Review: Jack Reacher's return is enjoyable but forgettable

A battered Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher

A battered Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher

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Matt Adcock reviews Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (12A), starring Tom Cruise

Jack Reacher is back doing what he does best: looking moody, not following orders or protocol but getting the job done. The ‘job’ this time is uncovering a sinister arms deal conspiracy possibly being carried out by rogue elements of the US Military.

Jack (Tom Cruise) isn’t happy when Major Susan Turner (Cobie ‘The Avengers’ Smulders), who he has been flirting with over the phone, is arrested on trumped-up charge. She isn’t happy that some of her soldiers have been executed whilst investing odd weapons transfers overseas. Also unhappy is the bad guy of the piece – ‘Hunter’ (Patrick ‘Black Swan’ Heusinger) who is hell bent on wiping Reacher out.

Never Go Back is a standard action thriller which doesn’t ever quite kick into top gear but is very watchable and refreshingly not too nasty for a 12A certificate. Cruise is totally at home in this role, which requires him to run about, punch and shoot people and drive fast for most of the movie. A nice additional twist here though comes in the form of young Danika ‘Heroes Reborn’ Yarosh who plays Samantha, a girl who just might be Reacher’s estranged daughter. This means Cruise has to dig deep and twitch his jaw muscles occasionally to show that he is connecting with his possible offspring (when he’s not saving her from continually stumbling into the path of the army of baddies).

The action scenes of note include an impressive rooftop fist fight, a night firefight and a chase through New Orleans’ Mardi Gras carnival – if none of those sound particularly new, that’s because everything here is strictly by-the-book.

Director Edward ‘Blood Diamond’ Zwick delivers competent, fast-moving thrills but they are fleeting diversions which are fun while viewed but instantly forgettable. Everything looks good, Cruise gets his shirt off to show that men in their 50s can still be buff, Smulders gets her shirt off to show she has muscles too. Yarosh is a likable sulky teen and the baddie Hunter is suitably driven even if his team of military goons are so disposable you almost feel sorry for any of them that go up against the unstoppable force of nature that is Reacher.

Perfect non-taxing action thrills, then - you should watch it once but you probably wont go back.