Don’t expect Tom Cruise to give the most intelligent dialogue, here – but the film plays out like a good old episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.
Produced by and starring Tom Cruise in what has essentially become yet another movie about Tom Cruise – just using a different name – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back tells the story of the now former Army Major who spends his days hitch hiking and looking for bad guys to beat up. His unplanned plans change when Army Major Susan Turner is arrested for treason. Of course, guess who’s job it is now to help her out?
I confess: I haven’t seen the first Jack Reacher, and I have never read the books, so I’m going in a touch blind, here. I had my head in my hands within the first five minutes, as Cruise delivered line after line of fromaggio best reserved for your favourite pasta dish. Where I started to turn, however, is when the action picked up. For every two or three cheesy lines, there’s one pretty hard-punching burn, which will make you feel a little better about your trip to the cinema. This absolutely reminds me of Walker, Texas Ranger – you know, that Chuck Norris show with all the terrible lines, but some really solid fighting? Same idea, just that our characters here are wandering around the streets of Washington, D.C., and New Orleans.
With this being a Tom Cruise film, you can expect upwards of five fight scenes; some with minor tweaks in the blueprint as in other scenes. The fight scenes aren’t exactly worth the price of admission, but they’re amusing. There are a few that elicited some strong laughs from the audience – and I confess, I was one of those suckered in. Not because they were bad or anything, but because Reacher seems so self-aware he’s a caricature, that it works in certain contexts.
And even though Cruise’s name is heavily attached to this project, the women in this film are quite impressive. I like Cobie Smulders. I never watched How I Met Your Mother (the show which she’s probably best known for), but I found her a solid fit in this film. Sometimes she was just as cheesy as Cruise, but she made the role fun – and I actually found myself taking her seriously at times. And man, can she fight – that is, unless she has a stunt double that looks EXACTLY like her (common) – but the long and short of it is, she’s pretty darn convincing.
I also enjoyed the snarky, teenage stylings of 18-year-old Danika Yarosh. I expect big things from her in the future, as she certainly left an impression on me.
This is a film that’s meant to be fun – don’t take it too seriously – and with action scenes that just about deliver. It also has a lot of cinematic tropes (especially where the “bad guys” are concerned) you may roll your eyes at, but I think it’s worth seeing if you have nothing else to do, and you want to check out a film in the next week, this could be it.
The most obvious question: will I go back? To see it? In theatres? Probably not until it hits video-on-demand.
Three-and-a-half cheesy Cruise lines out of five. And I mean the actor, not a company for sailing.