I’ve always been a huge fan of Tom Cruise. He’s extremely charismatic and he always gives his 100% percent in every film and he always does his own stunts. I’ve also really liked the first Jack Reacher, so naturally I was excited to see the sequel. I should have taken the title as a warning. Jack Reacher Never Go Back is one of the worst theater experiences I’ve had all year and one of the most disappointing movies I’ve seen in a long time.
The movie follows Reacher who is framed for a crime and goes on the run with an army major (Cobie Smulders) who also needs to clear her name all the while he learns out that he might have a daughter and both set out to find her.
I’ll start with the positives. Tom Cruise gives it is all in this film. He’s great in the action scenes and he’s fantastic as Jack Reacher once again. He owns this character and he did the opposite of what Bruce Willis did in Die Hard 5 where we just saw Bruce Willis in the role and not John McLane. Tom Cruise fully commits to the role and he is by far the best part of this movie. Also the first fifteen minutes are actually pretty good and they don’t suck like the rest of this movie does.
Cobie Smulders was fine. We know that she’s a terrific actress. She’s great in How I Met Your Mother and in The Avengers as Maria Hill, but here she’s okay. She doesn’t have any chemistry with Tom Cruise and I don’t blame her, I blame the script, which is just atrocious. The story goes all over the place and it’s extremely boring. The pacing is really weird and some of the lines are just really awful. One of the characters actually says to someone “I won’t answer to the likes of you!” No one talked like real human beings in this movie. The dialogue was horrible and the banter between Cobie Smulders and Tom Cruise just fell flat. Which brings me to my biggest problem with the film. Samantha, who might be Reacher’s daughter, was by far the second most annoying character of the entire year after the candy bar girl from The Purge 3. She kept making dumb decisions that brought them close to danger and you’re just left thinking that they should dump her off a building. She has no purpose in this film other than the fact that she might be Jack Reacher’s daughter. Her character is so weak that she bogs the entire movie down every time she speaks. She texts on her phone even though Jack tells her not too. She even orders food at the hotel on a stolen credit card. Danika Yarosh might be a good actress since this is the only film I’ve seen her in. But here, her acting and line delivery is just absolutely terrible. There seemed to have been a complete lack of communication between the actors and director in this film.
Edward Zwick, who I normally like, blandly directs this film. The action scenes are completely forgettable and boring and none of them have any weight to them. The first Jack Reacher had amazing action sequences. The opening scene when the sniper chooses his targets, the awesome car chase in the middle, none of that is present here. Christopher McQuarrie did a fantastic job directing the first one and while I understand that he’s now directing Mission Impossible 6, he would have been a better fit for this film hands down. The villain is also laughably bad. He’s not menacing at all and he’s so over the top it’s impossible to buy into his performance. Jay Courtney in the first Jack Reacher was at least interesting. This villain is just awful.
Overall, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a boring, bland and poorly written action film that has awful characters, forgettable action scenes, simply making it a pale shadow of it’s predecessor.