Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the newest installment in Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher franchise, Never Go Back. Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing of consequence that wasn't revealed in the trailers.
Attempting to prove the innocence of an Army Major accused of espionage, our hero finds himself embroiled in a high-reaching conspiracy while facing off with a secret from his past.
As I spent quality time with my best friend the Internet this morning, I saw a fair few headlines along the lines of, "How Can the Jack Reacher Franchise be Fixed?" and I thought, "Come on, Internet, we're only on the second installment!"
At any rate, I'm not sure the thing needs a complete overhaul, but a few tweaks are definitely in order. Never Go Back is a predictable action flick where everybody does pretty much exactly what you'd expect.
That's not always a bad thing, but there were a few cases here where I really, really wished they hadn't, in particular the tried and true plot mechanism: "bratty teenager continually risks everyone's safety with foolish behavior." The kid, in general, was an annoying and pointless addition to this sequel, and, should there be more Jack Reachers, I hope she never turns up again.
On the plus side, the ass-kicking is also exactly what you'd have expected, that is, AWESOME! The movie wastes little time getting started, and features great end-to-end action with exciting chase scenes and well-choreographed fights. The backdrop of New Orleans' spectacular Halloween parade makes the climax especially fun.
Tom Cruise capably carries the lot on his shoulders, alternately heroic and funny, ever the ideal leading man. Cobie Smulders is passable in the female lead, nothing special in a nothing-special part.
The real star of the show is Patrick Heusinger, who somehow manages to be mesmerizing in a blandly typical baddie role. Despite having a true Hollywood A-Lister in the lead, Never Go Back ultimately feels very low-budget, like maybe Cruise (who has the top producer's credit) did what he could out of his own pocket, but might have benefited from a little more help.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back clocks in at 118 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language, and thematic elements." Jack Reacher: Never Go Back could be the poster child for unnecessary sequels, but it's also a pretty good time.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back gets six and a half.
Fangirl points: Holt McCallany, Aldis Hodge, and Robert Knepper, who earns senior billing but barely earns a paycheck in a total of about five minutes onscreen.
Until next time...