I had heard a lot of negatives surrounding the new sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back from critics that I respect, so I approached this movie with low expectations. I didn’t love the original Jack Reacher film, meaning I didn’t have that to fall back on either.
And yet, I didn’t hate this movie.
Of course, it’s not a very good movie either.
The film brings us back into the world of Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), a former military man (a major) who was now doing freelance work here and there. He has become friendly with a contact in the military, Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). He is so taken with Turner that Reacher plans a trip to Washington, D.C. to take her out for a dinner. When he arrives there, however, he discovered that Turner had been arrested for espionage.
At that point, a series of weird plot points begin happening, which lead to Reacher breaking Turner out of jail and the pair of them heading out on the run. They had to determine who was behind the framing of Turner, and finding enough proof for anyone to believe them.
Add to this, the subplot of a 15-year old girl Samantha (Danika Yarosh) who might be Reacher’s daughter, whom he did not know he had.
Poor Danika Yarosh is cast in this film as Jack Reacher’s version of Kim Bauer from 24. If you don’t know anything about Kim Bauer from the classic Kiefer Sutherland series, she was one of the most annoying characters on the canvas because she was constantly doing stupid things that put herself or others around her into danger. This is what Samantha was here to do as well, as there was no other reason for her inclusion in the story.
The plot was pretty formulaic and predictable, but there are many action films that are. The villains were not memorable at all, with Patrick Heusinger’s The Hunter being little more than a one-note villain. I also got confused, because it seemed as if he initially was nothing more than a hired henchman, but he wound up killing his “boss” for no reason but for a plot contrivance. Plus, there were many extra villains who would turn up where Jack Reacher was so they could have an action scene. It was like the last Fast and the Furious movie with Jason Statham appearing wherever the Fast crew was just so they could fight. It’s lazy writing.
Having said all of this, there are some good action scenes in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (which is a title that makes absolutely no sense to the story. It feels like it was a title that they used out of one of those name generator things) and I did enjoy Cobie Smulders here. It goes to show you that Maria Hill could do more in the Marvel Cinematic Universe if the higher ups choose for her to do it.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was not a good movie, but I did not hate it. I even considered giving it a fresh review, but the more I think back, the less justification I can have for it. Still, if you want to see a dumb action movie, you could do worse than this film.