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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

October 20, 2016

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (**) PG-13
I’ll readily admit that I’ve never read any of author Lee Childs’ bestselling novels featuring his celebrated fictional creation Jack Reacher. Since Childs isn’t responsible for screenwriting duties on the second Jack Reacher film adaptation based on his novels, I can only hope that his storytelling skills are better than what’s found on display in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The film is filled with implausible situations galore that will tax even the most lenient viewer’s suspension of disbelief. Those less forgiving will find their eyes rolling around like so many marbles at some of the plot developments that turn up during the course of the pic.

For instance, we’re asked to believe that Reacher (Tom Cruise, doing the honors again), a military cop of the highest order, can escape from a prison in broad daylight, never missing a detail in the process, while also obtaining a set of keys and a wad of cash that could choke a horse conveniently in the process. Getting on board with that scenario may not be too much of a stretch but later on in the film, when he fails to notice a cell phone for days on end that’s been dropped into his pocket, you wonder if this is even the same character that we’ve been following for the duration of the film. Establishing character rules and then breaking them is a big no-no in screenwriting and this film violates that policy more times than I could count.

The film’s plot involves one of Reacher’s colleagues (Cobie Smulders) being accused of setting up a murder. She’s wrongfully imprisoned and Reacher must utilize all of his powers to prove her innocence.

Rosamond Pike & Tom Cruise in Never Go Back

There’s an additional subplot that has Reacher discovering that he may be father to a fifteen-year old girl that seems so old hat you’re wondering why they even bothered with it. I guess it’s a way to pad the running time to an unnecessarily longish 118 minutes.

Fans of the series of Jack Reacher books complained mostly at the casting of Cruise in the role when the first film was released back in 2012. At least that film was moderately entertaining and featured famed director Werner Herzog as the villain of the piece. Here we have bland storytelling, reheated stunt sequences (courtesy of director Edward Zwick, who is clearly ill suited for this kind of material) and a general sense of been-there done-that that permeates the whole endeavor. This Jack Reacher is a misfire of the worst kind in that it isn’t bad enough to hate but it’s poorly made enough to forget the minute you walk out of the theater. If this is any indication of where the Reacher series is heading then I’ll be happy if the next installment is jettisoned ASAP. 

This movie is playing all over the area and at the Carmike in Hickory.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.



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