Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Jack Reacher: Never look back is like the family friendly version of Jason Bourne. Your enjoyment for this one will largely depend on your expectations which should be kept in check. Tom Cruise returns as Jack Reacher in this picture which is based on Lee Child's book Jack Reacher: Never look Back and as you expected Tom Cruise did not get any taller since his first Jack Reacher outing in 2012 in order for him to resemble the original 6'4 character from the book but at least he brings his charisma and likability to make this character his own. This time we have Edward Zwick's hands behind the camera (Cruise's The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, and Glory) and he proves adept at handling the actions scenes and provides the film with a needed dose of quick pace that never lets up which helps in making up for the obvious lack of originality.
In this one, Jack Reacher is framed for murder as he tries to uncover a conspiracy related to the military and an arms dealing corporation. Fortunately he gets formidable support from a major in the military police played to perfection by Cobie Smulders (The Avengers). The story is very typical and devoid from any moments of originality or genuine surprises, the mid-section and the finale are exactly as you expect them to be. It is an old-fashion action film and it is fully aware of that, not trying to be anything more than it should which is perfectly fine if you enjoy an entertaining piece of action film-making.
The screenplay is too obvious with no real flair, the tone keeps moving between the seriousness of Jason Bourne and a buddy action comedy due to a good amount of laughs throughout the film. The tonal shift gives the movie a more family friendly vibe which should appeal to audience from different age groups. The action is straight forward and exciting but offers nothing new in any creative department. The cast is solid and Cruise's age adds to his charisma and makes him more likable with some unexpected tender moments related to his own realization of his transition to an older Tom Cruise.
I can see this one disappointing critics and a good chuck of the audience who are expecting an above average action thriller and a better film than the first part, but if you keep your expectations in check and just enjoy the quick pace, fun characters, and the competent actions scenes then you will get your money worth.