The first Jack Reacher movie was another action movie with Tom Cruise at the helm proving to everyone that at age 50, he’s more extreme than you will ever be in your life. At this point, I believe Cruise just accepts movie roles to satisfy his unquenchable thirst for adrenaline. If he can’t drive recklessly, hang from a moving plane, or climb a rock 500 feet in the air with no safety net then it simply isn’t worth the paycheck. If only Robert Downey Jr. or Jennifer Lawrence put in this much effort in their performances.
Our movie begins at a diner somewhere in Texas, Jack Reacher has already beaten the crap outta four random dudes before the film began and is subject to arrest. Turns out the ass whipping was just a way to draw out a corrupt ranger involved in human trafficking and arrest him instead. I figure if they had enough evidence to make a military arrest that they simply could have arrested him off-screen and saved those guys the hospital bills but how else would you know what a badass Jack Reacher is? Jack returns to DC to discover his friend has been arrested and charged with treason. As Jack tries to investigate why she was arrested, he finds himself under arrest for the murder of her lawyer who he spoke with a day earlier…oh BTW, Jack has a daughter now too (allegedly).
The movie flows very much by the numbers. We have our hero, our hero falls into a massive corruption scheme, the hero has to stop the bad guy, the hero is overpowered, an annoying character close to the hero is in danger, the hero must save this cannon fodder, the hero beats the villain, end scene. Jack Reacher 2 doesn’t do anything to separate itself from action films of the past because it’s a very basic action movie. What makes this more disappointing is that there are no major stunts to add an awe factor for the audience. The story is pretty weak for a film that focuses more on the plot than its stunts. Cobie Smulders is in the film as Susan Turner, the kinda-sorta love interest of Jack. Jack and Susan spend the majority of their time running from the military police for crimes against the United States. However, you couldn’t tell that because they spend most of their time hiding in plain sight in the middle of Washington D.C. like they aren’t the most wanted people in town. Tagging along is 15 year old Samantha (Danika Yarosh) who is only in this movie for the sake of having someone to save in the third act. She’s a typical annoying teenager who will surely have you rooting for the bad guy by the end of the movie.
The thing with Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is it’s not terrible, just predictable and unoriginal. The films are based on the popular book series under the same title but I can’t imagine a simple by the numbers action story like this getting a mainstream movie deal based on a story this cookie cutter. The script feels like an outlet of how to do a proper action thriller but the writer decided to not add any ideas to make it exciting. Opting to play it safe hurts the overall product and makes this look like a simple cash grab. Cruise and Smulders are good enough to make this watchable but they are just not good enough to overcome the overwhelming feeling of generic attached to this sequel.
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