Despite its lackluster performance at the box office, there was always hope that there would be a sequel to 2012’s “Jack Reacher”. The movie, which was adapted from the Lee Child novel “One Shot”, received mixed reviews from critics, but remains well-accepted by fans and the public.
Thus, it came as no surprise when it was announced that a 2nd movie was in the works.
“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” is based on the 2013 best-selling novel of the same name, and Tom Cruise reprises his role as Jack Reacher, a former Major in the United States Army Military Police Corps who roams the US taking up odd jobs and investigating suspicious and frequently dangerous situations.
After getting to know Army Major Susan Turner (played by Cobie Smulders), whom he reported to frequently through phone calls while on his adventures, Reacher goes back to the headquarters of his old military unit in search for her. However, he soon finds out that she has been arrested for treason. Believing that she has been wrongly imprisoned, the ex-major will stop at nothing to prove her innocence and to uncover the truth behind a massive government conspiracy involving soldiers who are being killed.
The movie started off on a fast pace and it did not waste too much time introducing the characters or story line. We particularly liked the beginning, which set the mood for the whole movie. Plot development was shown in a few necessary scenes without being too long-winded, and frankly speaking, it was well done and impressed us so much. Sadly, the remainder of the movie wasn’t as impressive.
As in the books and the 1st movie, Reacher remains a tough and cold guy, but this time, he finds out that one of his ex-flings has filed a paternity suit against him and that he actually has a 15-year-old daughter, Samantha Dayton (as played by Danika Yarosh). While it might seem like a good idea to give the man some emotions and show the audience a softer side of him, we just couldn’t feel the chemistry between Reacher and Dayton.
Yes, we do see the interactions between them; we witness some supposedly touching moments and we see the dynamics change between them. We see them, but we don’t feel it. Their relationship and connection doesn’t feel solid enough – it might be the acting, or the lack of emotions; but something felt missing.
That’s not to say that Yarosh was a bad actress. In fact, she was anything but. Although she was the whiny and rebellious teen (which sometimes annoyed us to an extreme extent), her scenes contained some of the most touching elements in the movie. We won’t mention any spoilers but her performance gets better towards the end of the movie. Her love for art and the turmoil in her head, we could almost feel it. But to be brutally honest, the movie could have done without this character and none of us would be any the wiser.
Another character whom we really liked was Turner. Oh man, how could anyone not love the bad-ass fly-kicking major? She might be the best thing that came out of the movie, and her character stood out amongst other comical and contrived characters. As someone who climbed up the ranks through the military, Smulders’ character is one who doesn’t take shit from anyone. Not even Reacher, who tried to used her gender against her (which later turned out to be his inability to articulate his thoughts and emotions).
She was exceptional, and perhaps if the movie’s main focus was on the relationship between Reacher and Turner, it would be much more enjoyable. We didn’t even need romance, as the chemistry between the pair was fun to watch. The dynamic between them was just right as they complemented each other rather having than the female depending on the male.
It was also fun to watch Reacher flail as a father while Turner excelled at being a friend to Dayton.
As for the plot, there was nothing exceptional and every scene and sequence were fairly predictable. The final plot twist (was it supposed to be a surprise?) was so forced that we saw it coming a mile away. But yes, we understand, you’re not supposed to watch action movies for the story line.
All in all, we would say “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” fairs as a very average movie. There were nothing special that made it stand out from other action thriller films. We wouldn’t watch it again and if you asked us, we would recommend watching only if there’s nothing else in the cinemas.
We’ll leave you now with the trailer:
“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” was released in Malaysian cinemas on 20th October.