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Movie Breakdown: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

October 19, 2016


Pre-Screening Stance:

Christoper McQuarrie wrote and directed the terrific Jack Reacher.  For Never Go Back, it’s Edward Zwick pulling double duty.  He’s certainly done some good stuff (The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond), but for whatever reason I’m just not that excited about him in place of McQuarrie.  Tom Cruise will make it work though, yeah?

Post-Screening Ramble:

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a weird flick.  I won’t say that it’s terrible, but it wasn’t what I was wanting and I definitely walked out of the theater feeling disappointed.  The first entry into the series is such a fantastic murder mystery/thriller – a smart action film, if you will.  In it Reacher is practically a genius and he can physically do anything he wants, but he still has to figure out what’s happening and you get to go along for the ride.  In Never Go Back, Reacher appears to still be a great detective and capable of whatever, but writer/director Edward Zwick has no interest in having him (or the viewer) solve anything.  Nope, instead he has Reacher stand around with a squinty face on as he tries to navigate his greatest challenge yet – a strong woman and a sassy female teenager.  Gasp!  Oh my!  It’s the biggest example of “jumping the shark” that I’ve seen in a long while, and it’s so hokey that much of Never Go Back feels like a parody of the first film.  Dammit.  This should have happened in movie #5, not #2!

Unfortunately, this series went from being smart to dumb in the span of … one film.  Oof.  I don’t think you should bother, but then again, I also think that Never Go Back is more disappointing than awful, so some of you may dig it.  See the film at your own risk.

One Last Thought:

Remember how Jai Courtney was great in the first Jack Reacher film because his character didn’t really have any dialogue and he only had to look cool?  Well, the same approach should have been taken with Cobie Smulders.  She definitely looks the part, but she can’t act.  At all.  When she talks I just see this.

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Movie Breakdown: Jack Reacher

December 20, 2012


People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Christopher McQuarrie (writer of The Usual Suspects, director of The Way Of The Gun) directs Tom Cruise in a movie about a drifter who travels around and either helps you, or hits you.  The film is also based on a book by Lee Child titled One Shot.

The Reality:

As it turns out, Jack Reacher is not just two hours of Tom Cruise throwing out tough guy one-liners and then beating people up.  No, Jack Reacher is actually a rather clever film that’s more interested in solving the mystery behind a gruesome crime than it is providing you with explosions.  This, of course, isn’t to say there’s not plenty of badassery that takes place on the screen.  It’s certainly there (and you’ll be surprised how well Tom Cruise pulls it all off).  Just be sure to go in expecting to also need your brain.

The Lesson:

Jack Reacher is further proof that action movies can also be smart.

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