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'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back' not as good as 1st installment
Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions - photo by David Clyde
THE MOVIE THEATER Tom Cruise has reprised the roll of Jack Reacher in the film "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back." This is the second film about the character Jack Reacher pulled from the novels of the same name written by Lee Child.

Cruise starred as Jack Reacher in the 2012 movie titled simply "Jack Reacher." The original "Jack Reacher" did relatively well at the box office and managed some pretty good ratings from critics and Rotten Tomatoes. However, this time around was a little bit different some things worked well, but many didn't.

Let's take a look at what went wrong and what went right:

What went wrong

Jack Reacher could have been a better Jack Reacher

While Tom Cruise picked up the roll again with no problem, there were some things that I wish we could have seen more of from his character. If you are familiar with the Reacher character from the long running crime series of books, you know Reacher is a steel nerved, middle aged, ex-military officer who now roams the country as a civilian accidentally stumbling into crimes he feels obligated to solve a' la Scooby Doo style.

The book version of Reacher has the advantage of allowing you to read his inner dialogue which gives you insight into the way he thinks and works through problems. This is Reacher's greatest strength because he comes across as a very well trained and prepared decision maker that can predict the outcome of about any situation and plan for it accordingly.

The break down between the movie version and the written version of Reacher is that we don't really know what Reacher is thinking we only see him react. Without the inner dialogue, it appears from the outside that Reacher is just making in-the-moment knee jerk decisions, resulting in a long string of lucky breaks and close calls resulting in a solved crime.

Tom Cruise just doing Tom Cruise stuff

Since the movie doesnt take the time to dig too deeply into the psyche of Reacher, the film began to feel like a another generic Tom Cruise movie about Tom Cruise trying to prove Tom Cruise isn't getting old.

There is a lot of running around, shooting and fist fighting, which is all I am starting to see Cruise for these days. He is getting older and it is starting to show a little bit. I wonder if some of these films are a way for Cruise to show he still has it. (Keep in mind, this is coming from a guy typing on a computer in his underwear as he sits on his bed at home.)

Could have used some more explosions

This movie was somewhat intellectually fast paced and kept you wondering what was going on behind this criminal plot. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for thinking about my movies, but in the end, the action was kind of average and could have used some bigger moments to counter some of the thinking we had to do to solve this crime.

What went right

Cobie Smulders

Smulders was cast as Major Turner opposite of Cruise in this film to good effect. Smulders plays a strong capable army major of the same rank as Jack Reacher, and refuses to be marginalized or treated as anything less while she fights desperately to restore her life.

This was nice to see because her character had so much more to lose than Reacher the fight was her's; he was there to help. While balancing out Reacher, Smulders also showed her softer side as she mentored the child lead in the film played by Danica Yarosh.

Unpredictable teenager

In this film, we are introduced to a 15-year-old girl (Yarosh) who may potentially be Reacher's daughter. Reacher is a hardened loner with a very effective way of using logic and common sense as weapon throw a teenager into the mix and all logic and rational thinking disappear, making Reacher's biggest strength his biggest lialbility.

It is funny to watch as Reacher is continually confounded and frustrated by the chaos of a 15-year-old girl.

The door is left open

While this was not the best Jack Reacher movie yet, it was still a fun watch, and I would be open to watching the next in the series if there were to be one. With the Jack Reacher universe being such as it is, there is always another oportunity to solve another crime.

If Cruise has the opportunity to pick up the roll again, I would be happy to watch as a fan of Reacher and the franchise.


"Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" did not break any ground, but it did continue a series that I quite enjoy. Ask me in three years what the plot to this movie was, and I probably won't be able to tell you. However, I hope that doesnt stop them from making another Jack Reacher film. Reacher is a character that a person of my age and circumstance can get behind and wish that my life could only be so exciting and mortgage free.
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