‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ Review

Jack Reacher Never Go Back star Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher in ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.

“Major Turner has been arrested,” says Col. Morgan (Holt McCallany). “On what charge?” asks Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). “Espionage,” replies Morgan as Reacher quickly begins to realize that his friend Turner (Cobie Smulders) is being set up in the action film sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

After having a few pleasant phone conversations and helping each other out with a few legal issues, Reacher decides to go to D.C. and meet in person Major Turner, the new person in charge of his old unit. When he arrives and goes to see her, he’s surprised to find out she’s been arrested for espionage. After doing a little digging and talking to her lawyer, Reacher discovers she’s being set up. But before he can get in to see her, he’s also wrongly arrested by the military for a crime he didn’t commit. So Reacher uses his unique skills to break himself and Major Turner out of the military holding facility and go on the run to uncover and expose a military conspiracy and clear both their names while trying to keep safe a 15-year-old girl who just might be Reacher’s daughter.

Unoriginal and unimpressive, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a formulaic action mystery that isn’t that mysterious and has mediocre action scenes. It’s a perfect example of a forgettable sequel. Tom Cruise seems almost uncomfortable in this his second outing as the former military policeman turned wanderer/protector of the wrongly accused. It’s obvious he’s trying to show how Reacher is used to working and being on his own and how being with Turner and the young girl is new and awkward for him, but it only comes across as a stilted and at times robotic performance.

Cobie Smulders is horribly miscast as the framed Major who’s forced to go on the run with Reacher to clear her name. She has zero chemistry with Cruise, something that is clearly evident in the few quiet scenes between the two characters. Plus, the Major never comes across as a true military leader.

The script is weak, with bad dialogue and a plot that feels like it belongs on a television crime show…actually it might have been already. There is NO character development of any of the villains; they are all just brooding thugs and none of their action scenes are actually exciting. In short, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is an unnecessary and unworthy sequel that should be missed especially by true action film fans.


MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements

Release Date: October 21, 2016

Running Time: 118 minutes

Directed By: Edward Zwick