Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

Jack Reacher left the army for the life of an off-the-grid drifter. He’s impossible to find, tough as nails, and sharp as a tack. So when he sticks his nose into an internal army investigation that might just be a cover up for something much bigger, the attempt to stop him needs some drastic measures. Like, bringing in another former army man turned renegade killer (because, yes, our ‘good guy’ very much is a killer!) and threatening the daughter Reacher never knew he had – or, does he?

Set up for murder and arrested himself, Reacher breaks Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) out of military jail, and rescues the possible-offspring. It’s not long before he realises that solving the case whilst being hunted by some ruthless baddies is the easy bit: dealing with a 15 year old and a woman just as capable as he is might be the bigger challenges!

I suspect the best way to enjoy the Jack Reacher movies is to never have read the books. I hear this one has a fair few differences from the source material – possibly improving the plot/pacing/ending – and I’m not talking just about the loss of a foot of height in the leading character. Still, I have yet to try the novels, and Tom Cruise can certainly kick ass (and run. A lot!). Whether that’s enough to differentiate this from other action movies… hmm, not so much.

So what we’re left with is a perfectly serviceable action fest. No fast cars/motorbikes for a change, just a lot of running and punching and that sort of thing. Whether that appeals or not is, of course, entirely your choice.

The addition of ‘character expanding’ elements like the stroppy teenager (not *too* irritating, but borderline!) and a female Major with a hair-trigger reaction to sexism have their pluses and minuses. The latter is one rather shoe-horned in scene, imo, although letting Smulders kick some serious butt all over the place (and not wearing a ton of makeup or skimpy clothing whilst doing so!) is its own message. As for the family angle – yeah, fair enough. It is, apparently, the reason this so-so plotline was picked for this second Reacher outing – and I think it’s safe to say there will be a third.

Released: 20th October 2016
Viewed: 21st October 2016
Running time: 118 minutes
Rated: 12A- should a movie with a man beating another man to death really get this low a rating?! o_O

My rating: 6/10 – nothing amazing, but reasonably polished for a popcorn action flick

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