Nevertheless, the film is still exciting, witty, and occasionally even kind of kickass.

Cruise of course stars as the titular military man turned drifter/ mercenary. Although Reacher claims he’s done with the US army, he soon gets wrapped up in a government conspiracy. An old friend named Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) has been accused of committing espionage. Meanwhile, Reacher has also been accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Teaming up with Susan, our hero embarks on a mission to prove his innocence and get to the bottom of things. In other words, Tom Cruise goes rogue… again.

Much like how Ben Affleck savaged much of The Accountant, the same can be said about Cruise in this film. In the back of his head, he probably knows that the plot here is nothing new and this sequel really didn’t need to exist. Yet, that doesn’t stop him from giving a slick, charismatic performance. By no means is he stretching any acting muscles, but Cruise is obviously doing what he does best. So it’s hard not to have fun with him.

Much like how Ben Affleck savaged much of The Accountant, the same can be said about Cruise in this film.

As if Reacher didn’t have enough problems on his plate, it turns out he also might have a fifteen-year-old daughter named Samantha (Danika Yarosh). As you might expect, she’s full of teenage angst and makes a couple incredibly stupid decisions that land her in trouble. To her credit, however, he does actually help Reacher and even scores a few good one-liners. Reacher and Samantha ultimately share a likable father/daughter dynamic while Susan becomes something of a surrogate mother. That’s more than can be said about Liam Neeson’s daughter in any of the Taken movies.

If Never Go Back has a drawback, it’s that the action is never especially spectacular. That’s not to say the action is poorly executed. Director Edward Zwick clearly knows what he’s doing behind the camera and keeps the audience thoroughly entertained. Walking out of the theater, however, chances are none of the set pieces will stick with you. You often get the sense that most of the budget went towards Cruise’s paycheck, leaving only so much left for the actual production. For what the filmmakers have to work with, though, they do turn in a perfectly solid popcorn flick. It’s not anything extraordinary, but it is a step up from several of the action movies we got this past summer. As far as mid-October releases go, that ain’t half bad.

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About Nick Spake

Nick Spake has been working as an entertainment writer for the past ten years, but he's been a lover of film ever since seeing the opening sequence of The Lion King. Movies are more than just escapism to Nick, they're a crucial part of our society that shape who we are. He now serves as the Features Editor at Flickreel and author of its regular column, 'Nick Flicks'.

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