‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’

Review By Wafiur Rahman
Thursday, October 27th, 2016


Lee Child’s best-selling novel uninspiring in recent sequel


Unlike Daniel Craig or even Matt Damon, people really do not perceive Tom Cruise to be that old, given how fluid and agile he plays his part as, say, Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible series at his age. But when you put him at a role which deftly plays upon his real age, you witnessed a crafty Jack Reacher a few years back, directed by Christopher McQuarrie.


And Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is the kind of film he should be able to pull off in his sleep. But this time, it’s almost as if several of his yes men actually said that to him, and the invincible immortal Tom Cruise, thetan-free and with the power of Xenu rushing to his head/heart, took a breath, and thought to himself ‘I can do that’.


The problem with Reacher 2: Reach Higher is not that it’s a terrible film – it isn’t – but it seems like a classic case of lost in translation.  Director Chris McQuarrie stripped Child’s plot down to its bare essentials, creating a sleek, toned down French Connection-esque action movie with some of the most memorable sequences Tom Cruise has ever been lucky enough to be a part of (That car chase was hands down one of the best of the decade).


The story opens as Reacher has rather sweetly fallen for Lt Susan Turner, just through talking to her on the phone. She is played by Cobie Smulders (who plays Agent Maria Hill in the Avengers films). But when Jack shows up in Washington DC for their blind date, he is informed that Lt Turner has been arrested for espionage.


Clearly she is the victim of a shady cover-up from corrupt top brass, and Reacher’s quietly furious demands to know what’s going on are undermined when the army claims he is the subject of a paternity case, and that he is the dad of a stroppy teen, Samantha (Danika Yarosh). Reacher is wrongly accused of murder by the crooked authorities, and in time-honoured style goes on the run, taking his quasi-spouse and daughter, while blowing the lid off a terrible conspiracy.


This could have been a rewarding approach, if it were balanced with great action and clever plot twists but Zwick (who directed Cruise on The Last Samurai) over-saturates the movie with tangled storylines and underwhelming revelations – bogging down Reacher’s investigation with bland confrontations and cumbersome storytelling hurdles that prevent Never Go Back from building to a satisfying climax (in either emotion or plot).


Verdict – Lee Child’s crime drama novel reads better than depicted on the big screen, you can give this one a miss unless you want to see a timeless Tom Cruise.

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