Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Actors: Cobie Smulders

Release Date: Friday 21st October 2016

Genre(s): Action

Running time: 118 minutes

A former Major in the United States Army Military Police Corps discovers a conspiracy that wrongly frames a fellow Major for espionage. The two are forced to go on the run and, with limited resources on hand, try to find out the truth so they can clear their names.

‘One guy took them all out in, like, seconds.’ Said guy is Jack Reacher, a former U.S. Army Military Police Corps officer and drifter. He is ‘the guy you didn’t count on’ but as the title ‘A Tom Cruise Production’ reads across the scene, you think actually, yeah, we did count on that.

Cobie Smulders, best-known for playing Robin in How I Met Your Mother and Maria Hill in the Marvel franchise, plays Major Susan Turner. Turner and Reacher start corresponding with one another through phone calls which get increasingly flirtatious.However, when Tom goes to meet her face-to-face so he can ask her to dinner, he learns that she has been arrested. He is certain that it’s a mistake.

Although Susan is Jack’s potential love interest, the character is thankfully not reduced to that alone. The ‘I’m a woman and I find it tough to be taken seriously by my military colleagues’ feels a little forced but in fairness , when it comes to the fight and action scenes, Smulders more than holds her own against an on-screen partner like Cruise.

Another sub-plot that adds a bit of something to the film comes in the character of Samantha Dayton, played by Danika Yarosh. Samantha’s mother has demanded child support from Jack which indicates that Samantha is his teenage daughter, although he has never met her or knew she existed before this. Between her and Major Turner, it's great to see some worthy female characters in action movies.

Like its predecessor, legal thriller is mixed with action flick and it achieves the balance far better than the 2012 film, mostly by leaning towards the latter. Moreover, it’s a major (pardon the pun) improvement on the first, this probably being largely because it was in the hands of the talented director Edward Zwick, whose impressive credits include Glory, The Last Samurai, Love & Other Drugs, and Blood Diamond.

It’s also the first proper action outing (unless you’re counting superhero films, but they’re essentially a genre all their own at this point) we’ve had this year. Cruise can carry a film like this on his shoulders with ease and while he could be doing something more challenging with his time, you’ve got to empathise with the guy. With upcoming films including Top Gun 2, Mission Impossible 6 and The Mummy reboot, he’s clearly a fool for nostalgia, just like the rest of us.