Sunday, 23 October 2016

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Making a new franchise can be a difficult thing, especially when you announce plans to make one. Normally a movie does well and then you capitalise by making a sequel. If that does well, you try again. Before you know it, franchise. However, when you announce it in the first place, there are a lot more expectations when other movies come along. Going into this one, my expectations were high, considering how good the first one was.

Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is drifting from job to job, given to him by Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). Despite Turner only being a voice at the end of the phone, Reacher bonds with her and tells her that he'll get her dinner when he's next in Washington DC. Only once he gets there, he discovers Turner has been arrested for espionage. Blocking his way in finding the truth is Colonel Morgan (Holt McCallany) who sends a mysterious ex-special forces soldier (Patrick Heusinger) to hunt him down. But Reacher also has to deal with Samantha (Danika Yarosh), a teenager who may or may not be his daughter.

The thing this movie does well with is action. The pace of the film is relentless. It moves from one set piece to the other quite well and there are quite a few of them. The final fight between Tom Cruise and Patrick Heusinger is executed well and is quite tense, despite the fact that we know Tom can't be beaten. Add the fact that he always does his own stunts makes it all the more impressive. His chemistry with Danika Yarosh is also worth noting. I've never seen Tom Cruise act in a paternal way (I won't count War of the Worlds because he was a bad dad). He carries it off really well and by the end I was hoping that Sam might actually be his daughter.

The big thing where this movie fell down was its confusing storyline. I know it's an action movie and that story is only used sparingly, but this one felt like they were making things up as they went along. Soldiers being shot changed to weapons being sold changed to drugs being smuggled, there didn't seem to be a coherent through line in the story. It seemed like whatever they needed it to be, they changed it to. I also want to comment on the lack of star power in the film. This one has Tom Cruise and Cobie Smulders and that's it. While the other actors are fantastic at what they do, it was a surprise in the last one to see a high calibre of actors in supporting roles. You had Jai Courtney, David Oyelow and Werner Herzog, all big names who could carry something on there own, but they also elevated that first movie. Beyond Robert Knepper, I didn't recognise anyone in this movie.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was supposed to be a sequel to launch a franchise, but now after two movies I feel like they've reached the limits of what the character can do. We get that he's a drifter who doesn't drive, going from adventure to adventure, but they just seem repetitive on the screen. Tom Cruise should stick to Mission: Impossible from now on. Then again, I wasn't a fan of Mission: Impossible II.

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