Film Review: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a sufficiently entertaining action thriller. Whilst the film distracts, there is little that is original.

Jack Reacher has been working with Major Susan Turner, from his old military base, on cases. When he goes to meet her in person, he is shocked to find her under investigation. Reacher must clear both her name and his…

Director and co-writer Edward Zwick has created an archetypal Tom Cruise action thriller with Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. This film, however lacks the sprightliness of the recent Mission: Impossible films, or the tongue-in-cheek fun of Jack Reacher. Whilst it is never boring, the film does not distinguish itself either.

The narrative of Never Go Back focuses on framed military major and Reacher’s efforts to find who is behind corruption. It is a traditional government corruption plot; the hook here is figuring out who is responsible. As the film progresses, it turns out that the big villain is a red herring for less important but more deadly assassin. The little viewers see of the person responsible only depicts them as lacking in depth. Overall, the antagonists one dimensional. Furthermore, there is little to Susan’s character. She functions more as a sidekick to Reacher, and a plot device to engineer the set up. It is a relief that the romance angle is never fully explored, as it is not needed.

The character of Samantha adds a more interesting dynamic to film. She gives the protagonist a bit more depth. It becomes apparent that Reacher is a loner figure, although this never feels fully emphasised in this film or its predecessor. The action sequences are fine, although the film needed more exciting set pieces to make it memorable.

Tom Cruise appears distinctly older in this film. Given his role as producer, this seems a conscious decision. Although he is very physical in the fight sequences, the bruises last longer and he appears weary. It is one of the film’s few distinguishing angles. It will be interesting to see whether the actor plays out a career as the ageing action star.

Jack Reacher: Never Goes Back is standard action thriller fare. It is a shame that the film does not strive for some originality.

Previews: Rules Don’t Apply Trailer, Doctor Strange, More!

Lots of film-related goodness this week, including the new Rules Don’t Apply trailer, Hacksaw Ridge, Doctor Strange and more…

Rules Don’t Apply Trailer

Here is the latest Rules Don’t Apply trailer. The film is directed by Warren Beatty, who stars as Howard Hughes. The film is about a relationship between Hughes’ driver (played by Alden Ehrenreich) and an aspiring young actress (played by Lily Collins). Rules Don’t Apply is one of a number of recent films set in Hollywood’s Golden Age, following Café Society and  Hail, Caesar!. Beatty’s film is scheduled for release soon.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Trailer

Here is the new trailer for action-thriller Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The film is a follow up to 2012’s Jack Reacher. This instalment sees To Cruise return as the title character. I am hoping that filmmakers keep the same tone as the original film, even if there is no Werner Herzog. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back hits cinema and IMAX screens on 20th October 2016.

Doctor Strange Poster

Doctor Strange Poster

Here is one of the Doctor Strange character posters. Tilda Swinton joins a stellar cast (Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Womg, and Mads Mikkelsen) in Marvel’s latest film. Cumberbatch stars as Dr Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon who sets out to repair himself following an accident. Doctor Strange is out in UK cinemas on 25th October 2016.

Moana Featurette

Here is Moana star Dwayne Johnson and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda talk about mutual love and respect in this new featurette. The film is about a teenager who sets out on a mission to complete her ancestors’ unfulfilled quest. Moana will be released in UK cinemas on 2nd December 2016.

Fences Trailer

Denzel Washington directs Fences, based on August Wilson’s award-winning play. Wilson also writes the screenplay for the film, which is about a man struggling to raise his family in the 1950s. Also starring the brilliant Viola Davis, Fences is set for release soon.

20th Century Women Trailer

Writer-director Mike Mills follows 2011’s Beginners with 20th Century Women. The film is about three women at different eras of the 20th century. Starring Annette Benning, Greta Gerwig, and Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women will be released in 2017.

Hacksaw Ridge Trailer

Mel Gibson directs war drama Hacksaw Ridge. The film is about the true story of Desmond Doss, a soldier during World War II who saved many of his compatriots without firing a weapon. Starring Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, and Teresa Palmer, Hacksaw Ridge will be released in cinemas soon.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Trailer

Here is the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The film is based on the magical world created by J.K. Rowling. Starring Eddie Redmayne, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is out in 3D on 18th November 2016.

Film Review: Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher is an immensely entertaining thriller. Wisely, the film does not take itself too seriously, which adds to the overall enjoyment.

When five innocent people are gunned down by what appears to be an expert sniper, police believe that they have found the culprit. However Jack Reacher, a former investigator in the army, thinks there is more to the case than meets the eye. He begins an investigation of his own…

A crime thriller that combines mystery with action, Jack Reacher could have easily been run of the mill. In some ways, it is. The narrative is not particularly illuminating. Nevertheless, the opening sequence does the job of grabbing the attention and setting up what is to follow. The sequence is provides sufficient mystery to keep the audience engaged.

The plot is fairly standard for this genre. Where the film excels in its ability to inject a healthy dose of ridiculousness into what could have been a straight-faced thriller. Director and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie permeates the film with tongue in cheek humour. At least on one occasion where the film may be taking itself seriously but it rather silly, McQuarrie pulls it back to let viewers know that the filmmakers are in on the joke.

The action sequences are good overall, neatly building to a western-style showdown. Production values are sound, and the lighting and camera work in the finale convey a sense of disorientation. Casting Werner Herzog was a masterstroke. He really makes the film. Tom Cruise does not take himself too seriously as the title character, it is pleasant to see a star of his magnitude being able to laugh at himself.

Unless a action thriller can be genuinely original, this is exactly how films of this genre should be made. Jack Reacher is lots of fun.

Stuff To Look At

A bumper edition this week, with plenty of releases for 2013…

Man of Steel

I have always been more of a Batman child than a Superman one, but I did love the Christopher Reeve movies (maybe not the last one). After 2006’s underwhelming Superman Returns, this new version looks more appealing. Henry Cavil stars as the title character in the first full trailer for Man of Steel, due for release in June 2013.

Oblivion

Ageless Tom Cruise has been getting action-heavy recently, with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Jack Reacher and now Oblivion. This futuristic thriller sees Cruise’s character Jack Harper battle to save mankind. Also starring Andrea Riseborough, Oblivion will be released in UK cinemas on 12 April 2013.

The Wolverine

The follow-up to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine is due for release in July 2013. The film sees Hugh Jackman reprise his role from the X-Men franchise. This adventure is set in Japan, as the above poster suggests. I’m sure a trailer for The Wolverine will be released shortly.

The Lone Ranger

Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter together again, but not in a Tim Burton film? The emphasis in the above trailer is on the fact that it is the same team behind Pirates of the Caribbean. If executed correctly, The Lone Ranger should be a lot of fun, like the first film of that earlier franchise. The Lone Ranger is due for release next year.

The Croods

The latest animation from DreamWorks is The Croods, a prehistoric adventure film. The Croods features the voices of Nicholas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone. From the above trailer, I am liking the monkey. The Croods will be released in UK cinemas on 22nd March 2013.

Broken City

Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones star in Broken City, a crime thriller set in New York. My first thought on viewing this was ‘Russell Crowe’s weave!’. That aside, this tale of corruption could be quite good. Broken City is out on 1st March 2013.

The Last Stand

What is The Last Stand, you ask? Well it is Arnold Schwarzengger’s return to lead roles on the big screen. Schwarzenegger plays the sheriff of a small town where a notorious drug baron is trying to make his escape. The Last Stand, which also stars Forest Whitaker and Rodrigo Santoro, is out on 24th January 2012.

Hitchcock

Everyone loves a bit of Alfred Hitchcock, don’t they? The eagerly anticipated Hitchcock tells the story behind the making of Psycho. Anthony Hopkins stars as Alfred Hitchcock in the film which also features Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson. Hitchcock is released in UK cinemas on 8th February 2013.