Director: Edward Zwick
Running Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes
Soooo.....after promising to never go back, Jack Reacher goes back???
"Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" is the sequel to the 2012's sleeper hit crime thriller "Jack Reacher." Edward Zwick takes over the directorial duties for this installment. His two previous movies before taking the reigns on this franchise were "Pawn Sacrifice," which was an unexpected treat, and "Love & Other Drugs," which had good performances but was a bit of a bore. This movie is based on Lee Child's novel "Never Go Back," which is the 18th book in the Jack Reacher series.
Tom Cruise returns to reprise the titular role of Reacher, and joining him is Cobie Smulders as Major Turner, who has recently been framed for espionage. After briefly trying to figure out who her lawyer is, Reacher is approached by Col. Morgan, played by Holt McCallany, who has taken over Turner's duties and seems to have a vested interested in seeing them eliminated. After breaking Turner out of prison, they go on the run from the military police manhunt led by Captain Espin, played by Aldis Hodge, and from the hit-man trying to eliminate them, played by Patrick Heusinger. Finally, Danika Yarosh plays a plot device, oops, we mean Samantha, who may or may not be Reacher's daughter in one of the worst shoe-horned in plot points this year.
We really enjoyed the first "Jack Reacher." It was an intriguing crime thriller that kept us thoroughly engaged throughout its run time. Unfortunately, this sequel feels like a poorly slapped together action adventure with a little bit of crime sprinkled in between bad, obvious re-shoots and cheesy dialogue. It feels like a knockoff of "The Bourne Identity" with some of "The Fugitive" thrown in combined with a small dose of a James Bond film with half of the charisma and none of the gadgets. This movie is very mediocre and wholly boring. The narrative is not interesting, and the piecing together of the story often makes no sense. The characters aren't engaging and lack any chemistry this time around, even from the usually stellar Tom Cruise, who is clearly only reaching for a paycheck at this point. We can't help but think all of those years of doing his own stunts are catching up with him because he looks like he's in massive pain when he's running across lawns or hanging from rafters. The character of Samantha has almost no purpose except to act as an object Jack must protect and care about, which is really ancient if you think about it. She is basically there to play the damsel in distress, which counteracts any badassness Cobie Smulders's character Turner is supposed to have as an Army major. Samantha carries no information pertaining to the crimes that have been committed and has no details to further aid the plot's progression. She is primarily there to muck shit up and set up for a final showdown between Reacher and the hired hitman, aka generic action villain #29. Though the acting isn't downright terrible, it's not notable, either.
"Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" is a waste of a movie. We are so disappointed this film exists in its current capacity. Though it is just under two hours long, it gets so dull and tiresome at certain points that it feels much, much longer. The script is borderline dreadful. Some of the lines of dialogue caused us to snicker at their absurdity. Everything about this film, from the poorly constructed action scenes to the overly messy story, from the stupid, pointless super-soldier villain to a random, unnecessary plot device character that brings the entire thing down, this sequel is as basic and as poorly constructed as they come. Hell, there are even scenes where the camera is clearly visible on its track in the glass of a window. YIKES. Everything single aspect of this movie feels so generic, just another in a sea of hundreds of action movies with far less talent that follow the exact same beats.
My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~40%
Do we recommend this movie: No.