If “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” wasn’t headlined by Tom Cruise and didn’t have a $60 million budget, it would be your average VOD action flick.
The first “Reacher” had enough memorable brass knuckle fight scenes and throwback fun to be worthy of its emerging cult status. The fact that it earned that status makes the personality-devoid sequel a damn shame.
Cruise, an A-lister who no doubt chooses his projects carefully, was once a layered actor. He solidified his star status through surprising and thought-provoking performances in fare like “Collateral” and “Jerry Maguire.”
Now, in his 50s, Cruise seems to have little interest beyond playing the stoic, hero type. He’s the reluctant hero who is always the toughest and smartest guy in the room. The trouble with such roles is we’ve seen them oh, so many times before.
Plus, we know Cruise can do better.
As a character, Reacher is boring. Sure, he’s been sustained through 20-something books, but that likely has more to do with Lee Child’s writing than anything else. On the big screen, Reacher is just another generic tough guy with eye-rolling one liners who takes himself far too seriously.
It’s an issue with the film, too. Thrillers this convoluted should firmly place their tongue in their cheek, or at least have some self awareness, but “Reacher” plays out every scene like we haven’t seen it before.
News flash: We have.
FAST FACT: “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” made $22 million less at the box office than its 2012 predecessor.
There’s a possible teenage offspring previously unknown to our character, a romantic interest, and a conspiracy even the actors seem to be confused about as they spout off expository dialogue.
Everything about “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” is average. It’s an expensive example of sanitized Hollywood action content that just happens to have wasted talent everywhere you look.
“Jack Reacher” could have turned into a an interesting franchise, but it’s surely dead in the water now. The only place you’ll find Reacher and his adventures for the next few years will be the pages of Lee Child’s book.
Speaking of Child’s source material, there is one selling point for the “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (BD/DVD/Digital HD Combo) [Blu-ray]” that may convince “Reacher” fans to drop some cash on the film.
Child has provided an original illustrated Jack Reacher short story for the home video release. The film itself isn’t worth owning. Considering the loyalty of Child’s longstanding fans, the short story itself may be enough reason to buy this home video release.