Jack Reacher: Never Go Back - Movie Review

Updated on October 22, 2016
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back | Source

When Jack Reacher hit theaters in 2012 it did okay for itself, making just under a quarter-billion dollars and winning over the majority of both critics (myself included) and audiences. Much of the box office, though, came from overseas─perhaps a testament to the fact that there are still plenty of Americans who just don’t like Tom Cruise.

Either way Paramount is eager to turn Lee Child’s Reacher books into a franchise, so we now get Cruise reprising the role in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Based on the 18th book in Child’s series, the film is as formulaic and cliché-ridden as they come, and though Cruise does a solid job in the role (which is essentially an extension of his work as Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible series), there’s precious little else that works. The script is a mess─a boring, paint-by-numbers exercise in duplicating every movie ever about a rogue cop fighting bad guys─and the characters range anywhere from silly to downright annoying.

Cruise is Reacher, an ex-military police officer who travels the country making wrongs right. When his military colleague Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) is arrested for espionage, he springs into action to, well, make the wrong right. In the process he also gets mixed up in a fifteen-year-old paternity case with a girl (Danika Yarosh) who may or may not be his daughter.

Never Go Back features every single action movie trope ever, including car chases, fist fights, shootouts, a jailbreak, tracked cell phone calls, and shady people in positions of power. Few of them, though, are even remotely realistic, making the film a veritable eye-roller from pretty much the word “go”.

The man in the director’s chair is Edward Zwick, and the resulting trainwreck makes you seriously wonder what happened to the guy who did such an admirable job with 1990’s Glory and again in 1995 with Legends of the Fall. (He also helmed the 2003 Cruise starrer The Last Samurai.) The fight scenes here are amateurish, and the film’s pace makes a stop-and-go traffic jam feel like a smooth ride on a freshly paved street. Overall it's reminiscent of a B-movie that was too lousy to even warrant straight-to-DVD status.

Cruise will emerge unscathed (for those who still enjoy his work, anyway), but that’s far from the case with virtually everyone else. Smulders seems woefully out of her league as she forces ham-fisted emotion while trying in vain to keep up with the proceedings, and Yarosh brings a whole new level of petulance to her tiresome role as a snotty teenager. And let’s not forget to mention Patrick Heusinger as the almost-laughable bad guy, complete with black trenchcoat and black leather driving gloves, because why not?

The first crack at the screenplay went to Richard Wenk, who wrote the better-than-average scripts for the recent re-do of The Magnificent Seven, along with Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer and Jason Statham’s The Mechanic. I imagine (based on that track record) that the original script was actually pretty decent, but then Zwick and his longtime colleague Marshall Herskovitz got their hands on it, and that’s the unqualified disaster that we’re left with.

It’s certainly conceivable that Never Go Back will bring about the swift and premature end to Paramount’s planned Jack Reacher franchise, and not a moment too soon. If only they’d taken the advice they were given right there in the title.

Rating

1/5 stars

'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back' trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      I was all set to see this. On Demand might be a better option. I'm actually a real Tom Cruise. Think he's very underrated. But I get why folks don't like him. Thx. Sharing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)