Not quite enough bang for your box office buck.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
PG-13 | 118 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
Review - Matt Mungle

*In theaters October 21st 2016 *

Synopsis: Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.

Review: There are many who have not adjusted to Tom Cruise taking on the persona of the hulking Jack Reacher of the Lee Child Novels. But in the first film of the franchise we found that if you overlook the character as someone brand new the movie is actually a decent watch. Sadly in JACK REACHER NEVER GO BACK you have to overlook even more.

The film starts off as the book does with Reacher (Tom Cruise) pulling into DC in order to meet up with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) who he has been having a long distance friendship with via the telephone. When he arrives he finds she has been arrested for espionage. Of course it is up to old Jack to get to the bottom of the whole thing and crack some bad guy skulls in the process.

This one packs enough punches to satisfy the die-hard action fans. Cruise takes on the quiet tough guy demeanor convincingly. Again you have to stop thinking about the guy in the novels for it to work; but it can. He is a no nonsense ex-military cop who with the street smarts to see through all the red tape and glaring loopholes. Smulders is an excellent choice for Turner. She carries herself with confidence and isn't going to back down to any guy. Her natural beauty has a toughness about it that doesn't conflict with her military surroundings. If there is one thing in this movie you don't have to overlook it is her.

The issue with this one is that it forgot what made the first film so enjoyable. The original script had twists and turns and never strayed from the point of the story; let Reacher be Reacher. This one has ridiculous villains, an unnecessary 15 year old, and a script that meandered back and forth with predictable scenarios and eye rolling dialogue. Unless this was meant for a Nickelodeon re-airing much of it was inexcusable.

The character of Sam (Danika Yarosh) was so out of place and forced that it nearly topples the entire film. This is no reflection on Yarosh. She actually does a solid job with what she is given. Sam is a teenage girl with a rough past who gets caught up in this mess. Instead of getting rid of her early on the writers let her hang around for the entire ride. This means they have to give Sam something to do and most of what they write for her is sophomoric drivel mired in predictability. The scenes with Sam in them have a totally different feel from the rest of the film. The fans want a Jack Reacher movie not a daddy day care flick.

Truth be told Reacher needed more to do as well. He almost feels secondary in this outing. Sort of a bystander looking on at what is happening around him. Sure he makes some decisions and roughs people up but other than that he simply looks confused. The best part of the entire movie is the opening scene which is also most of the trailer. It is him in the diner facing off against two local cops. That scene has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the movie but is the stand out moment.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements. It is obviously a film for older viewers and 16 and up is a safe gauge. If you go in with lower expectations than the first film you might find it "ok". It has a fair amount of fist-a-cuffs so not a horrible option for a dudes night out. I give it 2.75 out of 5 salt shakers. Not quite enough bang for your box office buck.

 Matt Mungle

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