After a four year wait, Tom Cruise returns to the role of ex-military vigilante Jack Reacher in the sequel film “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.”
While I was excited for this sequel after being surprised by the depth of the first film — “Never Go Back” sadly reverts to tired cliches and loses the charm of the original.
“Jack Reacher” released in 2012 and became one of the biggest shockers of the year for me. What I thought was going to be a jaded Tom Cruise action film actually turned out to be a fun-yet-somewhat-stylish thriller.
In contrast, in “Never Go Back” Reacher discovers a military officer has been relieved of duty and accused of espionage. Convinced of her innocence, the two search for who framed the officer and discover a sinister conspiracy.
If that plot sounded familiar, that’s because the story in “Never Go Back” in meaningless. While interesting at first, the plot quickly becomes convoluted and boring, leaving the action and script to pick up the pieces.
These elements seem strong during the film’s opening scene, but it soon becomes apparent the sequel is lacking in both action and writing. Cruise is still a good fit for the role, but he has fewer moments to intimidate bad guys with witty dialogue, or get into impressive, well shot fights.
These scenes still make appearances, but they’re hampered by the weak additions of Cobie Smulders as the female officer and a teenage girl who may or may not be Reacher’s daughter.
Smulders provides entertaining action scenes, but the teenager only adds unnecessary running time and serves as a poor device to artificially develop Reacher’s character. She’s not even an interesting foil for Reacher, instead spouting off “cute” dialogue which quickly becomes unbearable.
Unfortunately, scenes involving dialogue between these poorly developed characters take up a majority of “Never Go Back,” which indicates a low-budget, low-effort venture on the filmmakers behalf.
The way the film is shot is generally lackluster — interchangeable with any Jason Statham flick in the past decade. “Never Go Back” loses the dark focus on realism depicted in the first Reacher film, and only serves to further prove how little anyone cared about the making of this sequel.
“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” is not only a waste of talent, a promising film franchise and theater space — it’s also a waste of time. This film is what I was afraid the original was going to be: utterly forgettable.
Rating: Not even worth a rental. Just watch the first “Jack Reacher”
Sam Goodrich, Staff Writer