Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Movie Review

jack-reacher-2-competitionticketsI must admit that I was a bit apprehensive about watching Jack Reacher: Never Go Back without first watching the original movie, which came out in 2012. I didn’t see the first one, but not for the lack of trying. Its been on my TBW pile for the longest time and the backlog simply got ahead of me. Good news, the sequel stands well enough as an individual movie and was good enough to process all by its lonesome.

Ex-major Jack Reacher returns to deal with the case of Major Susan Tanner (Cobie Smulders), a friend who is facing charges for the murders of two soldiers under her command in Afghanistan. The officer is charged with selling secrets but Reacher is having none of it and proceeds to get in the middle of a conspiracy that endangers the life of Tanner as well as a 15 year old girl Sam (Danica Yarosh) who is believed to be Reacher’s child. In the course of his investigation, Tanner and Reacher go up against a powerful weapons contractor who will stop at nothing to protect his business.

Even though I didn’t see the first movie, I had no trouble following the story and understanding Jack Reacher’s background. I liked the fact that he wasn’t a superhuman type of hero, but just a regular former military guy who uses his intelligence and his skills to see that justice is served.

What I particularly liked about this Jack Reacher episode (which is based on Lee Child’s book series) is that it equally balances out the action with the more emotional aspects of the story.

jack-reacher-never-go-back-7-1200x879I love Tom Cruise’s chemistry with his co stars, in particular how he squabbles with Tanner, a strong woman and officer of the military police —  like an old married couple, especially with the way they handle being saddled with a stubborn albeit resourceful 15 year old.

I like the rapport between Cruise and Yarosh and the easy and natural way Yarosh portrayed her role. She was very likeable, even though she didn’t always listen to her elders, unlike some other teen actors who are really irritating when they play such a role.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Left to right: Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher and Cobie Smulders plays Turner in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

I was impressed by Tom Cruise doing his own stunts for Mission Impossible but there is something to be said for his level of cardio and the way he sprints effortlessly for his age (54). He is more fit than I am and I am two decades younger. I am awed by his commitment to his fitness.

I also liked the main villain of the piece, played by Patrick Heusinger. He had a cool vibe about him that held a subtle menace. He was efficient and methodical and proved to be a good foil for Jack Reacher. Kudos to the action scenes, most especially those that involved hand to hand combat. Great stunt coordination right there.

All in all, Jack Reacher was a great sequel and an awesome standalone movie. He’s like McGyver without the science, but he more than makes up for it with the great cardio. A wonderfully entertaining movie that engages the mind and the senses with just the right amount of stimuli. Thumbs up across the board.