Blu-ray Review: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

When Jack Reacher came out in 2012 it was a fresh of breath air in the Tom Cruise action film canon because it was everything a Cruise action film generally isn’t. Reacher was an interesting character, and wildly established in literary canon, and Cruise was decidedly different than his normal sort of character. Reacher was an interesting film in a decade that has been interesting for him as an actor so far. It didn’t have a massive box office domestically, with a sequel spurred on by worldwide grosses, but it was an interesting change in the hallmarks of a Cruise action film. He wasn’t this marathon running man of action who did daredevil stunts and always has a clever one liner behind that billion-dollar smile.

Reacher is a thinking man who acts in brutal, violent ways with the occasional quip and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of interesting things like Yankees second basemen.

It’s why Never Go Back, the sequel to Jack Reacher, was such a disappointing film. All the interesting things about the original disappeared en masses as the Tom Cruise action star persona slowly has leaked into this film as well. Based on the novel by Lee Child in his Jack Reacher series, we find Reacher back on the road. He’s struck up a telephone friendship with an Army major (Colbie Smulders) and decides to go pay her a visit. All that begins well doesn’t end well, of course, as Reacher winds up with his next big case: save the girl from a conspiracy.

The film is a solid action film and if it was any other character you could throw it in the pile of Cruise action films like Knight and Day that are good but not amazing action films that all tend to follow the same sort of clichés, plot devices and Cruise running montages. The problem is that this is a bad mix of Jack Reacher, this interesting and decidedly non-Cruise character, with the sort of typical Tom Cruise action film that it feels off.

There’s plenty of Reacher running; he gets at least a 5k in by the film’s halfway mark.

It’s such a departure from the first film in style and substance that it feels designed to try and be a typical Cruise film, and make this Cruise’s secondary franchise after Mission: Impossible, as opposed to something wildly different like Jack Reacher was. That film was more cerebral and had so many interesting moments that Cruise rarely has in one film. Jack Reacher was an action thriller that saved its big moments for when they mattered.

This film is more popcorn thriller, saving big moments for when they come in the formula..

Basic EPK pieces and nothing of note.

Paramount presents Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Directed by Edward Zwick. Written by Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz based on the novel of the same name by Lee Child. Starring Tom Cruise, Colbie Smulders. Run Time: 118 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on: 1.31.17

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