It’s time to take a look at the recent Jack Reacher film. Critics have not been very kind to it and neither has the box office. While Reacher may be a tad generic, it does a good job of hitting the tropes in a way that does them justice. I’ve always said that reusing an old plot is not a bad thing so long as it is executed well. The film does a good job and in the end that’s all that matters. Naturally, it does have its pitfalls though.
Jack is enjoying his retirement from the government. He is a free agent now, which means that he can tour the country and just stop crimes whenever he feels like it. It’s going fairly well, but then learns that one of his friends has been framed and is probably going to b murdered very soon. Jack breaks her out and the two of them must now find the real villains and take them to justice before things get out of hand. Does Jack still have what it takes?
The size of the cast is actually pretty small for a thriller. Although, I suppose thrillers have small casts in general. Jack makes for a great lead and he reminds me a lot of Kirito from Sword Art Online. Jack is an expert fighter and he seems to be good at just about everything. Even his rare moments where it seems like someone has gotten the better of him are suspect as you may just think that he was pretending. Either way, get ready to see Jack just knock everyone out. He spends a great deal of the film just knocking out every villain that comes his way. I dare say that he may look more impressive than Bourne did in the latest film since Reacher never really takes a loss. The only time that he was basically defeated is suspect since Susan distracted him. Had it been a 1 on 1 fight, I like to think that Jack would have claimed victory.
Susan is the main heroine and she’s a good character for the most part. The only time where she was a bit grating is when she gets upset at Jack for deciding that he should go fight the villains on his own. Jack has a point since leaving Samantha by herself wouldn’t be wise and if they’re being honest, Jack’s a better fighter than Susan. I don’t think she would have been able to have taken down all of those fighters on her own. She’s skilled, but there are very few individuals who can pull off what he did. When they did leave Samantha on her own later on in the film, it did not end well. Still, for the most part Susan is good aside from that scene. She performs well in the fights and is fairly quick on the uptake.
Finally, we’ve got Samantha. She’s definitely the biggest limiter for Jack since she doesn’t know the first thing about spies and apparently doesn’t watch many movies. How else can we explain the fact that she didn’t know phones could be traced? It was pretty odd since that is basically common sense at this point. They also warned her repeatedly, but Samantha made the mistake anyway. It was almost hard to believe since she is supposed to be the street savvy character. She gets her big moment towards the end of course, but her character is only good for the Jack Reacher banter. Beyond that, the film didn’t really need her.
As you’d expect, one of the main positives in the film are the fun fight scenes. They’re very stylized and flow smoothly from scene to scene. Jack really doesn’t have a lot of competition in the fights so they’re one sided, but are still fun. The pacing is fast and the film never drags on. A lot gets to happen during the 2 hours. The villains don’t get a lot of development, but they’re the villains so it doesn’t make much of a difference. They want to stop Jack and that’s basically all that you really need to know. The main hunter was decently tough and he talked a good game, but Jack was always one step ahead. I may have said this a few times now, but seriously, there wouldn’t have been much of a movie if Jack’s partners weren’t around. He would have run rings around the villains if he didn’t have to stop and help his teammates from time to time.
There’s one interrogation scene in the film by the villain, but most of the violence is implied instead of shown. That’s definitely a good thing although I’m still not really a fan of torture showing up at all. The film did its best to make it as nerfed as possible so that helped quite a bit. The film was very tame with the violence and it also managed to avoid any random one night stands and romance plots the whole time. There is some mild flirting, but that’s about it. Never Go Back did a good job of avoiding the obvious land mines like animal violence and other such stuff. There is definitely a bit of language here, but certainly nothing too iffy or maybe it’s less noticeable since you’re more engaged to the film than usual.
I didn’t care all that much for the ending though. I can’t say much without spoilers of course, but I feel like someone could be in a potentially dangerous position. Sure, the villains have all died or been kidnapped by this point, but all it takes is one more guy to really make things tricky again. That’s about all I can say on that. There isn’t any big after credits scene for this film so once it is done, you can just walk out of the theater.
Overall, Jack Reacher Never Go Back is a real solid film. I’m tempted to say that it beats the original, but it has been quite a while since I saw that one. Reacher’s portrayal in particular is quite awesome and more exaggerated than you’d expect. Reacher just takes names the whole time and he’s one of those guys who really fears nobody. It’s a good level of confidence to have. What is lacks in originality, Jack Reacher makes up for in quality. It was a real close shave when deciding if this film should be an 8 or a 7. On one hand, there really aren’t very many negatives here at all. On the other hand, it just felt like the film was lacking something in order to take that plunge to the next level. I guess it’s slightly closer to an 8 so that’s what it’ll get, but this film is right on the edge. Either way, I definitely recommend it.