Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Review

Run Reacher Run: Tom Cruise runs so hard you can't accuse him of not giving you a run for your money

Published: 21st October 2016 05:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd October 2016 06:48 PM   |  A+A-

jack-reacher-screenshot

A screengrab from the movie Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

When he breaks out of an Army prison, Tom Cruise runs.

When thugs of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities stalk him menacingly, Tom Cruise runs.

When an ex-marine who's more killing machine than man (he's called The Hunter btw) is after him, Tom Cruise runs.

When he's ditching a stolen car to sprint across the DC Memorial's gardens toward a cab, Tom Cruise....well, you get the drift, don't you?

He runs and runs and runs....and before you know it, Jack Reacher: Don't Look Back is almost at the end of its runtime. 

In fact, they run with practiced military ease and so very often that I began to wonder if they'd get Usain Bolt to do like a guest sprinting appearance. Maybe even flash a smile or two for the cameras.

The second installment in the Jack Reacher franchise, based on Lee Childs' bestselling fictional character, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a bittersweet cocktail in a lot of ways. The running scenes, the brutally badass fistfights and that wry wit and swagger that only Tom Cruise can pull off are back in full measure, so that's a definite thumbs up. The sparking of a paternal instinct inside our otherwise lone-wolf investigator, Jack Reacher, and the long silences and sentimental connection with a blonde teen who he thinks may be his daughter, are all excruciatingly slow.

Picking up where Jack Reacher (2012) leaves off, the wandering ex-Army investigator is picking off no-gooders across American with the help of Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders as a peppy, feministic Army woman far removed from her How I Met Your Mother Days). Until she's arrested for treason, broken out of jail by Reacher and framed by a weapons dealer who's smuggling opium and has sent all the goons west of the Atlantic to kill Reacher and Co.   

It's great to see Tom Cruise back on screen, playing a normal human being, without super-spy gadgets or fighting aliens, after what seems like ages. And he seems at home in this reasonably racy action thriller. He aces the action scenes, beating up goons with practiced ease, adding little quips here and there so that we can laugh on cue. Regardless of whether you think lines like, "You followed me in here. That was a mistake," are orgasm-inducing or just plain ridiculous. Either way, it works.

It's also great that they've let him look his age, keeping the make-up to a mandatory minimum. Unlike that horror show Knight and Day where they smoothed his skin out so much that he looked like a plasticine version of Jerry Maguire. Not for Jack Reacher. He's got lines, creases, scars and that familiar furrow. 

And so, as they try to find the men who have framed them and are (typically) enemies of Uncle Sam, Cruise and Smulders, along with a teen who is being hunted because they think she's his undiscovered love-child, go on the run. 

And they run and run and run and run. In between Cruise does some fighting, lots of emoting and quite a bit of wise-cracking. As a good old-fashioned bare-knuckle action movie, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back works wonders, but trying to make a dating daddy out of him wasn't such a hot idea. Even Tom Cruise can't run away from that.

Movie: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Director: Edward Zwick

Cast: Tom Cruise, Aldis Hodge, Cobie Smulders

Rating: (3.5/5 stars)

Verdict: Pacy and entertaining when Tom Cruise is bruising and cruising, the daddy bits are a real downer 


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