anyone really off the grid, these days? Jack Reacher is trying his best
to find out; disconnected from all the mod cons like PCs and cell phones
and disassociating himself from inconvenient personal connections like
friends or family. Trouble is, he canít stop his better angels from
telling him what to do. In the opening sequence of Jack Reacher: Never
Go Back, our hero is enjoying a quiet cup of coffee after
single-handedly decimating a gang of border militiamen, then uses his
remaining military connections to round up the head of the immigrant
slaving ring those men attempted in vain to protect.
former officer, Reacherís disillusionment with the military isnít enough
to keep him from forming an oddly direct flirtation with Major Susan
Turner, the good egg who aids Reacherís heroic endeavours with intel and
logistical support. Propelled by basic human loneliness and Turnerís
sexy voice, Reacher hitchhikes across the country for the dinner Turner
has promised him. Unfortunately, he arrives a little too late for their
rendezvous as the soldier has been hauled off to the hoosegow on an
espionage charge. She is accused of selling secrets to enemy forces in
Afghanistan and orchestrating the murder of her own troops, none of
which makes any sense to Reacher, whose many phone conversations with
Turner cause him to side with her, sight unseen.
possible witnesses who can clear Turnerís name start popping up dead,
Reacher sniffs out a trail that leads to a private military contractor,
whose stable of extremely efficient killers will not stop until theyíve
eliminated Turner, Reacher, and anyone associated with them, including
the potential daughter Reacherís been surprised into discovering.
Promptly springing Turner from jail, the pair scoop up the endangered
kid and run all over the country seeking who framed Turner, whilst
trying to stay one step ahead of the deadly assassins.
most remarkable thing about Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is how Cruise
virtually hands the spotlight over to costar Cobie Smulders, who plays
the dedicated, wronged Major Turner, still grieving over being the one
whose command inadvertently led to the death of two of her soldiers.
There is Cruise, finally looking his 54 years; thicker round the middle
than heís ever been onscreen (Outside of Tropic Thunder, that is)
and skin softly sagging over his chiseled features. (Strangely, in
some of his growled delivery and perhaps unconscious squint, heís
starting to resemble his action ancestor, Clint Eastwood.)
Smulders, whose star rose after playing Nick Furyís right hand (and
left eye) in Marvelís The Avengers, is not only taller and younger
than Cruise, but in all of the many - many! - exhausting scenes of the
pair running at top speed away from the bad guys, sheís outpacing him.
It brought to mind the similar focus on Emily Bluntís tough heroine in
Cruiseís Edge of Tomorrow.
have one awkward scene of the tiresome, inevitable flare-up between
Turner and Reacher when she accuses him of keeping her out of danger
because sheís a woman, which is kind of supported when Smulders, last
seen hugging and comforting the endangered daughter, takes an
inexplicably long time to back up Reacher, who is busy having an
obligatory hand-to-hand showdown with the main bad guy, who takes
Reacherís efficiency at manslaughter as a personal challenge.
Actually, the rendering of all the ladies in the film, Turner, Samantha,
Reacherís resourceful maybe-spawn, and a spritely Sergeant who helps
Reacher spring Turner, is far more satisfying than nearly all the males
in the film, including the shockingly generic and unmemorable villains (I
recuse the excellent Aldis Hodge, doing his best as underwritten MP
caught in the crossfire). By filmís end, I could totally see a
spinoff series starring Smuldersí Major Turner character.
action is not necessarily wall to wall, but sufficient, and Cruise makes
sure that you can see itís him in most of the fight shots. The sparing
and rather less-than-bombastic thrills leaves us with the characters to
ponder and the comical, often-contentious banter between Reacher and
pretty much everyone he meets, is one of the movieís highlights.
Cruiseís deadpan delivery of our heroís oblivious, sometimes scathingly
blunt dialog, even when heís trying to show he cares, is a good laugh.
got great chemistry with both Smulders and young Danika Yarosh as the
unwitting trouble magnet who might or might not be Reacherís baby girl,
and scenes like his being shut out of a girlsí night in as the two
ladies bond are more amusing than the warmed-over, evil war-profiteer
committing dirty deeds in the desert plotline.
action film, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back sports the bare minimum of
athletic feats, roughneck grappling and cinematic bombast, but is still
entertaining on the big screen mainly due to the considerable charm of
Lady Miz Diva
October 20th, 2016
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