Possible Spoilers ahead!
The first “Jack Reacher” movie snuck up on me. I didn’t expect much from the 2012 movie, but it turned out to be rather entertaining. I’ve watched it multiple times over the years, and have come to appreciate the movie even more. When the sequel “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” was announced, I was as giddy as a five year old. But the sequel bombed so badly at the box office, that it left theaters before I had a chance to see it. But that changed this past weekend.
“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” kicks-off the night Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) disbands a human trafficking operation. That was the night he first talked to Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) – a successor in Reacher’s former Virginia-based military unit, the 110th MP.
Over time and over several phone calls, the pair form a close (and at times flirtatious) working relationship. Turner becomes Reacher’s biggest ally, offering support and local MP resources as Reacher drifts from one place to the next. Meantime, the two new friends decide to meet in person next time Reacher is in Virginia.
But when that day finally arrives, Reacher finds out that Turner has been relieved of her command and charged with espionage. Unwilling to accept that Turner would turn her back on the MP Corps and her country, Reacher sets out to clear her name by protecting her from a dangerous military organization lead by a ruthless operative known only as “The Hunter” (Patrick Heusinger). In the process, teenager Samantha Dayton (Danika Yarosh), who Reacher believes could be his daughter, is pulled into the lethal conflict.
Unlike the first movie, which I felt was more of a drama/thriller with some action sprinkled in, “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” is a flat-out action movie. I dare say there is more action in the first half hour of Never Go Back, than in all of the 2012 movie. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but the story is not be as strong as it was in the first movie. However there’s a number of solid action set pieces, and great one liners in the sequel that should keep you entertained.
When it comes to the cast, If you liked Tom Cruise in the first movie, you will like him here. I actually liked him better in Never Go Back, probably because Reacher acts like a human in this movie. He was a little too cold in the first movie, but maybe that’s how he is in the books.
For me the best part of Never Go Back was Cobie Smulders as Major Susan Turner. I never felt like Smulders was “acting” as an army Major, she WAS an army Major. Through her we understand the challenges of being a capable woman serving as a female commander in the U.S. military, something even Jack Reacher had time adjusting to.
But at the end of the day, I was extremely glad to see Cobie Smulders got to do more stuff in this movie than she has in any of her appearances as Maria Hill in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The world of Jack Reacher gave the actress several hard-hitting combat sequences, and some of the best one liners in the movie.
To many, “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” will be nothing more than a soulless sequel, a cash grab by a greedy movie studio. I can understand why some people would feel like that, because the story isn’t as sharp this time. But I still have disagree with those who say Never Go Back is one of the worst movies of all time, because it’s not.
“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” has more fun moments than the original film, and this time we learn more about Jack’s background. He even grows as a character over the course of the movie. And best of all, we finally got to see Cobie Smulders kick some ass. I’m not saying this movie is perfect, but it was surprisingly fun.
“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” final score: B