Director: Edward Zwick
As I couldn’t really recall much about the first Jack Reacher movie I had to return to Flixster to see exactly what I thought of it. As I couldn’t remember anything to begin with, it was no surprise that my words then reflected an average movie hoping for better should there be a follow-up, and here we are, in much the same place as we were before.
The trailer for Never Go Back almost gives you the opening five minutes of the actual film. Reacher (Cruise) takes down a crooked Sheriff and then looks to make his way to DC to check in with the never met before Major Turner (Smulders) who he has been having something of a telephone relationship with as part of his escapades as a civilian. Upon his arrival he finds Turner has been arrested for espionage and despite her request not to, naturally, Reacher investigates.
At the outset of investigations, Reacher is informed he is an absent Father to a fifteen year old, Sam (Yarosh). At first Reacher does not believe this but doubt does enter his mind as the film unfolds. I’d have to say that I would be praying she wasn’t my daughter as Yarosh is the most annoying character there could be, a typical example of the annoying teenager with issues. This should come as no surprise given her performances in the ill-fated Heroes Reborn series.
It’s a little unclear as to how the plot is set up. Reacher breaks out Turner and they set about clearing her name and, after her replacement is murdered apparently to authorities by Reacher, he too becomes a fugitive. Two officers are murdered in Afghanistan and Turner is implicated. As it moves on the movie will loosely reveal that the real story is about arms deals by US officials led by another Heroes and Prison Break player, Robert Knepper. Desperate for their deals to remain unnoticed they put Turner in the frame for the murders.
I’d hoped for something a bit grittier from this movie but it left me bored at times. For the way the Jack Reacher character has been built up I expected Cruise to be in meaner moods but it gets so embarrassing at times that it leans towards comedy. It even descends into a battle of the sexes between Reacher and his two female counter parts. If he was as much the hard-nosed loner character he was meant to be, rightly or wrongly, he wouldn’t have stood for it and got on with doing things his way.
In terms of action there’s very little to speak of, the odd fire fight and a fairly brutal combat sequence between Reacher and “The Hunter” (Heusinger) at the film’s climax but not much more of any real note to write about. The Hunter was one redeeming feature of the movie, if Reacher has taken that attitude we’d have had a good scrap on our hands. Couple that with the fact the Knepper is worthy of so much more screen time and dialogue but gets very little, it all feels a little empty. Much like the first film, it just doesn’t deliver a punch.
Verdict: 2 Stars – Ethan Hunt left after the first five minutes.