Screened Out – Jack Reacher: Never Look Back

By : Stephen Miller
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Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh

Jack Reacher 2 is sort of lifeless, silly, uneven, and rote; one wonders why Hollywood felt the need to waste their time. Don’t waste yours, too. Because even streaming services offer better. I almost want to call this Never Look

It mean, we have enough espionage operative characters, both good and bad: Jason Bourne, Statham’s Transporter, Liam Neeson’s Taken, that awful Accountant… In fact, Cruise already has the funny and fun Ethan Hunt from the Mission Impossible films. The Reacher franchise tamps down his crazed charisma (possibly the only thing working for Cruise these days).

Cruise and the other actors try to make it work. However, they’re hemmed in with oppressively tedious stuff.

Director Edward Zwick cowrote this blah script; maybe he should stick with directing.

Director Edward Zwick cowrote Reacher’s blah script; maybe he should stick with directing.

Cruise is the title character, an ex-military policeman, and now a frigid loner. Hence, he meanders around with his toothbrush righting wrongs, and stuff.

Sure, we witness a lot of fisticuffs and martial arts. Blood. Some blood.

Comparatively, the first flick had a couple surprises. Werner Herzog as the villain was the best part. Finally, the action was motivated by character, as Reacher solved a global mystery.

None of that is here. No one will be surprised. The villains are dull. Because of this, the entertainment value dives uncomfortably low.

After a pointless first fistfight, we get into the actual story. It seems Susan Turner (Smulders) has Cruise’s old job. So, now they gab on the phone all the time! (The plot makes about this much sense). Then someone frames Susan for espionage, and Reacher has to break her out of military prison, solve the mystery, and fix her problems. Stuff like that…replete with plot holes…

Also, someone frames Reacher for a murder he didn’t commit 16 years ago. Think these things might be connected?

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As if this isn’t hokey enough, then Cruise meets his possible daughter (Yarosh). So, the only way they can imagine to raise the stakes is to add cliches.

Then, the movie even spoils what surprises it could’ve had. We know it’s shady contractor stuff way before Reacher does.

Finally, the comparison to Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is natural. Hunt is charismatic; in contrast, Reacher is steely and broody. Hunt has a sense of humor; Reacher is as serious as a rectal exam. Hunt’s films are fun; Reacher is also about as fun as a rectal exam.

And honestly, maybe I’m not the best reviewer for these films. It seems many people love the special effects and scuffles. Personally, I want these flicks to be motivated by more: dimensional personalities and complicated plots. Reacher’s audience only wants car chases and fights and blood and stuff.

Ratings Key

See it now! Buy the DVD! Quote lines at parties!

Definitely worth the price of admission

It’s useful as a distraction

Maybe if someone else pays and you need a nap

Slightly worse than eternal damnation

However, here’s what I’d say to action flick fans. (Because likely, some will pay to see this no matter what I say.) Put this film next to Damon’s third Bourne film. Even put this next to Cruise’s Mission Impossible franchise, even the worst of them. There’s no comparison. Other stories sail with cleverness with great energy; this stuff just sinks.

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