This movie ruined my day.
I remember liking the first Jack Reacher, which also starred Tom Cruise, but I can see no reason that a sequel was necessary. The first, adapted and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation), had a recognizable cast and a decent enough premise. This one, the sequel, keeps only Cruise, recycling the other elements in a lame attempt at a franchise.
Based on the 18th entry in a never-ending thriller series by Lee Child, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is about Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders, How I Met Your Mother) being accused of espionage. Reacher, convinced of her innocence, is drawn into the quest to prove it, all while protecting a young girl he believes may be his daughter. I have every reason to believe this adaptation is faithful to the novel, and I can only imagine it works better on the page.
The problem is I haven’t been this bored in a film all year. All the pieces add up, all the twists make a fair amount of sense, but I simply didn’t care. Each actor gives a committed and fine performance, and the production value is mostly impressive, but this is an adaptation of an airport procedural: there’s nothing under the surface except a promise for Jack Reacher to live another day. The villain is never really a threat, and people make some really convenient mistakes.
In fact, I’m not even inclined to discuss the brighter parts of this film, as buying a ticket might convince the studio to make another one. I don’t want you to see this movie.
The important people never get killed, or even hurt beyond repair. So, what’s the point? On a long flight, this might be worth it, but I feel like I wasted my afternoon. The shots fired do not raise the stakes—they just make enough noise for you to forget there were never any stakes at all.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is in theaters now.
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