Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Jack Reacher: Never Go Back</strong> (2016)

(Netflix Streaming, March 2018) What annoys me about Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is that the series of novels upon which the films are based, Lee Child’s “Reacher” cycle, is special. They’re above-average thrillers in which the true shape of the plot is often hidden from view until late in the story. Reacher is an extraordinary character, and Child has honed his writing ability to deliver exactly what a modern adventure series should provide. Sit down with a Reacher book, and you’ll be guaranteed (at one or two exceptions) a solid entertainment experience well above the norm for the genre. Alas, the film adaptation, and particularly this second instalment, has been the definition of average … if not even below average. Plus, as has been endlessly rehashed, Tom Cruise is all wrong for the part. If the first Jack Reacher film managed to be a decent thriller, Never Go Back starts off promisingly, but then becomes less and less interesting until it becomes a bog-standard arms-dealing film, executed limply. It’s actually hard to care for most of what’s happening in the second half of the film given that it feels like so many other similar movies. Cruise is bland in the role, and saddling the story with a potential-paternity subplot does little to humanize the character or give him a personal stake. All told, Never Go Back is a dud—and it should pretty much ensure that a so-so series remains dead for the foreseeable future. That’s not exactly bad news for Reacher fans—at least the books are still coming out every year.

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