Review: Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) returns after his underseen tenure in Jack Reacher. Never Go Back, as a sub-title, might contradict with the idea of a sequel, but it might also means something else. Meaning to say, Jack Reacher isn’t the same thing as he was in the 2012 film: the helmer, the dynamic and the pace is completely different. Yet, seriously, both underlying meanings of the sub-title are true.
Reacher comes back as a solitary man who repetitively claims himself to be an ex-Major. He fights again for justice when Major Turner (Cobie Smulders), a female major who sits in his former position, is arrested for a mysterious cause which, according to Reacher’s instinct, might lead to a conspiracy in military. Meanwhile, he also just knows that he might allegedly have a 15-year-old daughter (Danika Yarosh), and he’s eager to find her to unravel the real relationship between them. Little does he know that both threads might be intertwined as he goes deeper into his fighting for justice.
Almost nothing fancy is delivered by the plot premise and there’s where Jack Reacher: Never Go Back falls. Christopher McQuarrie’s departure from the series might smoothen the technically ferocious Mission Impossible-esque action levels to some extent; and the sub, Edward Zwick, who reunites with Cruise in aftermath of The Last Samurai plays mostly safer than his predecessor.
In fact, Never Go Back still delivers a fast-paced action and chasing sequences in a lighter way. However, some plot points do not support others in crafting a more coherent, serious conflict; instead, some are much laughable than it should be. Surprisingly enough, this sequel brings more original hilarious moments, especially when involving Danika Yarosh and Cruise’s comic arrogance. Consequently, a movie which might have been an effective action-thriller jumps short into a more popcornish, convoluted action with occasional laugh.
One of the best element Never Go Back excels is Tom Cruise himself. While Zwick is too careful, but he’s aware of criticism to Cruise’s onscreen narcissism—which also hits them on The Last Samurai—and using this setup to create an intriguing Jack Reacher. You might never know if you can count on Reacher unless he shows his might on the screen; but when he doesn’t, Zwick makes sure a tribute to Cruise’s narcissism takes the control.
At last, you might believe that everything’s okay with Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, in fact, everything really is okay, even Cruise’s narcissistic action-hero persona. Thing is, all of those fun element just don’t add up; they don’t make Never Go Back a piece of action to remember for more than a week or a month at best.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
Action, Adventure, Crime, Adaptation Directed by: Edward Zwick Written by: Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz based on a novel by Lee Child Starred by: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh Runtime: 118 mins Rated PG-13