Liz T., here…
As I watched the latest installment in the film versions of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the irony. Never Go Back took on a new meaning. Many fans of the novels were appalled and aghast when Tom Cruise, a visual polar opposite, was cast for the lead role. The initial film was not a box office hit and many were disappointed. Watching Director Edward Zwick’s attempt at the second movie, it is apparent that mistakes in the conversion from novel to film are so extreme that, sadly, there is no going back.
Never Go Back opens on the aftermath of a brawl. Reacher sits bruised and unfazed at the counter inside a restaurant. The men who dared to mess with him are scattered outside, clearly the losers of a fight. We know that Reacher is able to more than hold his own in an argument and the scene introduces Reacher’s character… an ex army major, a drifter, and a man who is not afraid to take down corruption, regardless of the cost or risks to himself.
We know Reacher is a man of action even if we don’t see it for the vast majority of the movie, which is its fatal flaw. Fortunately, the film has an interesting premise and a great supporting cast. What happens if a loner is suddenly no longer alone? In this installment, Reacher travels to Washington, D.C., on a whim to meet a woman he’s been corresponding with during his travels…Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). When he arrives, he discovers that Major Turner is in prison awaiting trial and has left strict orders for Reacher not to contact her. And if that isn’t bad enough, Reacher is also told that he may be a father to a troubled teen daughter, Samantha (Danika Yarosh).
Smulders was a smart choice for Turner. Audiences like her in the action role and she has enough charisma to hold her own onscreen when playing opposite Cruise. Other smart casting choices include villains Patrick Heusinger and Robert Knepper (Prison Break). Zweck spends the vast majority of the film on character development and dialogue and seems to miss the fact that an action movie should be focused on action. I’m in favor of a slow burn, but the payoff in this film is not worth the wait.
Wait For Netflix!