Jack Reacher Will ‘Never Go Back’ To The Dating Scene (Movie Review)

Jack Reacher Never Go BackJack Reacher is one of those films I had to go back and revisit to not only freshen up going into the premiere of Jack Reacher Never Go Back, but make sure I liked it too.  I honestly could not remember as I hadn’t seen the first film since 2013 when I reviewed the Blu-ray here.  Fret not!  Despite only having three action scenes to write home about I enjoyed it quite a lot.  I get so confused with the Mission Impossible films that I had to distance myself from them to get into the whole psyche of who the character of Jack Reacher really is.  I’m all good now and ready to tackle the second entry in the Jack Reacher film franchise made possible only because the first flick grossed $200 million worldwide.  That’s not a whole lot of money, but Paramount felt comfortable in it nonetheless so who am I to argue.

Jack Reacher Never Go Back is a sequel to the 2012 film, but you really don’t need to have seen the first one prior.  Coincidentally its based upon the 2013 Jack Reacher novel, Never Go Back.  It’s directed by Edward Zwick and co-written with Richard Wenk and Marshall Herskovitz.  In addition to the never aging vampire, Tom Cruise, Never Go Back stars Cobie Smulders, Patrick Heusinger, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh and Holt McCallany.  I got to admit, I’m sad that Rosamund Pike is not in this one for at least continuity sake.  For some reason I really liked her in the first flick.

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Jack Reacher Never Go Back is set four years since the events of the first film.  Jack Reacher has been busy since we last hung out with him in 2012.  He’s been working with Major Susan Turner (Smulders), who is now head of his old military unit, on solving cases across the country.  So here he comes to meet with her (with what I believe to be construed as romantic interests) only to find out she has been accused of espionage and arrested.  Needless to say Jack springs back to full blown investigator mode like only he can.  He believes she’s innocent, but the military law doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Jack.  Agree to disagree?   Nah!  He smells a conspiracy, a major military one.  Despite Susan’s initial objections to him doing so it’s up to Jack to go on the offense and bring the curtains down in typical Jack Reacher fashion.  Now we’re talking!

Jack Reacher Never Go Back is a unique one.  It does not play it safe and merely copy the investigative puzzle piece work of the first film.  Instead its pretty much a linear narrative for our hero, albeit a personal one too.  For me it was a thrilling one because I love this character, but I could see many being bored as the story moves at snail pace at times and is a bloated one for its own simplistic good.  Even though those are legit complaints I still sat in my seat riveted by what insane fight scene could come next.  If there’s one thing to love above all else in the Jack Reacher films, it’s the raw, brutal fight sequences.  Jack’s blows are quick, effective and with the exception of the final fight never really too insane keeping you secure in your suspension of disbelief.  Best of all his execution is lethal and not watered down.  That’s what I love the most about this franchise.  They don’t shy away from the “Finish Them” moment.

One thing that struck me odd in the first Jack Reacher film is the character’s sexuality.  It’s unorthodox in screenplays to not have that romantic love interest for your main protagonist.  Basically its storytelling 101 in my opinion.  Hence that’s my only problem with the character of Jack Reacher.  What’s his sexual preference?  He seems to be a hit the way the ladies throw themselves at him, but does not reciprocate at all, not even in a playful or teasing way.  Isn’t that odd to you?  It is for me.  That’s why the character of Major Susan Turner is so important to me here.  For the first time Jack seems to have romantic interest in a female…or does he?  It makes you wonder though not that there’s anything wrong with it.  Ha ha.

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So since we’re on the subject of Cobie Smulders let’s chat about her real quick.  I’ve only ever seen her as Maria Hill in the Marvel superhero films and I got to be honest with you.  It’s nice to see Jack have a pal.  Instead of being out there kicking arse solo he has a partner in crime who’s every bit as good in the combat department as he and looks better doing it too (because of the laws of attraction of course).  I can see people complaining about this though as this shows a lot of vulnerabilities in the hard a$$ character that Jack Reacher is supposed to be.  He seems conflicted and not rational thinking at times.  That’s because he has women problems and it’s not just Major Turner either, it’s because there’s another new/competing “female” now involved in his macho, drifter lifestyle.  That’s all I will say on that subject.  I just wanted to expand upon how enjoyable the banter was in the relationship between Jack and Susan.  It’s like they’re married, but without the physical connection.  I’m confusing you, huh?  That’s my intention!

So like the first film this one’s very story driven, albeit with a generic and been done before kind of formula.  The difference that separates this one from the last one are the action sequences, which are far more numerous than the former.  They are done very visceral and well.  However, how many new ways can you do a car chase or fight scene?  That’s where the personal narrative saved it for me.  I actually liked seeing Jack Reacher have a heart and the conflict he had as a result of his caring.  There’s an emotional bond I feel with this story, albeit not a strong one, that kept me invested.  But make no mistake about it.  Jack Reacher Never Go Back is still solid muscle and action entertainment.  The familiar storyline is what bogs it down at times, but it never tries to be anything more than it is…just dumb muscle entertainment.  However, with that being said please bring on more Jack Reacher adventures, Paramount.  I can and want to go another 12 rounds with this cocky drifter.

Jack Reacher Never Go Back

Opens Everywhere 10/21!

Jack Reacher Never Go Back Poster


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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