Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

Director: Edward Zwick
Writers: Richard Wenk (screenplay),  Edward Zwick (screenplay)
Stars: Tom Cruise,  Cobie Smulders,  Aldis Hodge

Plot:  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.

Running time: 1 hour 58 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 37%    Audience  42%

Why I watched it: The first Jack Reacher film was fine, wanted to see where they would go with the character in the second one.

Random thoughts: It’s hard getting a new franchise going, the second one is very important cause you have to keep the momentum going, building a franchise off a character from a book who have to do two things, either have him developed as a character and put him in interesting plots or have him build as a character as he goes through these stories.  These two films rest on Tom Cruise’s shoulders, they live or die with him.

What I liked: Like him or not Tom Cruise is a movie star, his charisma and charm carry him and he’s a good actor not great but he plays the “Tom Cruise” role better than anyone.  He’s a likable actor.  This is not a great film or even a good film but one thing about Cruise is I’ve never seen him sleep walk through a film, he’s committed to every role he takes and I respect that.  To be fair there’s not a lot to like about this movie but the opening scene set in a diner is very cool and very well filmed and done if only the film continued like that.  The other acting is fine for the most part no one stands out, safe to say Cruise is the best part of the film.

What I didn’t like:  This film has all the problems of a star vehicle, Cruise is good but the film suffers cause nothing is as good as him and also for the film to be really good than it would be less in Cruise’s wheelhouse. After the first scene this is a boring and really boring action film.  To be fair this film is a conspiracy theory film but the plot and the conspiracy starts off as really dense and complicated then ends up stupid.  What hurts the film is that Jack Reacher is on the run with a Major played by Colbie Smulders and a teenage girl who may or may not be his daughter.

All of that is forced, they bicker they fight and none of it means anything.  It not only hurts the film but also the Reacher character cause he’s not a bad ass action guy he’s just another action guy, what makes Jack Reacher special, the fact he yells and argues with two female characters who don’t listen to him and don’t respect him, Reacher saves Smulders life a couple of times and she stays by the fact that she didn’t want or need his help.  The film doesn’t know what it wants to be, are we trying to give Reacher a make shift family and if so for what reason.

Let me say this about this girl being Reacher’s daughter, he says at the beginning he never had a daughter that he didn’t know and hadn’t meet the mother so there’s no tension there, it’s a plot point it’s something for Reacher to do and also we know the only reason the character is there is so the bad guys will try and kill her and yes use her against Reacher.  Everything in the film is under written, no character is fleshed out no arc, no motivation is giving or earned for that matter.  The bad guys are a joke, the main hitman played by Patrick Heusinger, in a real bad performance, is just a psycho, he seems to be working for this evil company just to randomly kill people, heck when he should be helping his bosses he’s trying to kill Reacher’s maybe daughter, oh why you ask, cause he wants Reacher to feel real pain.

Why, he doesn’t even know Reacher they have no backstory.  Also they keep Reacher a fugitiveand being on the run by doing the old cliche of every time Reacher talks to someone the bad guy kills them and blames it on Reacher.  This gets kind of laughable, let me get this straight, he broke himself and someone else out of a military prison and is an elite solider but he doesn’t think of putting on gloves when he kills someone.  The other main problem this film has is it’s way toooooo long, man this is tough to sit through.

Final Thoughts: Sadly this is just a badly made film, the story is weak and really nothing clicks here, this film just feels off.  The character is probably done now as this didn’t do well but it’s too bad cause I think Jack Reacher had a really good movie in him but we just haven’t seen it.

Rating: 3/10

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