“It’s time to stop running and start hunting.”
This sequel to the 2012 film Jack Reacher brings Tom Cruise back into the lead role based on the Lee child novel series with writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects/Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation) regulated to producing duties in this installment.
Director Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai) steers the helm among a sea filled with military-related crimes and conspiracies then launches into fugitive scenarios and visceral survival situations. Filmmakers present other emotional elements beyond the familiar good character getting the bad ones who commit endless atrocities to innocent and guilty parties.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is mainly a crowd pleaser that could have concentrated more on cerebral elements, like displaying quicker character problem solving, but the job still gets done and has a friendlier tone compared to the first installment.
Tom Cruise commands the acting, stunt work, and fighting along with a formidable partner, Cobie Smulders (The Avengers, TV’s How I Met Your Mother) who plays Army Major Susan Turner the subject of a conspiracy/set-up that brings her once highly respected reputation tumbling down.
Filmmakers provide some necessary background and rapport during the opening credit sequence that builds their relationship to a credible status. It also helps that they are characters with high military ranks, so the audience automatically assumes their competence and fighting potential.
Written by Richard Wenk (The Equalizer), Marshall Herskovitz (Traffic) and Zwick, the plot stays true to Reacher’s character in this relationship’s infancy with specific associations and reasons why he contacts Turner.
Soon Jacks dealing with more military issues than expected from new characters he encounters like Espin, well played by Aldis Hodge (TV’s Leverage) whose role gradually expands throughout the plot.
Danika Yarosh plays Samantha in a very key role while Patrick Heusinger plays the antagonistic Hunter.
Cinematographer Oliver Wood (Ben-Hur, the first three Bourne films) nails down the look and the musical score by Henry Jackman (Captain Phillips) keeps the pulse pumping.
Zwick’s smooth direction works well in the action sequences, but does not contain many enhancing shots or innovative views.
It’s great this film does not hammer the audience with relentless running. Jack gets a chance to take pause in his life constantly in the company of other characters, especially when the plot moves to New Orleans. The violence is not gratuitous and audiences see how confidence, trust and support in others yields strong results in the end.
This 118-minute film gets a solid recommendation (*** out of four stars) and is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler