Tom Cruise returns to the role of Jack Reacher in this sequel to the 2012 thriller. As a massive Reacher fan, I had a look and here is what I thought.
When he finds out Major Susan Turner, his successor in The Military Police has been arrested and charged with espionage, Reacher gets involved. Before too long, he finds himself drafted back into the army, accused of murder and on the run, all with a paternity suit hanging over him. He and Turner must work together when they come up against a group of ruthless military contractors.
I was quite surprised that once a sequel to Jack Reacher (Christopher McQuarrie, 2012) was announced that they chose Never Go Back as the source material. The first film (Which I recently re-viewed, check it out here) was based on One Shot, widely considered to be the best of Lee Child’s series and has a cracking central story. Never Go Back however is just a bit average, so I wasn’t surprised to see a few changes from the text and they are for the most part, welcome ones.
A lot was said when Tom Cruise was cast as Reacher, the film makers saying that spirit of Reacher came from his character, not his height and they have really dialed into that here. They have turned Reacher up to 11 (sorry, it is Christopher Guest week), he is closer to the character in the books, rougher, tougher and with some great one liners that Cruise delivers with a brutish relish. This guy is a superstar, this guy is Jack Reacher.
He has some great support here too with Cobie Smulders is great foil as Major Turner. She is Reacher’s equal in so many ways and she carries the role brilliantly, her romantic relationship with Reacher only hinted at here, a change from the book that gives the on-screen Turner some much needed credibility. Another change from the book is in the fleshing out of Samantha Dayton, the teenage girl who may or may not be Reacher’s daughter. In the novel, she is in the back ground but here, she is right in the mix. It is really interesting seeing Reacher normally stand-offish loner thrust into a make shift family dynamic. Seeing him faced with problems that he can’t punch his way out of and it works a treat.
The biggest reservation I had going into this was that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book. I needn’t have worried, where the book fizzles out to a rather tame conclusion, the film ramps up to a thrilling (if a little over long) rooftop chase through the partying streets of New Orleans. The film has not lost the brutal edge of it’s predecessor and again pushes the boundaries of the 12A rating. It is a joy to watch Reacher dispatch a cadre of goons and his final battle with relentlessly villainous Hunter is satisfyingly bone crunching.
Edward Zwick, taking over from Christopher McQuarrie both behind the camera and as (co) writer keeps the action and pace brisk. It helps that his characters are on the run, but this is a chase movie that keeps the viewer and our heroes on their toes. While the central mystery might not tax Reacher’s investigative brain to much, it certain keeps him fit, Cruise hasn’t run this much since Minority Report (Steven Spielberg, 2002).
I really enjoyed this, the film does exactly what it sets out to do, thrills and entertains and while it wont live too long in the memory is a satisfying addition to the Jack Reacher canon. It felt like a good old fashioned Friday night film that you don’t see too much of these days.
With Jack Reacher being only the second character that Tom Cruise has returned to, I am hoping that we have a long running franchise on our hands, there is certainly the back catalogue to support it. Is there is enough in Never Go Back to leave the viewer hoping for a Reacher return, definitely. Now, can I request Bad Luck and Trouble next?
Thanks for reading. Hope you folks enjoyed yourselves, catch ya later on down the trail.