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Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Movie Review: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Cast: Tom Cruise, Colbie Smulders, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh, Patrick Heusinger, Holt McCallany
Genre: Action Thriller
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $160 million

Plot: Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, he uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever

'Papa Don't Reach-er'

The first Jack Reacher, whilst it wasn't spectacular, showed what Tom Cruise could do in a Taken-style Liam Neeson role and much like with the Mission Impossible movies, they provided a way for Cruise to prove he can be a legitimate action movie star, and not just be a convincing dramatic actor, like he has shown in Top Gun, Rain Man, Jerry Maguire and Magnolia to name to but many. Jack Reacher was a moderate hit, but one that arguably rarely needed a follow-up film

The action, whilst this would have been good as late-night cable TV/straight-to-DVD fare with less famous actors and a lower budget, is not bad. It looks impressive on several occasions, yet also it is nothing I haven't seen before, but the story just wasn't compelling, nor engrossing and the characters are mainly drab with nothing personalities. The villians especially come across as rejects from a miscellaneous, low budget Steven Segal/Jean Claude Van Damme/Nicolas Cage movie. 

There is an unusual subplot where Jack's daughter appears out of nowhere, but it is never made abundantly clear the reasons and the context of how, when and why it happened. The film involves Jack, the daughter and Jack's female accomplice, The Major (The Avengers' Colbie Smulders, who does well by kicking ass here), who are on the run from the bad guys and it becomes a chase movie where the heroes avoid capture from the villains; it's just the way this idea is handled that lacks variety and elaborate stunts: elements which were present in Mission Impossible 1 and 2. There is rarely anything new or interesting that Never Go Back offers and at worse, this is a disposable feature that, as mentioned, would have been all right, had this been a direct-to-DVD or Amazon/Netflix produced feature instead. Never mind the budget and Tom Cruise himself: this has the trappings of a mid to late-2000s of a straight to DVD/TV movie action flick.

Essentially a generic action film with the usual explosions, fisticuffs and scenes on two and four wheels, Jack Reacher's efforts here, if you took away Tom Cruise and the $300 million that took to make this, never mind getting a theatrical and cinematic release, it would have been consigned straight to DVD.

Final Verdict:

With arduous slow pacing and an excessively 2 hr run-time, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is clearly not one of Tom Cruise's finest hours and is virtually vanilla and relies heavily on cliches from Mission Impossible and the first Bourne Identity

Most modern and post-2010 action films need to go back to the drawing board and find ways to make it work for its audiences and ardent fans of the genre from a theatrical and big budget perspective. Besides, really, other than the comic book action flicks that are on Hollywood's radar when it comes to action films, the genre is in need of a major shake-up or two. or three, or four.


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