Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Director: Edward Zwick
Writer: Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz
Based on: Lee Child‘s novel Never Go Back
Sequel to: Jack Reacher
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis HodgeDanika YaroshPatrick Heusinger
Seen on: 17.11.2016

Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), former military man, now freelancer, works closely with the US government on various missions, always supported by his handler Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). But before they can actually meet in person, Reacher hears that she was arrested on espionage charges. Reacher’s own arrest doesn’t take long either, proving his suspicion that somebody tries to frame them. The only option he sees is to break himself and Turner out of prison and prove their innocence while also protecting the teenaged Samantha (Danika Yarosh) who may or may not be Reacher’s daughter as he only recently learned.

This is a clear case of “should have re-read my own review of the first film before watching the sequel”. For some reason, I had it in my head tht Jack Reacher was funny like Knight and Day was funny. But it wasn’t and I hated it – which I had forgotten. So I was willing to watch Never Go Back and was taken by surprise and disappointed by the absolute seriousness of it all. At least I didn’t completely hate it, though.

Never Go Back has two decided advantages over Jack Reacher: one, it has Aldis Hodge who is always somebody good to have in your film. And two, there are no damsels anywhere. In fact, both Susan and Samantha are hypercompetent and basically the definition of kickass which in any other context would have annoyed me as well, but in this case it was so much an improvement over what happened in the first film and also a necessary counterweight to Reacher’s hypercompetency, I’ll absolutely let it slide.

But other than that, there is really not much to recommend the film. It has very definite lengths and should have been funnier – and not just because I expected it to be. There are a few jokes that pierce through the dreariness of “HIT EVERYTHING” But they are few and far between. If there had been more, I might not have felt so bored.

But probably I wouldn’t have loved it either way – there were just too many clichés there to make the story or the characters work. It keeps the film from ever passing okay territory, as do the action scenes that are decent, but don’t really stick around.

In fact, there is very little of the film that I remember even at the time of this writing (it’s a good thing I have notes), that’s how utterly indifferent I was to it. But after my hatred for the first film, indifference is still a step up, I guess.

Summarizing: Shouldn’t have gone back. [Excuse the pun.]

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