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Jack Reacher Never Go Back (2016) Movie Review

Updated on May 8, 2020
Noel Penaflor7 profile image

This Movie Review is the Brain Child of so many different personalities!!!

MPAA Rating
Running Time
118 minutes
Edward Zwick
Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz

Tom Cruise returns as IMF super-agent Ethan Hunt in…

Tom Cruise returns as super ex-military police badass in Jack Reacher Never Go Back, the sequel to 2012’s Jack Reacher Maguire, a slight muted action film with overly choreographed fight sequences that I’m genuinely surprised got a sequel. I didn’t hate the original but considering the novels (I’ve read 4 of the 500 Lee Child Reacher novels in existence), I thought the film would be better served by being rated ‘R’. And being a lot more “thrilling”.

A part of me hoped the sequel would be terrible, just so I could write something like “I will never go back to the Reacher franchise, after Never Go Back”, but it turns about I feel about the sequel pretty much the same way I feel about the original.

Jack Reacher Never go Back is a slight muted action film with slightly less choreographed action sequences that I’d be genuinely surprised got made if it weren’t for the fact that Tom Cruise serves as a producer and one of the 1st credits you see when the film starts is “A Tom Cruise Production.”

Even if this movie tanks, it’s possible the power of Tom could get Jack Reacher Going Back made in 2020. I can’t wait. Yes I can.


Never Go Back opens just like it did in the trailer. You know, the one where Jack Reacher is in a bar with one of the few pay phones left in existence. He’s helped wrangle a corrupt sheriff for -the Military-police-leader-person-who-is-also-a-woman-major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders, actually given a part to play unlike in those Avengers films).

Here’s the rub. Reacher has never actually met Major Turner, but Turner has in fact, heard of Reacher. Reacher led the MP unit that Turner is now currently in charge of. As the opening credits roll (A Tom Cruise production), they seem to be having a lot of phone conversations and uniform changes for Turner (Reacher wears the same shirt, jacket and pants, answering the question “What would Tom Cruise look like if he were homeless?”).

In the world’s most circuitous booty call, Reacher and Turner have decided to meet up (Reacher is hoping hook up) at the base.

The only problem is that when Reacher reaches the base, Major Turner is arrested for “selling secrets”.

He's a messy eater.
He's a messy eater.

Reacher also learns that Major Turner has stated that she doesn’t want Reacher to interfere. As you know from the first movie, Reacher doesn’t give up that easily, especially if he thinks something is amiss and/or he thinks he can have sex with the Major.

Reacher realizes he’s being followed by some nefarious government types and quickly beats the whiteness out of them. He is lead back to the base where Turner is being held and things are getting curiouser and curiouser. News of Reacher doling out unauthorized beatdowns travel quickly and due to a loophole, Reacher is back under military jurisdiction even though he was discharged years ago. He’s promptly arrested.

Reacher just as promptly breaks out of prison with Major Turner in tow. They escape thanks to a taco truck in every corner and are now on the lam from the US Military.

Oh, and there’s a 15 year old girl involved who could mission very possibly be Reacher’s daughter.

Show me the Gun-ny!
Show me the Gun-ny!

What Works With Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

  • If you’ve ever had sleepless nights wondering what Tom Cruise would look like sitting in an IHOP, then you may finally have a well-deserved rest. I lost track of about 2 minutes of the movie right after this shot as I wondered what a multimillionaire like Tom Cruise would order in an IHOP. My guess is some sausage and some sort of fruity pancakes with some whipped cream (but not too much). Maybe a biscuit (but no gravy).

I really want to go to an IHOP right now. If I go with Tom Cruise, he’s picking up the check.

  • Cobie Smulders proves more than an adequate screen partner for Cruise as she’s given a lot more depth (and a better written character) than “The girl” in most Tom Cruise movies. She also proves she can handle herself with a hose.

In case you wonder wondering, that “hose” reference was not a euphemism for penis.

  • The film’s best action sequence takes place in an abandoned warehouse, which at first glance looks like the one Kevin Bacon does his “angry dance” in Footloose. But instead of white guys dancing, you see white guys and one token Asian guy get their ass kicked by Tom Cruise using nothing but some fruity pancakes and some sausage.

That last part wasn’t right. I’m still hungry for IHOP.

  • Director Ed Zwick (who co-wrote the screenplay with Richard Wenk and a guy named Marshall) has learned from the previous movie and made the fight sequences feel less choreographed and dirtier.

What Doesn’t Work With Jack Reacher: Never Go back

  • Most of the films structure relies on arduous amounts of exposition followed by characters running. You can almost set you watch by it: any info dump will be followed by sprinting. This happens so you much you wonder where the Reacher and Turner are running off to, and at its worst the movie seems to be running in place.
  • Generic villains cribbed from the white people catalog (it’s a real thing). They’re so nondescript and barely threatening that you get the feeling the only thing that will get them mad is if you take away their pumpkin spice anything. The audience knows that Reacher will beat everyone down, but you could make it feel like he’s at least breaking a sweat.



Go back to Jack. But it’s a reach to expect anything too much. Like last Summer’s Jason Bourne, there seems no reason for this movie to exist. But since it does, it should be a lot better.

Review brought to you by IHOP.

3 stars for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back


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