Review: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back by Farheen Jawaid

The post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly on the 12th of November 2016. Copy of the published version is at the end of the post.

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Jack (Or Tom): Run Man Run, Just Not Alone This Time

By Farheen Jawaid

Stars - Mag 3.5Jack Reacher (2012), the prequel to Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, was one of those movies that was okay in most parts, rose to something better by the time the end credits rolled, and when it came on TV elevated to a solid four-star entertainer.

Why you ask? Jack Reacher has an old done-right Hollywood action-thriller feel to it. It is a creeping feeling that warms up with time. Its story was generic, but the actors and the execution made it intricate, maybe even sophisticated. Like an onion with its layers – even if there is nothing new at the core, it’s a delight to see something with depth (the film, not the onion).

Adapted for screen from Lee Child’s novels, Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is still the same old guy, just a few more years older. He is an ex-military major without a home address, middle name, luggage or car, wandering America and righting wrongs. In all aspects, he is a real life filmi super hero with mastery in hand to hand and weapon skills, and uses the power of deduction to help him with detective work – a layman’s Batman or a socially integrated Rambo. This time it’s more personal for Reacher. Major Susan Turner (a very convincing, Cobie Smulders), who helps him whenever she can with her position at military police D.C., and with whom he maintains a flirtatious correspondence, is implicated in espionage.

Jack uses his sleuthing to prove Turner’s innocence but ends up with a feisty shoplifting fifteen-year-old Samantha Dayton (Danika Yarosh), who, naturally, becomes a target as well. So for the rest of the movie, Jack solves the case while tagging along with two female Jack Reachers in tow – Turner is his female army equivalent with skills, while Samantha has his street smarts.

Edward Zwick, the director, like the intelligent filmmaker he is, leaves the camera more on the actors than trying to make a scene from too many coverage shots. This brings a depth of emotion from the actors and creates an alluring pull. Granted there isn’t much scope to their performance, but to a skilled eye there is more than what they portray besides the clenched jaws and the intense jogs. And just for that, it’s a blessing to have an actioner with people who have personalities to them.

Tom Cruise at the age of 50 something, still knows how to carry a film like a star – a breed is dying and will be greatly missed. However, he never misses a beat shifting from an emotionally stinted guy who can’t cross his ethical line to an action hero scowl, to an endearing father-figure. The actor in him still works hard pulling off all of the character’s different tones.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, like it sequel has the same charisma and charm, and believe you me, I might be saying that it is good now, but I have a feeling in the future I’ll be saying its worth four stars in the future.

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