Review: ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ is a Formulaic Action Thriller

In one of his earliest novels when Lee Child describes Jack Reacher’s character, as readers we get a sense of detachment as well are in awe for the Phantom-esque character. An ex-military man, with a decorated career decides to hang up his boots, starts living off the military pension and goes off the grid only to show up whenever he wants to and usually that’s when somebody’s in big trouble. His sense of justice is unparalleled and in more than one ways, is unidimensional as he tends to take the moral high ground, while sorting out the good ones from bad ones. Couple of years ago, when Tom Cruise came up with ‘Jack Reacher’, the film adaptation of the novel ‘One Shot’, critics took notice of it, rather unkindly. Neither Cruise matched the specifics of the character nor he looked the part. But it had a strong story on paper and while it didn’t set the cash registers ringing, it somehow vindicated Cruise for his belief in the script. Unfortunately the sequel suffers as a monotonous script, sticking to a formulaic treatment and at times, looks similar to a Steven Seagal starrer.

Jack Reacher comes to town to meet one of his associates in the army, with whom he had collaborated earlier for a case. When he gets the news that she has been arrested for her involvement in the murder of two soldiers in Afghanistan who she sent out for an investigation, he believes that she has been framed. He also finds out that he might be a father to a sixteen year old girl, of which he knows nothing. Soon he breaks out his associate from prison and escape along with the girl as he believes the mysterious Para Corp are behind everything. Rest of the story forms as how Jack brings them to justice.

There’s very little error of margin to play, when you’re a superstar and the film runs on your image. While Jack Reacher is a strong character and Tom Cruise plays it earnestly, it’s the lazy writing that undoes his good work. Cobie Smulders as Major Susan Turner plays it smart and often comes out to be the strongest of the characters. There is a sequence where Jack and Susan are forced to play parents to a sixteen year old, while they are in hiding at a hotel room and they have a small tiff on who’s going to step out for the investigation and who’s going to babysit. Nifty scenes like these along with couple of nicely choreographed action sequences are highlights of this film. On the downside, there are plenty. There has been a number of movies where Govt. sponsored terrorism or conspiracies have been effectively explored. While the plot is threadbare, the concept of being on the run while there’s an assassin on the heels is becoming increasingly dated. It’s like you can almost anticipate their next move on screen and when it happens, the movie becomes a gigantic yawn fest.

Wait till it comes on DVD. You won’t miss out on anything.

Rating: 2/5