Ah, Jack Reacher. That beloved film franchise that Tom Cruise is most famous for. Oh no, wait, that’s Mission Impossible isn’t it? This is awkward. Were there not any other brooding men available when execs were looking for Mr. Reacher? Everyone knows you can only be the head of one action franchise, Tom. Weird casting aside, Cruise pops up out of hiding to do what he does best – stare blankly, punch a few bad guys and say convoluted sentences about government conspiracies and dodgy trade deals. Needless to say, if that’s what you’re looking for, then this film will certainly satisfy you. Especially if you’re looking for average action sequences on a lower level to Mission Impossible and less memorable characters.
Whilst Never Go Back may be oddly prophetic, this particular adventure sees Reacher team up with Cobie Smulders’ Major Susan Turner who is being framed for murder and is in serious danger. Also along for the meandering ride is sassy teenager Samantha (Danika Yarosh), who Reacher suspects of being his daughter, although this is unconfirmed. As it stands, Smulders and Yarosh inject some well-needed fun into this partially lifeless franchise, with Smulders providing relatable strength as a woman in a man’s military, whilst Yarosh switches between slick-talking con-artist and rebellious teenager effortlessly.
Unfortunately this is not enough to save Jack Reacher 2 from being an overly cheesy, mind-numbingly formulaic affair which can barely pass for sub-standard movie fare. There’s explosions, chase sequences and plenty of people looking meaningfully at each other, but there’s nothing here to really leave you in awe. Whilst it may be simplistic, you could possibly gain some enjoyment from it if you’re not expecting much.
Ultimately, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back digs its own grave by refusing to budge from suffocating action movie constraints that will have you wishing you could just black out and make it all go away.