Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016) – Film Review

jack reacher: never go back film review

Director: Edward Zwick
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh

Certificate: 15

by Roger Crow

When Tom Cruise helped adapt the thriller One Shot in 2012 as the film Jack Reacher, not everybody had heard of Lee Child’s lone gun for hire. Five years on and it’s a different story. Reacher is now an established hero, and as fans of the first film will know, he’s not a man to take any prisoners.

Tom might not be the perfect Reacher, coming in way under the novel character’s height, but he has an intensity that makes the films work. Re-teaming with The Last Samurai director Ed Zwick, Cruise once more wisely teams up with a young, attractive heroine, in this case Cobie Smulders as Major Susan Turner. Obviously as Cruise is now in his 50s, he cleverly lets younger, intelligent actresses do a lot of the hard work and physical stunts. It’s what helped make the last ‘Mission Impossible’ film one of the most enjoyable so far, and Smulders does a terrific job here.

When Turner is arrested, Reacher smells a rat, breaks her out of military prison, and they go on the run. Thrown into the mix is Danika Yarosh as Samantha Dayton, a blonde teenage girl who Jack may or may not have family connections with. After a terrific opening in which it looks like Reacher is going to be arrested in a diner having taken down several men in a fist fight, he sets out his stall for newcomers by bringing corrupt policeman to justice.

jack reacher never go back film review fight

“As streamlined as a Bugatti Veyron”

Once he and Turner go on the run, the scene is set for much of the rest of the film: a little exposition; a lot of running; a fight; more exposition, and then a lot more running.

Child’s coffee-guzzling hero is a throwback to the 1970s, when men were men and fist fights were the norm without a lot of character development. Having explored that aspect of Reacher’s character in the 2012 original, here we get a proto-family as our hero gets a girlfriend of sorts and the adoptive daughter character spend a lot of time pinching money, busting heads, and trying to find enough essential information to get them to the next scene.

Aside from Cruise and Smulders, Zwick wisely casts a bunch of relative unknowns. All great vehicles go from A-to-B with maximum efficiency with a minimum of baggage, and this movie is no exception. It’s as streamlined as a Bugatti Veyron.

Will it change your life? Definitely not, but if you’re in the mood to get away from your troubles for a couple of hours, then it does the job perfectly.


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