mon 24/06/2024

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back | reviews, news & interviews

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Tom Cruise returns as the rootless hero, but he still hasn't found a personality

Failure to launch: Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) and Major Turner (Cobie Smulders) don't share a joke

Four years on from Tom Cruise's debut as Jack Reacher in Jack Reacher, here he is doing it again. Not a lot has changed. Cruise eerily continues not to age (does the Scientology robotics division know something we don't?), Jack Reacher is still the man from nowhere who mystically materialises when he's needed, and bad guys obligingly queue up to get their asses kicked and their noses broken.

This time Edward Zwick directs, replacing Christopher McQuarrie, but this hasn't helped to bring any life to Cruise's leading character. Nothing quite gels in his portrayal of the rootless, apparently emotionless Reacher, possibly because there's no real substance in the way it's written. He rights wrongs. He trashes villains. Then he hitches a ride into the distance.This time, the story focuses on Reacher's military past, as his mission (which he has taken upon himself to accept) involves unravelling a conspiracy centred on the army base where he used to be a Major in the military police. Having busted open a case involving some corrupt cops (pictured above) running a people-trafficking racket (as the movie opens, Reacher has already single-handedly left four goons rolling on the ground nursing their wounds), he planned to pop in and say "hi" to Major Susan Turner, with whom he'd been collaborating. However, when he arrives at the base, Major Turner has been whisked off to jail on charges of espionage. In her chair is Colonel Morgan (Holt McCallany), who rather sneerily tells Reacher that his visit has been in vain.

Reacher instinctively knows that the upstanding Major Turner (Cobie Smulders) must be innocent, and the plot starts to thicken when the army lawyer defending her, Colonel Moorcroft, is savagely beaten to death after Reacher goes to talk to him. Naturally Reacher gets the blame, but no prison can hold him, nor Major Turner for that matter. Reacher biffs the chap guarding him, nicks his uniform, and methodically springs Turner from a high-security military prison. Then the pair of them go on the run to find out what's really going on.

Though Reacher and Turner vie with each other for who can run fastest and neutralise the largest number of opponents, there's zero chemistry between them. Smulders made her name in the hit TV comedy How I Met Your Mother, but she plays Turner as a stern, unsmiling professional dedicated solely to her career and to finding out who murdered two of her agents when they were on a mission to Afghanistan. She gets to berate Reacher angrily for being a chauvinist power-freak who always has to be in control, but it's like watching a wardrobe trying to start a fight with a filing cabinet.

While they dodge an implacable assassin (Patrick Heusinger) and unpick a gun-running conspiracy in which General Harkness (Robert Knepper) seems to have a lot of gunpowder on his hands, the story gets a potential jolt of human interest when Reacher finds himself on the receiving end of a paternity suit. This claims that he's the father of flouncing, shoplifting teenager Samantha (Danika Yarosh). However, since Reacher is incapable of forming any meaningful relationships other than between his fist and somebody's jaw, this doesn't amount to much.

About the most you can say for this movie is that it's quite efficient and it lasts one hour and 58 minutes. There are quite a few other things you could be doing in that space of time. 

@SweetingAdam

Overleaf: watch the trailer for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Reacher is incapable of forming any meaningful relationships other than between his fist and somebody's jaw

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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