Mild spoilers for the 1st Jack Reacher film.
The second adaptation from Lee Child’s long running Jack Reacher book series, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is an unusual beast. It never quite makes an impact on the world of espionage cinema, but does manage to introduce new ideas by taking us into unexplored aspects of Reacher’s psyche.
Returning in the titular role of Reacher is, of course, the master of action, Tom Cruise. Having struck up a platonic relationship with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), Reacher is caught up in events beyond his control when she is accused of espionage.
Having also been framed for murder and tossed together with his potential love child, Reacher and crew must go on the run to prove their innocence.
Like the first film, Cruise more than shows his capability in playing a lone drifter trying to find his place in the world. Silent, but deadly is his forte!
I had a lot of problems with the way Rosamund Pike was presented in the first film (Seriously, was the only bra the character owned a push-up?); but the gender politics in this sequel are a vast improvement over everything the previous film did.
Smulders perfectly plays a strong woman trying to make her way in a man’s world. The film even takes time to address how unfair that she should get stuck looking after the child they have in tow just because she’s a woman.
Alas, there ends anything positive I have to say about this film because, christ, talk about falling off a cliff! The plot is borderline nonsensical, character motivation is about as clear as drunk homeless man, and the less said about the cheapest plane set in human history, the better!
Even the basic structure of the film needs to be called into question. The film has two main plot threads that constantly weave in and out with each other. Now, in the majority of films, you would expect both threads to come together at the same time in the final act. Here, however, one plot thread finishes a solid 20 minutes before the other, leaving the audience to twiddle their thumbs till the end.
While most of the problems of the film have to laid at the writer’s feet, some blame does need to be assigned to director Edward Zwick. Scenes like the brilliantly directed sniper opening from the first film are nowhere to be seen; and the actions sequences that do exist are mediocre at best.
While I’m sure Skydance Media were hoping for a brand new franchise after the failure of Terminator; it’s pretty clear they need to keep trying.