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Film review – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back an ordinary Tom Cruise vehicle

Sequel is an entertaining outing with some good action scenes and a little dry humour, but it’s pedestrian and lacks a convincing villain

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 9:04pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 9:04pm

3/5 stars

Tom Cruise reprises the character he played in 2012’s rather underrated Jack Reacher for this proficient but largely pedestrian sequel. Not much has changed in the interim: Reacher, an ex-major in the US military police, is still drifting, righting wrongs, punching out multiple assailants and going all Jason Bourne on us.

When he returns to his old base to hook up with his replacement, Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), he discovers she’s facing a court martial after the death of two soldiers in Afghanistan. He breaks Turner out of jail and the two go on the run, pursued by shady individuals from a private military contractor. There’s an added complication, with Reacher coming into contact with an unruly teenager, Samantha (Danika Yarosh), who may or may not be his daughter.

Directed by Edward Zwick – who previously directed Cruise in The Last Samurai – the film, based on characters created by Lee Child, features a decent turn from Smulders, who acquits herself well (she really let the others do the fighting in The Avengers ). But while its predecessor had a monstrous Werner Herzog, Never Go Back lacks a major-league villain. Only Patrick Heusinger comes close, playing a hired mercenary who relentlessly pursues Reacher, but the character is sketchily drawn.

Cruise does what he does, but there are no jaw-dropping stunts of the sort that have come to typify his Mission: Impossible franchise. It’s entertaining enough, even boasting the odd moment of dry wit, and the rooftop finale amid a New Orleans Halloween parade is arresting. But Zwick never lifts this above the ordinary.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back opens on October 20

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