‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ Blu-ray Review: Vapid Action, Comfortable Cliches
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is the second installment of the Jack Reacher series based on the novels by Lee Child. In Never Go Back, Reacher (Tom Cruise) is an ex-military police officer who has developed his own brand of justice. His heightened sense of his surroundings and his endless combat skills allow him to protect himself whenever he finds danger – or more often, whenever he actively looks for it.
Never Go Back begins after Reacher has single-handedly brought down a human trafficking operation perpetrated by a local police force. After contacting his former Washington, D.C. office to tell them the good news, Reacher starts a relationship with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). They make dinner plans and Reacher hitchhikes his way to the nation’s capital.
Expecting a nice date, Reacher arrives to find that Turner has been arrested for espionage. He looks for Turner’s attorney to hear the full story and the attorney tries to convince Reacher that Turner is guilty. He also tells Reacher that a woman has filed a paternity suit against the army claiming that Reacher has a teenage daughter (Danika Yarosh) he never knew about.
In Turner’s case, Reacher sniffs out a far-flung conspiracy. Concerning his daughter, it doesn’t take much to convince him.
Reacher believes that a weapons company with a large government contract is behind Turner’s arrest but the next day, Turner’s attorney is murdered and Reacher is arrested – framed, no doubt, by the same company.
Once in prison, Reacher is able to break both himself and Turner out and they run away to find his estranged daughter. Together, the three fugitives unravel a somewhat plausible conspiracy in the post-Iraq war era – one involving an ill intentioned weapons contractor and shoddy government oversight – all while being chased down by a crazed former military man (Patrick Heusinger).
By the end of the film, Reacher, who is only a civilian, has broken numerous laws including multiple murders. But still, he maintains the respect and authority from his former military pals.
With exciting action sequences and a hint of mystery, Never Go Back, is best suited for a lazy weekend afternoon with a couple of good snacks to break the monotony of all the talking parts. It is filled to the brim with clichés but it is still enjoyable to watch if you’re looking for comfort. Cruise isn’t a revelation but he continues to make the case that he is a good action hero – not very deep but witty enough for a few one-liners.
The Blu-ray edition of Never Go Back includes a lengthy breakdown of the climax’s fight scene, a word about the process of filming in New Orleans, a discussion with Cruise about the Jack Reacher character and how they explore him further in this film, and a conversation about how the actors prepared for their roles as action heroes.