Speaking as someone who actually really enjoyed the first Jack Reacher film, it pains me to say that its sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (never go back to where? The cinema to see this thing again?) is a big disappointment, not just because I like the first one, but because it has Tom Cruise as the star and Edward Zwick as the director, it should at least be competent, but no; life is cruel. Very quickly, let’s get into what I did think was ok about Once You Go Jack, You Never Go Back (har-har), Tom Cruise is a likeable lead, the guy may be crazy but he’s always bringing his charisma with him and this is no exception, and the fight scenes are ok, nothing really ground breaking or original and the camera does get a little too close at inappropriate moments but there is, at least, a sense of pain.
There have been quite a few action films like A Good Day To Die Hard and Quantum Of Solace that lack pain in their actions scenes, oh sure, when bullets go flying, they land in peoples bodies and when fists are thrown, they connect with faces, but, unless the blows kill them, everyone just gets up right away and walks them off like nothing happened. Neither Jack Reacher films behave this way, their fight scenes really bring the pain and misery, and the survivors struggle to walk afterwards, this is something I am very grateful for as not all that many action films remember to do this; so what’s wrong with the film? Everything else.
The cinematography is boring and bland, the dialogue is terrible, the story is generic, the pacing is absolutely lethal, the villains are cack and the chase scenes are laughable, whenever our heroes are running to or from something, it’s really awkward and clunky and doesn’t flow very well at all; it’s like something out of a Dan Brown adaptation. The storyline has ex military police Major Jack Reacher finding out that a friend of his is being accused of a crime she did not commit, then something similar happens to him, so they must run and jump and shoot their way to the truth to clear themselves of wrong doing, bumping into a girl who may or may not be Reacher’s illegitimate daughter.
This is a story that should provide action, thrills and chills like there’s no tomorrow but no, this is a painfully boring and unoriginal piece that would much rather have its characters chit chat about rubbish than actually do or say anything of note, I wouldn’t mind a preference for dialogue rather than action if the dialogue was any good but it isn’t, it’s agonizing – “I don’t have to answer to the likes of you”, “you kidnapped me, kidnapping’s a federal crime”, who talks like that? REALLY? This girl who’s supposed to be Reacher’s daughter is one of the most annoying things ever put to celluloid, they’re being chased by assassins right? What does she do? She uses an easily traceable phone for no reason, or how about a credit card that the pursuers manage to trace and come straight to the hiding place – so stupid!
It’s already a problem that I found the film to be boring, but the daughter and the dialogue succeed in making it unwatchable, maybe the generic attitude it has wouldn’t be so bad if only the action was great and while it’s ok, there’s barely enough to even call it dumb fun because there is no fun, just dumb, stupid/bland dialogue, bad pacing, stupid characters and a generic story, put them all together and you get a sentence of negative words… and also Jack Reach for the Exit and never go back. It’s just a dull and televisual load of meh that clearly no one really cared all that much for as they were making it, maybe it works as a book, I couldn’t say, haven’t read it, may do some day, but for now – no, this was not a good film I’m sorry to say, nothing but rambling nonsense from start to finish, couldn’t recite the plot to save my life but I suppose the boring-ness does have the potential to motivate you to do something interesting with your life; if only to make SOMETHING happen.