Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a curious thing. On paper, it seems a recipe for success; a bonafide Hollywood superstar in the lead role as a character from a best-selling book series, with a more-than-capable director behind the lens. So it’s even more disappointing that this film squanders its talent with run-of-the-mill action, cheesy one-liners and an underwhelming plot.
The sequel to 2012’s enjoyable Jack Reacher film, Never Go Back once again finds the “ex-Major” taking the law into his own hands. When a high-ranking military officer (Cobie Smulders) is arrested under mysterious circumstances, Reacher (Tom Cruise) goes on a mission to uncover a conspiracy which reaches deep into the US military.
At the same time he is confronting his own past as he connects with a girl who may or may not be his daughter, and he seeks the truth behind their relationship.
Cruise is, of course, in his element here. His angsty action hero charisma is in full-force delivering Reacher’s cheesy one-liners while brutally breaking bones. But therein lies the problem; as he is so well known for these type of roles, this one comes off as completely forgettable and oftentimes over the top.
Smulders doesn’t fare much better. Her tough-gal Major ends up playing second fiddle to Reacher, and although her character is certainly shown to be more than capable when bullets fly, she is not particularly likeable, and the hint of will-they-or-won’t romance amounts to nothing.
The action set pieces, while suitably Reacher-esque in their violence, feel completely void of originality. One of the main sequences takes place during a Halloween street parade, and ends with a chase on a rooftop – feeling shockingly similar to the opening scene of the latest Bond film.
All this adds up to a film which is likely acceptable for die-hard fans of the series, but is neither memorable nor particularly entertaining for the rest of us – especially action movie aficionados who will feel like they’ve seen this all before.
If this is the best they’ve got, one can’t help but feel the studio should take a cue from the title; Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is screening now in Australian cinemas