Jack Reacher:Never Go Back(2016) - Review
by Bryan Mero

Hopefully I'm a lot like you. I saw the first Jack Reacher movie not expecting much and got a fun, action packed and insightful movie. Now Jack is back and I was excited to see Tom Cruise back as one of my new favorite characters.

Jack is our wandering badass, catching criminals in the way only Jack can. When the police show up after a fight in a cafe, Jack traps the local Sheriff in the place until the military police can arrive and arrest him for human trafficking. He strikes up a friendship with Major Turner (Colbie Smulders), who took over his position in the military and they plan to see each other the next time he is in town. When he does show up, she's been arrested and Jack is under investigation and framed. Jack finds out that there's a paternity suit filed against him for a daughter he never knew about and she's now living in a foster home. Jack is now tasks to break out of military prison, taking Turner with him and find his possible daughter and save her too. Whew, that's a lot to do in a day.

This is not a rehash of the first Jack Reacher movie and I'm glad it's not but the differences takes away some of the best qualities of Jack in Never Go Back. Jack is so smooth and calculated in the first movie that when he does it in Never Go Back, they either don't show his action at all (I'm looking at you opening scene) or they don't explain how he got to his conclusions in the first place. There are a few light hearted moments with Samantha (Danika Yarosh) but they are too few and far between. The Samantha character was an unexpected large role in this movie and luckily it worked but it took away from Jack and Turner's interactions.

It just felt like something was missing. The movie as a whole was fine. If this was the first movie of the series, I'm sure people would be liking it much more. Jack Reacher is a complicated man with a mind. I want to know how he got that way. Not in a prequel type of way, but maybe some flashbacks or someone from his past. I haven't read the Jack Reacher books so I'm not sure how true this movie is to the storyline in the book. It felt like they were on the run so much in the movie that when they get to the final villain reveal, there really wasn't a huge 'gotcha' moment or feelings of satisfaction of the bad guy getting caught. You really don't know the bad guy. He's just some retired General who's in charge of the illegal activity.

By itself, it's a B- or C grade movie for me. Good enough to watch on Netflix or rent but no more than a matinee showing at the theater. In terms of the second movie in the series, much weaker than before. The growth of the character of Jack just isn't there. Yes, it's nice to see a more sensitive side of Jack Reacher, but that's not why we come to the theater. We come for the action and stay for the intelligent and fun story. That's where they miss the mark with Jack Reacher:No Go Back. We'll see if they make more...if they do, hopefully people won't take the second movie's advice and they will go back to see it.


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