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Cruise on Autopilot in Flat ‘Jack Reacher’ Sequel

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.

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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.

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4 Comments

  1. Have to disagree here. While not as good as the first one, this is still a very good movie. For disappointment from Tom Cruise, its hard to bear Collateral. There was a file that squandered acting and premise to just drone on and on…

  2. You are spot on. I liked the first one and will watch every time it comes on TV, but this one was flat. Even the love interest was flat. I don’t know why it was. I wasn’t disappointed so much as I did not leave with feeling satisfied.

  3. Just a comment on casting. I like Tom Cruise as an actor but he does not match up well with the literary Jack Reacher. Literary Jack is a big guy, NFL linebacker size. He is also ridiculously, yet pragmatically brilliant. Cruise is a little guy. Hollywood can make anyone look ridiculously, even pragmatically brilliant, even those who are really not so smart (Ashley Judd, Matt Damon, Samuel L. Jackson, feel free to complete the list) but even Hollywood is limited in its ability to make a little guy like Cruise look NFL linebacker size. The whole Cruise as movie Reacher does not work for me at all.

  4. If this movie is a disappointment, I think that has more to do with the screenwriters than the character, the book it is based on is quite good imho. To call Reacher a boring character . . . I’m assuming the reviewer here finds Jason Bourne just as boring too. And if Cruise is sleepwalking through the role, well that’s on him as well — it is not the source material’s fault. I agree that Cruise, physically, did not fit the role as many have said, but they made it work in the first movie. Bummer if this movie doesn’t work, I had just finished this book when it was announced it would be the next installment in the series. Oh well . . .

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